This is a guest post by Nancy Evans, a freelance writer with a passion for frugality, parenting, and cooking.
The nice weather that occurs during the summer has made taking a family vacation a long-time tradition. These vacations can become incredibly expensive and they are not always practical for an average working family. Fortunately, there are a number of inexpensive activities that can help a family to have fun without spending a large amount of money. Here are a few of them:
Public Pools And Beaches
Many cities and states maintain public pools that can be used by anyone for free or for a very small charge. Kids can have hours of fun swimming and playing with inflatable toys. Parents can also swim or can bathe in the sun while watching the children play. There are some states that have free or low-cost beaches that can be incredibly fun. A public beach can provide entertainment with just some sun screen and a plastic shovel for building sand castles.
State parks can be completely free and offer families the chance to explore nature in a quiet and peaceful way. Kids can enjoy running in open fields and exploring the plants and insects that are unique to the park. There is even a chance in some areas that larger wildlife like deer, moose or eagles might be seen. The day can end with a picnic or barbecue if the park has a recreational area. (Editor's note- many state parks have nature centers that are free to the public and offer crafts and other activities for kids.)
Local Sporting Events
There are many different sports leagues for local elementary and high schools that play games during the summer. These games can be free or might only cost a small amount for adults. The games are often fun to watch and sometimes have concessions stands so a fast lunch can be purchased. This can get the family out and moving. Some fields even leave behind some equipment when the game is over so that kids can run out and play.
Museums And Aquariums
There are a variety of museums and other attractions like aquariums that have free days or pay-as-you-please days. This means that the entire family can spend a day exploring all of the interesting artifacts in a natural history or art museum for almost nothing. (Google can help you find lists of museums that are free or have free days in your city.) Some might even hold children’s events that can keep kids entertained while also teaching important lessons about the world.
Fairs And Carnivals
Fairs and carnivals are a summer tradition across the country. These are not necessarily free. There might be free musical entertainment and there are often entertainers like clowns wandering through the crowds. Spending just a little money on games, treats and souvenirs can make a day at the carnival fun for the entire family.
Having fun in the summer with the family does not have to be expensive. There are many different activities that can be done for free, or that cost very little. Using an inexpensive photography studio like PicturePeople (www.picturepeople.com) can help to capture the summer memories. Going out with friends, family and neighbors can sometimes make a frugal summer activity for the family even more fun.
What are you doing this summer to keep your kids entertained frugally? Anything else you'd add to this list?
See my disclaimer.