Fun, Affordable ‘Camping Style’ Activities for Summer 2019

I went to sleep away camp when I was in middle school, but unfortunately its not something in the books for my kids because of finances... Therefore, I loved these ideas from Jenny on how to give your kids the feel of sleep away camp, without the expense.

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When summer time rolls around, many American parents choose summer camp breaks, which can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 per week. Parents in households relying on one income while homeschooling kids can find that accessing this amount of money for two or even three children every summer can be impossible. At the very least, they can put a big dent in their savings plan. If you have lively kids who would love to take part in camping-style activities and you want to ensure they don’t miss out, why not take the funnest camp activities and replicate them at home, with the help of your children’s friends?

Making the Most of the Natural Sites Around You

If you live in a coastal area, there are so many activities that cost next to nothing - including kayaking, stand-up paddle, swimming, beach games, and sand castle building. It is a fact that many people who live close to the seaside take it for granted. Give air conditioned malls a miss; they contain many material temptations and do not provide the many mental health benefits that being in the open air does. A recent (May 2019) study published in the International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health found that children who had close contact with natural spaces during their childhood had better mental health than those with less time outdoors. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, one of the most powerful being nature’s proven ability to significantly lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol.

Connecting with Others Through Letter Writing

Kids who are away at camp for the summer usually take to emailing or writing letters to their parents back home. Since your kids are with you for the summer, why not join them in a meaningful hobby that can broaden their horizons and help them make friends abroad - penpalling? Despite the constant reliance on email messages, for many people, nothing quite beats the personal touch that comes from handwritten letters. Penpalling is increasingly being seen as a wonderfully nostalgic, mindful activity that requires ‘presence in the moment’. It is an easy and cheap activity to carry out as well. You don’t even need to waste time or money getting to the post office. You can easily learn how to print stamps online and also use your printer to create beautiful paper prints, in lieu of buying expensive stationery at paper shops.

Creating a Home Base Camp

If you have a yard, you can camp out under the stars as many nights as you like! Bring your tent and sleeping bags out and if you don’t have a tent, make a makeshift one with sticks and fabric, relying one of the many online tutorials for this project. Indeed, when kids make their own tent using recycled fabric and materials, using the tent seems more enjoyable than ever. While you’re in the backyard, lower your electricity consumption by using a couple of well placed solar lights (consider a mix of larger illumination and solar fairy lights). You can also build a small fire pit for next to nothing with a few bricks and stones.This is the ideal spot for toasting marshmallows and sausages.

Learning to Disconnect

If in the past, yoga and meditation for kids were expensive pursuits because many parents felt they lacked the knowledge to guide kids in a mindfulness based activity, today, apps like Calm or Breath are making it so much easier and cheaper. Head to your favorite park or forest spot and enjoy a calming pranayamic breathing exercise or simple yoga session outdoors. Studies have shown that exercise outdoors is more enjoyable, and that it burns more calories.

Regardless of the activity your children love carrying out, try taking it outside as much as possible to replicate a camp-style ambience. From camping out under the stars to writing letters to a penpal abroad while visiting a park, kids can stay busy without spending a cent. Summer time is the ideal moment of the year when you can really make the most of the outdoors lifestyle. Just pick non-peak hours if you live in sunny areas, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

See my disclaimer.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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