Inexpensive Summer Activities – Fun For Families & Kids

Inexpensive Summer Activities - Fun for Families and Kids

School’s Out For Summer — Yikes! If you’re looking for Inexpensive Summer Activities for you and your kids, we’ve got 13 great recreation Ideas that you’re going to love. These Summer activities are perfect for kids and Adults.

It’s June and school’s out …what do you do to help your kids have healthy fun in the summer? Is it an afternoon at the movies, a visit to an amusement park, or an afternoon at the mall? How much will that cost you?

Perhaps you might want to consider tackling a large project, learning a new skill or participating in community service. These activities can also be fun and more rewarding.

But be careful of Summertime overkill.

We’ve seen parents sign their kids up for a crushing load of summer activities that have both parent and child exhausted (and broke!) by summer’s end. Are expensive camps, clinics and planned activities all there is to having summertime fun? Spending gobs of money to keep your kids entertained isn’t necessarily the solution.

We’ve compiled a list of suggestions — most of which we’ve done — to stimulate your thinking about summertime fun activities.

Inexpensive Summer Activities – Not Just for Kids!

All of these ideas are not just for kids! As we said earlier, kids often know how to have fun in a way that adults don’t, and we think folks of any age will get some enjoyment out of these ideas.

We know that if both parents are working, your options are more limited, but there are still activities that you can do together. Consider “co-oping” with a couple of other working families and coordinating days off to do activities with the kids.

Inexpensive Summer Activities – Indoor Fun

If you live in an area where summertime temperatures make daytime outdoor activities more difficult, consider some of these great indoor activities.

1. Free Days at Museums

People often think of museums as great places to visit. And while they can be very educational, we’ve found that they can also be over-stimulating, especially to young children. We try to limit our time there to no more than four hours for younger kids. Some museums schedule occasional Free Days. Contact your local museums to see what they offer.

2. Summertime Quiet

We schedule a couple of afternoons each week from 2 to 4 p.m. as reading or artwork time. Even Mom needs a break and staying inside during the heat of the day can be refreshing.

3. Edu-tainment at the Movies

We don’t “live our lives in front of the TV,” but during the summer, we’ll schedule a weekly time to watch a two-hour movie borrowed from a friend or the library for some excellent “Edu-tainment.” The old Disney classics like Old Yeller, Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, The Apple Dumpling Gang, Homeward Bound and many others are wonderful to watch. Also, historical movies hold our kids’ attention, educate them and provide better role models and heroes than most of today’s movies — Davy Crockett, Johnny Tremain and Gary Cooper in Sergeant York are just a few examples.

Here’s a link to another blog article about Summer Movies & Reading for kids!

4. Volunteer this Summer

This is a wonderful avenue of service, which we believe could be instilled in kids at a very young age.

Check out food banks, soup kitchens, city parks and recreation areas, Habitat for Humanity and other low-income housing organizations, animal shelters and rescue organizations. At different times members of our family have also volunteered at an adoption agency; helping them organize a storage room and helping at a thrift store that benefits the same agency.

Many charitable organizations have age limits due to liability, so if you have young children, visiting nursing homes or helping at a church may be the only outlets available to you. If you have teens, many non-profit organizations can use their help.

Remember to look for the needs of those in your neighborhood — widows and senior citizens. We’ve done yard work as a family for our sweet neighbor, Martha, and it was a blessing for her and all of our kids. We’ve learned of numerous volunteer opportunities from our involvement in Boy Scouts and their focus on community service. Volunteering as a family is a great way to stretch your comfort zone and to see parts of the world and society that you normally wouldn’t be exposed to.

We’ve learned of numerous volunteer opportunities from our involvement in Boy Scouts and their focus on community service. Volunteering as a family is a great way to stretch your comfort zone and to see parts of the world and society that you normally wouldn’t be exposed to.

Inexpensive Summer Activities – Outdoor Fun

When the weather permits, these outdoor ideas are a lot of fun and are some great Inexpensive Summer Activities.

5. A Walk in the Park

When the weather is pleasant, spending time outdoors is wonderful and provides great opportunities for exercise and a little bit of science, too. Many botanical gardens and arboretums have fascinating exhibits and trails. Numerous state, city parks or forests also include interesting features and exhibits. Don’t forget hiking in the woods, rollerblading through a park, biking, flying a kite or picnicking.

