Ten Inexpensive Ways to Have a Grand Ol' Time This Summer1. Slow down. This is really just me preaching to myself. I need to slow down! Just because my kids are playing nicely doesn't mean I have to rush around getting ten household chores done! What if I just sat and watched or played with them? What a novel idea! And what fun too!
2. Start your own camp. My oldest is headed to a camp at a nature center next week (also a great way to have fun in the summer!) and since there was no option for the boy for that camp, we're making up our own. We've invited all his friends to tag along with us as we visit a different (free or nearly free) attraction each morning after we drop off the oldest for her camp. We're going to the park fountain, a cool playground, the zoo (on dollar day), the wading creeks outside our aquarium, and then hiking on the last day. If the busyness doesn't kill me, we'll all have a great time!
3. Have a block party. We're thinking that a few days this summer we will set up all our toys in our yard and driveway and just telephone all our neighbors and see if they want to come play. We'll set up our bounce house and sprinkler and get out all our riding toys and just hang out.
4. Set up a lemonade stand. We've already done this once, and it was quite entertaining! I helped the kids make lemonade and bring it out to the end of our driveway with lots of ice and cups. At first I was afraid we would just spend a lot of time setting it up and then they would get bored with it, but they stuck with it, and it about 2 hours, they had made $6. They had to share evenly with the neighbor kids (their "employees") and pay for the lemonade, but that hard-earned $1 a piece was worth every minute!
5. Hang out by the pool. We don't have one, but several of our friends do, and I'm bound and determined to leave plenty of time just to chill by their pools a few days this summer. The kids will re-learn to swim, we'll get to relax, and we'll get to hang out with our friends! There is also a pool at a local Christian college that is open to the neighborhood that I would love to check out.
6. Join the reading programs at your local library or bookstore. Our library has a great program where if the kids read (or are read) ten books, they get an invitation to a carnival at the end of the summer with plenty of activities and freebies to enjoy. I'll bet your local library has something like this too!Barnes and Noble and Borders Books also have reading programs where you can earn a free book for reading a set amount of books and filling in a reading log.
7. Have a themed family fun night. We had several a while ago--a fish family fun night and aVeggie Tales family fun night. I'm thinking we might have a boy themed one (A Lightning McQueen Family Fun Night) and a girl themed one (A Tinker Bell Family Fun Night) complete with movie, creative dinner, and activity.
8. Take a family camping trip. We've been sort of planning to do this for years, but I'd love to make this the summer we finally go for it. There is a camp ground a short drive away from our city where we could camp right on a lake with a little beach. The spots are very cheap to rent, and though I'm sure none of us would get much sleep, tons of memories would be made!
9. Have a reading day. My kids love to read and be read to, so this would be right up their alley! I'm picturing lots of popcorn and maybe making a tent, and just reading and reading and reading--our own little reading holiday.
10. Visit a home-bound neighbor. We have our sweet Ms. Charlene next door. She's either at home or being taken to the doctor and we try to visit regularly. She adores the children; she's always trying to give them something with loads of sugar; and we've all kind of fallen in love with making her happy!
Have a great summer!
(first posted June 2011)