Inexpensive Summer Ideas For Family Fun
Inexpensive Summer Ideas For Family Fun
My springy beanos are 4 years, 2 months & 3 weeks old.
It’s almost Memorial Day, which means summer is only a heartbeat away. We all go a little crazy around that time of year, trying to figure out ways to avoid hearing those two little words once school is out, ”I’m bored!” Too much of that can drive any mom up a wall. Times that by 2, 3, 4, 6 kids? You can go out of your mind. But everything seems so expensive. Well, there are ways to save money and still enjoy some family fun this summer.
1. Local parks provide a day of fun for all.
This is a 100% free way to enjoy a pleasant summer day with your family. The only expense that can come along (and believe you me I want to tell the guy off sometimes, but then I remember ‘oh yeah, it’s his job’, is the ice-cream man. Round here at $3 a pop per kid that is pretty crazy, especially if it’s all the time. Buy ice pops for home and promise your kids something great when they get back there.
You can buy a whole gallon of ice cream and cones, or a big box of twin pops for the price of one there. Plus, no melting. I always use that excuse in really hot weather. I will make exceptions sometimes for these special treats, but they do know it isn’t an every day thing. It is a thrifty nice day for all otherwise.
2. A day at the beach.
Another sunny day pleasure. Now some beaches will cost you. We go to the ones that do not, which usually means a local bay and not the ocean. With little ones I’d rather do that anyhow. We have beaches here that cost up to $25 a car or $10 a person which is CRAZY!!!! Find a clean town beach, and even if you don’t reside there you can park on the street and walk in without a problem. Some care, some won’t, but if you have a great town beach in your area you are lucky..USE IT!
3. Chuck E. Cheese steals and deals for rainy days.
We go here during the winter quite a bit because it is harder to occupy kids on weekends and non-school aged kids in the cooler weather. We don’t go too much during the summer, however, IF you do go here do bring your coupons. I see so many people there who pay retail it makes me sick. If I have coupon copies I will offer them to others just because I hate seeing anybody pay full price.
Eat lunch at home before you go. Yes, the pizza has gotten better, but if you don’t need to buy it, why bother? Save money. I get the tokens, buy the inexpensive ice cream as a snack, and sometimes I get two trips out of the tokens I buy so that the second trip is essentially free.
Here are current May / June 2014 CEC coupons. They really help. Also, I bring my own plastic Chuck E. cups bought from way back. It definitely pays. You get free refills FOREVER, so get each child a cup one time and drink away for free thereafter!
4. D&B deals. Get 4x’s the game credits.
Big kids? Sign up for Dave & Buster’s rewards. The only time I will go is when I have an email sent to me that I print out which gives us $20 free for $20. Ehich means $40 worth of game play, HOWEVER, I will only ever go on a Wednesday which is 1/2 price day. That means $80 worth of games for only $20. Not a bad deal at all. My bigger kids get TONS of games using this little method of mine. This is saved for rainy and overly hot days.
5. Family walks and bike rides are free.
Thanks to Hurricane Sandy we lost our boardwalk, but now it is back baby! Plus, there are numerous parks and trails to ride through. It’s good fitness for all. Safe areas not too far from home are all fun times were you can bond with your children, get exercise and not pay one red cent. Sometimes we will walk into the flower gardens for ambience. I have yet to be charged for walking in there. We can see the blooming flowers, and it is very peaceful and serene. I’m big on family fitness, so this is always something that we do as a family until it gets too cold to do so.
6. Bowling isn’t always an expensive activity.
Now this usually is a VERY expensive family activity. However, not at AMF lanes, which we have a few of around my neck of the woods. You should look into it if you can. Bowling during the summer months for children bowling up to 2 games a day is FREE! And it’s like $34.99 for adults (one-time fee) all summer long to take part and bowl with your kids, if desired. Great activity for fitness as well. It does help beat the heat!
7. Skating on a budget.
We NEVER pay retail for roller skating. We go on special days or nights where it’s sometimes even free admission or $1, $2 tops, vs. the usual $11 which is crazy, PLUS rentals. Not here. I bought my twins $20 skates, so they are free. Got my big girl skates for her birthday, and treated myself to a pair of skates awhile ago. My husband and son aren’t that into it, so if they do go they will pay for a rental, but we girls have definitely gotten our monies’ worth out of our skates. Great for rainy days and for fitness.
