Many families, like us, can't do the big "week at the beach" vacation this year. Does this mean summer is ruined and the kids will be bored? Absolutely not! There are many wonderful ways to have fun without breaking the bank. You can make this summer a blast for your family and create long lasting memories without going into debt. So, if you are looking for budget friendly ideas here are a few.....
LIBRARY: Sign up for your local library's summer reading program. We always do this and the kids really enjoy it. Most libraries offer prizes and activities to promote reading during the summer. I adore lazy summer afternoons spent reading. It thrills my heart to see the kids curled up with books.
MOVIE: Check out the cheap theater in your area for an inexpensive rainy day surprise. We have a theater here where tickets are $3 everyday and on Wednesdays the tickets are $1. Can't beat that! I know it is hard to find a decent movie these days but usually there is something out during the summer that is worth seeing. We are planning to see Soul Surfer this Wednesday and our tickets will only be $1.00! You can read a review for this movie, and any other movie your family is considering at Focus On The Family's Plugged In Online found HERE.
DAY CAMPS: We recently allowed the boys to attend a soccer day camp and it was wonderful. They spent their days playing soccer while I was home unpacking boxes and taking care of the girls. They got loads of exercise, had tons of fun, and came home exhausted.
TENT CAMPING: Roasting marshmallows, hiking, swimming in the lake, what could be better?? We have a couple of local campgrounds we like for camping close to home and then there are several campgrounds a few hours away that we LOVE. Two of our favorite places to camp are Fall Creek Falls and Stone Mountain in Georgia. I know many readers are no where near Tennessee but fabulous campgrounds can be found all over the country. I think some of the best family memories are made when you camp. There are no distractions like TV or video games and a lot of times the cell phone won't even work! Everyone works together setting up and cooking the food and our kids love staying up half the night sitting around the cozy camp fire. You can always camp in your backyard too. This is a lot of fun for when you want to do something special but don't want to be far away from home. Kids love it!
CRAFTS: We try to do as much "crafting" as possible during the summer. There are plenty of websites to find instructions for fun summertime crafts. Here is one of my favorites: familyfun.com
OUTDOOR FUN: like playing in the sprinklers, riding bikes or using sidewalk chalk. Have you seen the new glow in the dark sidewalk chalk? I'm going to get some of that for the kids to try out one night. And while we are at it, how about catching lightning bugs and going out LATE for ice cream??
MUSEUMS: Check out local museums when you need to beat the heat. Fun, educational, and air conditioned!
ZOO, PARK, PICNIC: Visit the zoo, play at the park or take the family out for a picnic. Have you tried making ice cream in a Ziploc bag? It's loads of fun. We've done it several times. I'm going to find my recipe for that and post it later. You will definitely want to try it this summer. It's easy, the kids think it's cool, and it even tastes good!
VOLUNTEER: Our Sunday paper has a section with all kinds of volunteer opportunities. Maybe your paper does too, or you can find ways to volunteer through your church or by calling organizations your family has an interest in. We've been looking through the ones in our paper and several have caught our eye. One our family is thinking about is volunteering at a pet shelter. They need help caring for the animals and are asking for donations of pet food. With our couponing we have lots of pet food stockpiled. This is a perfect place for us to volunteer this summer. Not only do the kids love animals but we will have opportunities to get to know the people who work at the shelter as well. Another one we are looking at is the Chattanooga Food Bank. They are looking for volunteers to put together emergency food boxes for families. There are many opportunities for volunteering and it's a great way to work together as a family and help others at the same time.
There are dozens of ways to have lots of family fun all summer long. I'm sure my savvy readers know of ideas I've not listed here so please comment with yours. Whatever you do this summer...vacation or staycation...make sure to enjoy your family. Our kids are growing up faster than the weeds in our gardens!!