Entertaining Your Kids for the Summer on a Budget (Part 2)

Last week we talked about activities to keep the kids entertained during the summer on a shoestring budget. Here are even more ideas to keep the kids busy while having fun all summer long.

young music player and band friends have training in home garage

Find a Watering Hole

Nothing says summer like swimming. Options for water recreation include local beaches, parks with splash pads, lakes, the ocean, camps, and pools (public or private). Find an option that works best for you and plan a few outings. If you don’t live near a body of water, you might find a local hotel, gym or YMCA with a pool that is open to the public for a small fee. Also check to see if your town offers water sports like canoeing, kayaking or paddle boarding.

Groups and Organizations:

Check out local groups to see what they offer. This may be a good time to sign your kids up for Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts or the 4H Club. Also check out the local Boys & Girls Club or your local church to see if they offer specials for the summer. Many communities offer Vacation Bible School, a week long themed camp, to children of all denominations.

young music player and band friends have training in home garage

Concerts in the Park

Visit your local town website, library or Parks and Recreation office to find a list of free concerts in the park. Not every town offers free concerts but with a quick internet search you should be able to find a variety of free local concerts to attend nearby. These concerts, put on by groups such as Parks and Recreation, the local Business Chamber, or local Arts organizations, are a great way to unwind at the end of the day.

Walking Trails and Hiking:

Where I live there are several old railroad beds that have been turned into great walking and biking trails. You can find trails all over New England. Visit sites like TrailLink, AllTrails or HikeSafe to plan a hike near you. Also check with your local Conservation department to find a listing of public land that can be used for a variety of recreational activities.

young music player and band friends have training in home garage


Camping is a great summer activity but it can sometimes be a hassle to gather all the necessary items, prepare food and pack up the car for the weekend. So, as an alternative, pitch a tent in the back yard and let the kids sleep outside for a night or two. To add to the camping theme you can make s’mores and plan a BBQ. If they are too young to camp outside by themselves, turn their room into a safari and let their imagination take them away. Take a quick trip to the dollar store and let the kids stock up on outdoor activities and games to keep them occupied during their adventure.

Learn a New Skill:

Challenge your kids to learn a new skill. Teach them how to crochet or sew and get them a small kit to get started. Perhaps they want to discover gardening or archaeology. Maybe it’s whittling or wood-craft. Or maybe you have a budding artist or chef on your hands. Check out a book at the library or find a mentor and see what they can do.

Games & Sports:

Join a sports league or find a group to play softball, volleyball or tennis. On rainy days, you could try to entice the kids away from the TV with some old-school board games. Not only are they great family entertainment, you might even be able to sneak a little math or reading refresher into a fun activity. If you don’t have many games to start, borrow some from family and friends or look for them at yard sales and goodwill stores.

For a fun distraction find a puzzle and put it on a table. You would be amazed how hard it is to walk by one and not stop to put in a piece or two! Or, grab a deck of cards and teach them some new games. There are plenty of options for solitaire and multi-player games. When they are done playing, they can stack them into houses or learn a new magic trick!

Outside, they can play old-school recess games like tag, races, hula hoop, catch, ball and hopscotch. Watch for sales to find affordable kits for badminton, horse shoes, Croquet or lawn darts. Get them some sidewalk chalk and a jump rope and see what they come up with, or find a basketball, football or soccer ball and just practice in the yard. For a fun family adventure, try geocaching (an outdoor activity where participants use GPS tracking and a map to find a hidden treasure) or build a fort for hours of imaginative play.

Theme Weeks:

If you are really ambitious, you could plan theme weeks for your kids. Think of is as a build-your-own-camp-at-home activity. Theme weeks can focus on a geographic location, culture, activity or even a fun movie. They can contain a new recipe, a new concept to learn, and a new activity to experience. For example, you might choose an “Under the Sea” theme and include activities like snorkeling in the pool to find hidden treasures, a book to learn about sea life, a new seafood recipe, an ocean-based craft, and a trip to a local aquarium or pet store. Or, you might choose a pirates theme that might include a dress-up game, a walk-the-plank balance activity, a geography game, a treasure hunt (a good time to try geocaching) and a boat ride.

Hopefully these suggestions are enough to spark some ideas. If not, you can always visit Pinterest for thousands of ideas for crafts, games, and activities for all ages.

One Response to “Entertaining Your Kids for the Summer on a Budget (Part 2)

  • Amy Bronkema
    3 years ago

    I love the indoor safari idea for the younger kids that aren’t ready to sleep outside yet ! I will try it out this summer with my kids ! What a great idea!!


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