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Summer is a great time to be a kid. But, the price of activities like going to theme parks, water parks, sports games, and fairs can add up quickly. How do you still have fun with friends and family during summer break without spending a lot of money? We’ve put together some ideas.
While it’s true that not every outdoor activity is affordable, the majority of them are, and summer weather makes it the perfect time to explore your options! Local parks are one of the best places for kids to have fun. They can play any kind of sport with their friends, from soccer to whiffle ball to spike ball. Maybe some kids in the neighborhood are looking for enough people to field a team. If they don’t have their own equipment, they can make some items, like creating their own baseball bases from old clothes or balls from looping rubber bands together. And, check with your local park district or summer camp because they could have equipment available to rent or borrow.
When the temperatures heat up, kids can set up a garden sprinkler to run through in the yard or make a slip n’ slide from a plastic tarp, a garden hose, and winter sleds. Maybe you have a kiddie pool you can fill with water, or pick up some supplies so they can have water balloon fights with their friends. A ton of classic group games like “drip, drip, drop” only require space to run around and a bucket of water. You can always find more ideas on websites like Pinterest, or do some research about what activities are going on in your neighborhood, like resident passes to a local pool. The opportunities are endless to cool off on hot summer days.
Check out what’s nearby
Fun and affordable doesn’t have to mean going far. Explore what’s right in your backyard, from the local library to the park district. If your kids love to read (or maybe they’re learning), join your library’s free summer reading program, where they can track how many books they’ve read to earn prizes and coupons. It’s a great way to build their reading skills, enjoy new books, and get some unique discounts if they hit their goals.
Find your park district’s calendar and see what’s on the schedule. From free concerts in the park to local festivals, street days, and fairs, there’s a ton of opportunities to find what interests your family. Older kids could even help volunteer at one of these events to get work experience and see what it’s like behind the scenes. Many park districts and local organizations also offer sports leagues such as frisbee golf, as well as art and design classes that are sometimes a reduced price for residents. If your community has a local pool or swimming complex, there is often a reduced resident’s fee or a children’s discount that you could use. Check out your area’s offerings and you’ll be surprised at what you find.
Get a job
If your child is old enough and has permission, they could get a summer job. It could be part-time or full-time, such as babysitting, mowing lawns, or being a camp counselor. While it may not seem like as much fun, a job is a great way to learn new skills and meet new people. Time management, customer service skills, and leadership development are all things a job can help young people develop. Plus, they’ll have a ton of fun if it’s something they’re interested in.
The money they can earn is also a good incentive and can help them save up for a big purchase, like a bike or a new phone. And, if there is also a more expensive activity on their summer bucket list, they’ll be able to afford that too. After the summer flies by, they can add their job experience to their college application resume and have some money that’s just theirs.