During the summer they have way more steals and deals, like affordable family fun nights, so do check into the rinks in your area. Also, find out if your rink has a website. Sign up for coupons and such. They will make you aware of all of the deals going on every week.
8. Create your own vacation.
Can’t afford a family vacation? Us either. While it may seem like everybody is rushing off to Disney World and other cool places, many of us ‘normals’ are not. Don’t feel badly about it. Create your own little vacation. For the little ones even just putting a tent out back and sitting by the fire pit is exciting enough. I went on many vacations as a child, and I don’t have all that many fond memories, so I’d rather we create our own fun and make fond memories. When we can afford a nice vacation we will go, but it doesn’t need to be done to death. Come up with your own little ideas, and love will beat out money every time!
9. Craft time at home.
We run around so much there are actually days where my kids like to have some downtime and stay indoors. It can get quite chaotic around here. So what can you do to make the day smoother for everybody? Kids adore making crafts. (I still do.) Go and buy some construction paper, markers, safety scissors, crayons, paint, whatever you may need. Put some newspaper down on the table and create a family craft together. You can browse online for ideas to use. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg either.
Walmart has some great prices on craft items, and some things you can totally buy at the dollar store. I bought all of my kids art pads and markers there, which would have cost a lot more in an art supply store. Have fun! There are a million things you can make together. Great for beating the heat or avoiding a rainy day.
10. Family movie night is fun.
Let’s face it, the movies are getting SUPER expensive. To pay for a family of 4, 6 or more people is just crazy. (I admittedly bring my own soda and candy in. That stuff costs more than the movie does. I don’t feel guilty about it.) But we don’t go too much. As a blogger I am often offered free movie tickets, which is nice. But for the average person I do know how much it all costs, and there are times I say to my kids, ”Wait until it comes out on DVD.”
Also, on our TV set we can find free movies on demand, or others that are available for cheap rental. There’s also Redbox videos at 7-11’s and such, where you can rent DVD’s VERY cheap. Pop your own Pop Secret popcorn, and sit the family down for some special time together, cuddling in the living room. You will save a bundle.
PS- There is usually a place that will have a cheaper movie day. Like by us we have $6 Tuesdays. It’s not free but it’s not $11.95 either. Look into this in your area.
11. Have a family picnic or BBQ.
You can do this at home or at the park. We LOVE to BBQ and they have many grills at the park to use. It is fun to bring down the wiffle ball and bat, the bikes, a soccer ball, some good food and some big smiles. It’s a cheap way to spend the day and enjoy some quality time as a family.
12. Swimming Good Fun.
Also, a very fun family activity for the summer months is swimming. Now you may have pools near you that cost ridiculous amounts of money. One place I actually laughed at when they told me $25 a person WITH a leisure pass. You know what I said to that. But some towns have pools that are completely free, like my friend in a neighboring town. We have to pay, but it’s not that bad.
Since our home pool is too deep for the twins, aside from our baby one, and kids love to socialize and also have a change of scenery, we popped for the family pass last year. All 6 of us can go from their opening date in June through Labor Day for $200 a season. We go a lot, so it really works out big time when you figure out how much one day of family fun can cost you in other places. Plus, they offer free swimming lessons and arts & crafts.
If you are thinking about buying a pool of your own, it is a very worthwhile investment. It does take maintenance, yes. We have an above ground pool and it isn’t too bad. The hardest part is the seasonal opening. If the hub is willing it is a terrific asset for kids (and yourself). However, it is VERY important to make sure you put safety first, as little ones get curious, and stories you hear can make you not want to purchase a pool of your own. We don’t even trust the ladder to be pulled up as a safety precaution. We take it out of the pool completely.
Our kids are never unsupervised so I don’t worry, but a deck with a door lock is a wonderful idea if you have the resources. Make sure the pool is safe for everybody and then it is definitely a fun, and ‘long run’, affordable time. It pays for itself quite quickly when you figure it all out. And no gas to get from here to there either. If you do not wish to go that route for any number of reasons, do look into public town pools. The summer rate just might be a perfect and affordable fit for your family!
I hope these ideas help you curb your kids’ boredom during the summer months!