Roundup of My Favorite Frugal Summer Fun
My son’s summer vacation this year is extra long since the school district pushed back the start date for next week. While he’ll be doing summer camp, it isn’t quite in the budget to pay for summer camp for the entire summer, especially since he’s doing a few specialty camps.
Since he’ll be home with me for a few weeks, I need to plan some frugal, screen-free activities to keep him busy. I’m all about letting kids have time to be bored since I think that leads to creativity, but I don’t want to have the “can I have the iPad” fight every day that he’s home.
We live in a condo, which means I can’t just shoo him to the back yard, so I need to come up with some summer fun that gets us outdoors or keeps him entertained indoors.
In case you’re curious, my youngest goes to year-round preschool and they have a summer fun schedule filled with water play and outdoor activities. He does better when he’s on his school schedule so I don’t pull him out for the summer, but I’ll pull him on days we’re doing fun activities that I don’t want him to miss.
Frugal Summer Fun For Kids
I’ve been brainstorming some ideas with my son and here are some frugal summer activities we’re planning.
- Build Lego sets (he has a few sets that haven’t been built yet)
- Go for a hike
- Start a garden on our balcony
- Go to the pool (or condo has a pool)
- Go for bike rides, scooter rides and skateboard rides
- Bake and cook together (he enjoys baking cupcakes)
- Join the library summer reading program
- Try a new park each week
- Do a donut tasting/competition (basically try donuts from different places and rate them – not all in one day)
- Do an ice cream shop tasting
- Take advantage of free museum days
- Play board games
- Have movie marathon days
- Try new at-home science projects
- Have outdoor picnic dinners
- Have beach days
- Take part in free community events like concerts in the park, outdoor movie nights, etc.
- Play outdoor sports (teach him tennis, play soccer, basketball, badminton, etc.)
- Have water gun fights
- Be tourists in our city by visiting different parts of town
- Learn a new skill (my son has expressed interest in photography and making videos)
- Fly kites
- Introduce my son to my favorite cartoons as a child
Family Fun In The Summer
Of course, the weekends are reserved for family fun for all of us. There are some activities from the frugal kid-friendly summer activities, but we here are some other family friendly summer fun activities.
- Go camping! We have a camping trip planned for the first weekend after school gets out. The first time you go camping, it is quite an investment, but once you have the main essentials, it is a pretty affordable family vacation.
- Take a train day trip. My youngest son is obsessed with trains so for his birthday, we’ll take a train day trip, which is much cheaper than a long-distance overnight trip. We’ll ride the train for about an hour to a destination that has a walkable downtown, have lunch, stroll around and return home on the train.
- Go on a downtown Metro adventure. Riding the Metro (Los Angeles public transportation) is almost as good as taking the regular train to my kids but way more affordable. We can ride the metro to the California Science Center for a fun free activity or take it all the way to Olvera Street or China Town for a different family adventure.
- Attend a local festival, free concert or free movie in the park. There are a ton of free concerts and movies at local parks in the summer months. You just need to pack a picnic and show up. Now that my youngest is a bit older, we can check out some of these events that run a bit later than their normal bedtimes.
- Have a semi-spontaneous adventure. I get emails from local event sites with discount tickets to local events so if something looks appealing, we’ll buy tickets and take the boys on a semi-spontaneous summer adventure or trip.
Summer is my favorite time of year, even more now that I have kids. I love taking my kids to new places and enjoying the best of our city in the summer. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to have summer fun as a family, you just have to get a bit creative and look for local deals.
What are your favorite summer family activities?