Summertime can be expensive for families on a budget. The school year ends, and suddenly your children’s daily structure goes out the window for a few months. If you want to fill their time with fun activities, it can get expensive in a hurry.
If you’re saving up for a full-on vacation or simply need to pinch pennies, there are lots of ways you can keep your kids engaged and having fun all summer without breaking the bank. Here are a few of my family’s favorite summertime activities that get us out of the house and spending quality time together during school break.
Backyard campouts. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, take advantage of it and organize a little camping trip right in the middle of your lawn. It’s a great way to test-drive future actual camping trips and work out the kinks before you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. And if your kids start to complain, their real beds are just a few steps away.
Scavenger hunts. Hide toys or candy around your yard for a free and fun afternoon activity! Scavenger hunts can keep your kids occupied for a while—especially if you’re great at hiding things.
Museums. Whenever I move to a new place, I always scope out the local museums. They usually have reasonable admission rates and are much less crowded than bigger museums. This is a great activity for days when the heat is unbearable and you need an air-conditioned building to walk around for a few hours.
State parks. Skip the long lines and crowded national park trails and head straight to a state park. There might be an admission fee depending on the park or if you’re staying overnight, but it’s always worth it.
Historical sites. Most people don’t think about all the history that’s right in their hometown. Spend some time exploring your town and visit interesting historical sites nearby. It’s a great learning experience for your kids and gets them out of the house for a bit.
Family fitness classes. Attending a fitness class with your family is a great way to spend time together while also getting them moving! If your community center or gym doesn’t allow little ones in group classes, open up YouTube and find some fun living room dance routines (Our kids love dancing along with The Fitness Marshall).
Plant a garden. Teaching your kids how to grow plants is a great educational experience, helps get them outside, and can even lower your grocery bills! I have a small garden in my backyard and the kids love to play in the dirt right along with me. It’s a fun bonding activity and we get lots of fruits and veggies by the end of the summer.
Keep in mind that some of these activities may not be suitable if you have an infant or a young toddler. I recommend making a list of the types of activities your child enjoys and centering your summer adventures around them. Have a fun summer!
Hi there, I'm Molly! I am a business owner and devoted mother to two boys, Lukas and Henry, and wife to my husband, Erik.