Many botanical gardens and arboretums have fascinating exhibits and trails. Numerous state, city parks or forests also include interesting features and exhibits. Don’t forget hiking in the woods, rollerblading through a park, biking, flying a kite or picnicking.

6. Lakes and pools

Maybe you’re partial to spending summers by the water. Try boating at an urban lake, waterskiing or just riding with a friend who has a boat, camping, or hosting barbecues with juicy corn on the cob and watermelon. Beaches also provide a healthy atmosphere for hours of exploring, building sand castles and discovery, and don’t forget swimming — we do lots of this. Just remember the sunscreen! One of our favorite mini-dates is to escape to our pool and sit and talk after the kids are in bed.

Beaches also provide a healthy atmosphere for hours of exploring, building sand castles and discovery. And don’t forget swimming — we do lots of this when we go the lake.

Just remember the sunscreen! One of our favorite mini-dates is to escape to our pool and sit and talk after the kids are in bed.

One of our favorite mini-dates is to escape to our pool and sit and talk after the kids are in bed.

7. Summertime Music Festivals

Many cities also sponsor music festivals or provide free outdoor concerts —check your newspaper for listings.

8. Gardening in the Summertime

Maybe it’s time to start a garden. Digging in the dirt, amending the soil, planting and then harvesting in early fall can be a productive way to spend time this summer. Check out the book Square Foot Gardening or visit www.squarefootgardening.com for simple gardening ideas. If space is limited try container gardening or EarthBoxes.

9. Summertime Life Skills

We think it’s important to invest in teaching our kids real-life skills. Why not plan some house projects? Try cleaning up and reorganizing bedroom closets; cleaning out the garage or tool shed; ironing and mending clothes, or organizing linen and bathroom closets (watch this video where Annette goes through how she reorganized our linen closets).

We’ve also taught our kids to help with menu planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation.

Our daughter Abbey with her Beanie Baby cookbook meal.

Our daughter Abbey with her Beanie Baby cookbook meal.

When our youngest, Abbey, was seven years old, she was determined to prepare an entire meal she found in her Beanie Baby cookbook. We all pitched in, and the memories and photos still bring her a proud sense of accomplishment. She prepared piggies in blankets (small hot dog pieces wrapped in pieces of dinner rolls), fruit kabobs and cookie cupcakes. It was a smashing success.

10. State and County Fairs in the Summertime

If you have the inclination and it’s not too far to travel, research your state or county fair.

Abbey with her Arizona State Fair ribbons and awards.

Abbey with her Arizona State Fair ribbons and awards.

You and your kids may enter artwork and craft projects. We have spent many a summer’s day working on these. We’ve done this for years, and the kids always feel a deep sense of accomplishment when they receive ribbons and prize money.

Inexpensive Summer Activities – Holidays

Our extended family and lots of our friends love to get together for holiday celebrations. It’s a great time to play, talk and eat together. And during the summer there are a few good opportunities for holiday celebrations that can add to your summertime fun.

2 kids swimming in an inner tube race.

11. Father’s Day

Celebrate Father’s Day in June with the dads in your life or visit a man of character who has influenced your life.

One year Annette and the kids sent Steve on a treasure hunt . . . looking for the rest of the family. It started with a note left at home directing him to go to our favorite Chinese buffet to pick up egg rolls (his favorite appetizer). John was waiting there and gave him the next clue. John and Steve drove to a restaurant (where kids ate free with an adult meal) to meet the rest of the family.

After dinner, Steve was blindfolded and taken to his favorite ice cream shop for dessert. It was a smashing success — especially for the kids — they love fooling good old dad.

12. Fourth of July

Fireworks over the lake at Gainey Ranch.

Fireworks over the lake at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale.The Fourth of July is the time for fireworks and picnics! One of our favorite memories is celebrating Independence Day in a small Arizona mountain town that was celebrating the holiday as a town for the first time. The veterans’ band played — reminiscent of the Mayberry town band from the Andy Griffith Show — the fireworks were spectacular, the people friendly and the weather cool.

Recently we’ve found a spot near a golf course lake to sit on the grass and watch a fireworks display. We bring a boom box and play patriotic music while we oooh and ahhh at the dazzling skyward spectacle.

13. Labor Day

A three-day weekend for camping, barbecues, or getting caught up on projects around the house.

If you do a little planning, a little talking, and a little creative thinking this summer can a time of excitement, adventure and lots of fun. Try some new experiences and summertime can be fun!

If you have more ideas for Inexpensive Summer Activities, please add them below in the comments section.

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