The kids are out of school! Now we have to figure out what we’re going to do with them for the next couple of months! 🙂
We’re not sending our kids to any summer camps or day camps. Not only are fancy kids activities not in our budget, but I’m actually looking forward to spending time with my kids this summer.
When it comes down to it, that is really what the kids want most.
It’s really easy for me to get sucked in to my own to-do list (for home and for my blog) and let the kids just play with each other, but I’m making plans to prioritize spending time with my kids this summer.
While we have a whole artillery of fun frugal activities for our kids, there are a few things we are paying for this summer. Here are the three main activities we’ll be spending money on:
Our kids took swimming lessons once, but it’s been about five years. They were so young that they didn’t learn much and anything they did learn, they’ve long since forgotten.
Being comfortable and confident in the water isn’t just about having fun, it’s about being safe. Considering that choking and drowning are high on my mommy paranoia list, it’s surprising we’ve waited this long to really teach our kids to swim.
In addition to swimming lessons for the three older kids, we will likely get a pool pass so that they will have a chance to practice the skills they learn and make the most of their lessons. We’ve decided that this will be the year that our kids learn to swim.
Kids cooking classes
Just because I cook most things from scratch doesn’t mean I’ve taught my kids to do the same. After checking out the knife skills series from the Kids Cook Real Food e-course, I got to thinking about how I want to involve my kids more in the kitchen.
Teaching kids to cook not only gives them a frugal and healthy life skill, but they will really be able to help in the kitchen (and not just “help,” if you know what I mean). I’m also pretty certain that being more involved with what they’re eating will make them more willing and excited to try new foods.
I know I’m not patient enough to teach these skills when I’m rushing to get dinner on the table. That means I’m going to need to be intentional about teaching when it’s not the meal time rush.
After watching the free video series, I know the Kids Cook Real Food course will be a great fit for my three older kids (ages 4, 6, and 8). I’m excited for all the training for parents on how to teach and guide your kids in the kitchen in age-appropriate ways, too. This will be a great opportunity to spend time together.
If you haven’t yet taught your kids (age 2+) to use knives properly, the knife skills video series is a great opportunity to do so and get a taste of what the classes are like!
The past couple of years, we have attended our county fair on the day that kids get in free. On kids day, the fair is full of free activities for kids like making homemade ice cream, funnel cake eating contests, and animal shows, so we haven’t even had time for any rides.
Our kids are old enough that they are getting interested in the rides now, too. We have never taken them to an amusement park before, so the fair is the only chance they get to do rides. As a kid, I loved rides, too!
The kids have been setting aside money from one of their money-making endeavors to buy an “unlimited rides” bracelet at the fair. We have been impressed at their dedication to their goal. They have saved a good portion of money, but we plan on chipping in to help them out.
Even though we’re only paying for three main activities this summer, we will be filling our days with lots of other fun and productive activities that are free. Here are some of the summer activities we’ll be doing for free!
Every library I know of has a summer reading program. Each year the theme is different and the program varies, but the main objective is to make reading fun so the kids keep reading throughout the summer.
Along with the summer reading incentives, libraries often have special activities, events, and story times through the summer months. Whether it’s a wild animal show, a magic show, or a puppet show, the activities are a hit with my kids every time.
Attending all the free activities at the library gives us a good excuse to get out of the house, meet up with friends, and check out new books!
My kids love learning new crafts. When my mom was visiting (around the time our youngest was born), she started teaching my kids how to knit. I don’t even know how to knit! They caught on quickly and are eager to learn other skills.
One of the bonuses with the 2016 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle was a free Craftsy class. I grabbed a beginning crochet class with the plan to watch it along with my kids. I know they’ll love learning it themselves, but having me learn alongside them will be even better!
If you want to find other free places to learn things (for kids or adults), check out these tips I share for learning new skills for free.
I know I mentioned that we will be paying for rides at the fair this year, but one of the best parts of the fair is something that we don’t have to pay for at all, so I wanted to be sure to point it out under what we’re not paying for too.
After attending our first fair, we realized that you can enter just about anything into the fair. Everything from painted pictures and rock collections, to cookies and homegrown zucchini. At the kids level, entries are free at our county fair.
For the past couple of years, my kids have entered their handiwork in various categories in the fair. Not only is it fun to have a reason to create something, it is really fun for the kids to see their work on display. The icing on the cake is that they receive ribbons too! The first year we participated, one of our boys even got a best-of-show ribbon!
If you’ve been around here very long, you know that my family loves camping. My husband and I each grew up loving outdoor adventure, so it’s been natural to make it a family affair. The kids love it. They would seriously sleep outside every night if we would let them.
If you’re wondering why I include camping in the “free” category, it’s because for us it really is. It can be for you too! You can learn our secret to never paying for a campground and also how to save money on camping (which you’ll see can be pretty much free).
I don’t know about you, but I can only play Candyland or Chutes and Ladders so many times before I go nuts. The good news for me is now that my kids can read and know their numbers, our game possibilities have greatly increased.
We’ve tried to take opportunities lately to play more grown-up games with them like Rummikub, Battleship, Scrabble, and Chess. Since my husband and I both enjoy games, it’s fun for us to get them involved. Still it takes time to plan and be intentional about playing with them. I’m excited to introduce lots of new games to them from our family game collection.
Well that covers our current plan for the summer. We’ll be spending some money on a few activities that make sense for our family and our priorities, but we’ll be doing lots of free things too. In fact, this is just a sample of the things we do for free. Check out some of our other favorite free family activities.
How about you?
- What activities are you paying for this summer?
- What are you doing for free?
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