There are some great lists of fun ideas of things to do with the kids over the summer out there. My son, Chandler, recently passed his driver’s test (that is him above – please send help, he thinks he is 30) and is bemoaning how unfair it is that we make him pay for his own insurance and gas. Please don’t send emails about how awful I am – he has already made it clear that he is the ONLY teenager to have to pay for such things. Ever. So sad for him, isn’t it?
For Chandler, and all those out there like him (I am sure there must be a few other parents not paying for everything out there), here are some fun, frugal ideas of what to do this summer.
- Host a bonfire in your yard. You can make simple drinks like flavored water or Kool-Aid, or make a fun non-alcoholic drink to serve. Most of the time, the kids don’t eat much at our bonfires, but you can have some simple snacks like pretzels and chips or veggies and fruit or popcorn. If you want, you can serve up s’mores. My son loves to hook up some workshop lights and play football at night.
- Plan a day at the beach. Most beaches around us are free, hopefully you can enjoy the same frugal resource in your area. Bring some dogs to grill and serve some picnic fare. If everyone brings something to share, it does not cost much. Play volleyball, Frisbee and play in the water (of course!).
- Have fun at a pool. If you or someone in your group has a pool, plan a day to hang out poolside. If you would like to see yourself invited again, be sure to bring some food to share and help clean up when you are done. Local community pools are often reasonably priced (consider a season pass if you will use it enough) and if you bring your own food to eat outside the park, you will save even more. Watch for savings on admission through deal sites like Groupon.
- Play night games. When I was a kid, we played games in the dark (thus, ‘night games’). It was a BLAST and cost nothing. You may want to let the neighbors know and make sure everyone is OK with the noise for a while. Try to host the games on a weekend night when people can hopefully sleep in the morning and shut things down at a reasonable time, if appropriate. You can go old school with games like kick the can or play flash light tag or search online for other ideas.
- Fishing can be popular for boys and girls. Be sure to have a fishing license, if necessary. Simple bait like worms or corn and a nice spot by the water is all you need.
- Camping is also an inexpensive, fun activity. Host a group in your backyard, and they will have the comforts of home available (just in case).
- Low cost crafts are great for the creative types. Some crafts I have pinned for the summer are headbands, necklaces, bracelets, and a necklace holder. These crafts cost next to nothing and, as a bonus, some repurpose your old goods.
- Play disc golf. My son and his buddies love to play this. Around us, the courses are mostly free.
- Go on a long bike ride. Pack some water and enjoy a trip around a park, local bike paths or the neighborhoods. Cools you off on a hot day, too. Plus, you get some exercise (bonus!).
Of course, you may have some great ideas of your own (please feel free to share those in the comments) and be sure to think about special attractions that you have only in your area! In the Minneapolis/St. Paul area we have some great free parks and even a free zoo – Como Zoo.