Thursday, September 5, 2019

Our Frugal and Fun Summer

My kids, after a long summer, are finally back in school. Most kids who were on summer break have already returned to school by now, and so I'd like to reflect on this past summer and how we managed. I asked my children what they thought of our summer, and they all agreed an amazing one, it was the best one yet, which was wonderful, since it honestly was quite the frugal summer.

Ok, not all of it was so frugal. My kids were in camp for the first three weeks of July; Anneliese's was free, Ike's was free, and Lee's school year didn't end until the end of July. Rose's camp was quite pricey and lasted all of July, but I didn't really have much of a choice about sending her since her dad and I both needed to work. Unfortunately, though, the ride that Rose took to her camp was the same one Anneliese took, and it ended when Anneliese's camp ended, so once that happened, Rose wasn't really able to continue on in camp, since I couldn't bring her to camp daily.

Once they all finished camp, I, for the first time, had to deal with the dilemma that parents in my country nearly all need to deal with: how to work when your kids don't have camp in the month of August. Before that I was just a stay at home mom and August was a regular month for me, but since becoming a self supporting single mom I no longer had that luxury.

Fortunately, the kids go to their dad twice a week and every other weekend, so I only was entertaining them the other four of five days. One of the days of the week they were supposed to be with their dad, the kids ended up going to their cousins house where the older cousins made a "camp" for the younger children, so that was fun for them.

But the rest of the time? It's interesting, when the kids said they had a really awesome summer, I was trying to figure out what we even did. We didn't have an official schedule. I can only list things that we did do this summer:

Our Frugal Fun Summer Activities

1) Splash pads! We went a few times to the big splash pads in the city center, that has sprinklers that go on every even hour for half an hour, and then picnic between the times that the sprinklers are on.

We also found out about another smaller splash pad that goes on twice a day, and the kids had a great time there as well.

2) Foraging! To be honest, this wasn't something that we intended on doing, and wasn't our only activity, but we found and picked delicious fruit, like passionfruit and numnums, and purslane on the way to various activities.

3) Junior "Ninja Warrior"! I had an errand in one of the local malls this summer, and while I was there discovered this play area modeled after the "American Ninja Warrior" track, only for kids. It was $4.50 per kid for a half hour session, and the kids really enjoyed it so much that we came back a second time. It was officially geared for kids 4 to 14, and I wasn't sure at first if my older kids would be able to enjoy it, but they did, just as much as my younger girls. There was another "official" Ninja Warrior thing for kids elsewhere in the city and as far as I know it was 20 dollars or more per kid, so I'm really glad we did it for the price we managed.

4) Tie dye party! I wrote about this before, but I'll refresh. We went to a friend's house where she threw a big tie dye party that many people came to. Fun and we left with a nice end product.

5) Picnic and tree climbing! We played at the park, had picnics, and practiced climbing trees.

6) Skate park! We met up with a friend and her kids at a nearby skate park, and she taught my boys to skateboard down ramps and to turn, and my girls used scooters on the same ramps. Lots of fun for all, other than myself, who attempted to skateboard and fell down and hurt myself on the first try.

7) Camping! It was an amazing camping trip on the beach!

8) Park by the river with mini zoos, and beach trip! More on that trip here.

9) Basketball! My kids went to the basketball court with their friends once a week at least to play.

10) Birthday parties! My kids had the pleasure of having been invited to two friends' birthday parties during summer vacation.

11) Hanging out with friends and play dates!

You'll see, other than our camping trip there was nothing "amazing" or "grand", we didn't do a ton of trips, but we still had quite a lovely summer. I think part of the nice thing about summer break is being able to just relax and take it easy. I feel like there's so much pressure to do and see and experience during summer break, but when kids are in school all year long, sometimes its nice to just sit back and take it easy, have a slower paced schedule, and just do some trips here and there.

I tried to schedule my work out of the house on the days that my kids were with their dad, and then do the rest of my work in the evening once we came home from trips or in the morning before we left. I actually had quite a few more things I had planned to do this summer, each frugal and/or free, but we ran out of time to do it all!

How was your summer? What frugal things did you do to entertain your kids this summer?


  1. I purchased a “vip” pass to our favorite local pool. For $35 we were able to swim and play as much as we could. It was fantastic. I took a medium sized cooler with drinks and snacks. What sucks is that pools close so early here. It was over 90 today alone, but swimming is no longer an option.

  2. I think you give your lovely children such a fantastic wealth of experiences. In between it all, it's good for them to learn to entertain themselves.

  3. Thanks for sharing your summer with us. Do you know if numnums grow in the USA? I'd like to try some.


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