Summer Fun on a Budget
by Ashley Parks
The kids are out of school and you’re now in charge of finding fun, creative activities for the summer. So how do you make summer fun without burning your budget?
- Poll your friends! See what they’re doing with their kids. You don’t have to re-create the wheel if they have tried and true ideas they’ve used with their kiddos. If your friends are spending money on big vacations and summer camps that are not within your budget there are options for you!
- Plan a Staycation! Find fun ways to create your vacation right at home. The kids will love helping you plan activities and by getting them on board in the creative process, the more they’ll buy into the activities since they’ve helped create them.
- Search the internet for inexpensive or free local activities in your own backyard. Whether it’s free admission to a museum or kids eat free night at a local restaurant, a simple search can lead you to some free fun activities. Maybe it’s a visit to the Planetarium for $3.50 per person, or children under 12 have free admission to the museum. Deals are out there are certainly worth finding.
- Camp-at-home! Instead of driving a long distance to camp, how about pitching a tent in the good old backyard? I personally enjoy this one. You get all the joys of being outdoors, cooking on the grill and sleeping under the stars and have your restrooms indoors. A plus!
- Picnic at the park! This is one of my favorites. Grab a big blanket, pack a picnic basket and plan a picnic at the park with your family. Throw in a Frisbee or a soccer ball and you’ve got a family fun day matched with swing sets and all the play things a child would want.
- Local Splash Park. Dallas alone has eight free splash parks to enjoy. Grab the sunscreen, load up the kiddos and have water fun for the day.
- Story time! Many local libraries and bookstores have free story time for children. Check the schedules online or call ahead. Children love to hear stories and having a story teller read an adventure is a wonderful inside treat. Some libraries even have free yoga, music and other children activities to enjoy. When the summer starts to heat up outdoors, these kid-friendly indoor activities are a home run.
Summer memories don’t have to come with a big price tag. Some of the most memorable times for a child can be the simplest things. I recall my child spending an entire weekend making a fort out of a cardboard box from an appliance over all of her other toys. Getting back to the basics can be so wonderful for your family as well as your wallet.
Ashley Parks is a Certified Financial Planner and Author of The Saving Seed: Growing a Financially Healthy Family Tree; www.thesavingseed.com