14. Build a fort. This is an inexpensive activity that is loads of fun and can be entertaining for hours. Grab some sheets, blankets, pillows, chairs or other similar items and you have a fort in the making. There is no need to purchase additional items. You can also do this with different themes: make a medieval castle, a cabin in the mountains, an underwater world or a cave in the jungle. It does make the living room a little bit messy, but the hours of enjoyment make the cleanup worthwhile.
15. Host a cooking show. Grab those cookie cutters, some old pots and pans, and use either some store-bought or home-made play dough. Let your kids go to town and have their own pretend cooking show. You may already have the ingredients to make your own play dough: salt, flour and water. This is great if your kids like to watch many of the popular youth cooking and baking shows on television. You could even watch a few episodes and have them try to replicate their own with play dough.
16. Make an obstacle course. Turn your kids energy and enthusiasm into a fun and safe game. Take all the cushions and pillows in the house and make an obstacle course or hopscotch. Kids can jump from one to the other. Not only is this a fun game, but it will help your kids burn off some of that extra energy.
17. Have a weekly movie night. There are other ways besides finding cheap ticket prices that can help you save money. Plan on eating or drinking something before you go to the movie. This will help prevent spending money on expensive movie popcorn, candy and drinks. You might also check with your local parks and rec to see if they offer free family movies at the local park. Also, as a military family, check with your local military installation to see if they offer summer family movie activities.
18. Save on expensive pool memberships and turn your backyard into an inexpensive water world. As long as your city does not have water restrictions in place, let your kids run through the sprinkler while you water your lawn. The garden hose and a lawn sprinkler can turn any backyard into a water park for the kiddos.
19. Host a home olympics. Have your kids come up with races that will take place, such as a sack or egg race. You can choose to have them try to set new records, such as the longest amount of time jumping rope or hula hooping. Try to use items in the house instead of purchasing new items.
20. Go on a picnic. This provides a fun family outing but protects you from the expensive bill of eating out. Have the family pick a fun location and grab some blankets and Frisbees.
21. Get the local newspapers. The newspaper will have information about local events like free or inexpensive entertainment around you. Use them to find free or no-cost parks, museums, film showings, sporting events, and many other places you could take your family to enjoy the summer time. You can also check out the paper online.
22. Give up the premium TV channels. Warm weather is a great excuse to get outside, where you do not need all those cable channels. Try to get rid of a few extra channels or even your cable altogether. Pick one night a week to do a movie night and it will make that event even more special.
23. Start a book club. Get some of your friends’ and neighborhood families involved. Get together and start a book exchange. Borrowing books instead of purchasing them can save you a lot of money, and will help keep your kids reading over the break from school.
24. Start your own garden. Fruits and vegetables love the warm weather, and having a garden can help save you a lot of money on fresh produce. How convenient would it be to just walk into your backyard and pick your fresh vegetables?
25. Visit your local farmer’s market. If you do not have the space or ability to grow your own garden, this is a great way for our kids to see where their food comes from, meet local famers and pick out some fresh produce.
There are lots of fun activities to do during the summer. Get your kids involved and let them do some planning to beat summer boredom. Have them create a list of activities that they would like to do or accomplish this summer. Help them search on the internet for the cost of those activities or the items that they might involve and let them develop a plan for which activities they would prioritize as the most important and how they might go about finding special discounts or deals to make the activities more affordable.
Listen in to our next episode, where we will discuss financial needs versus financial wants.
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy, U.S. Department of Defense under Award Number 2019-48770-30366.