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Summer Frugal Family Fun

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Now that summer is in full swing, you may already be wanting some new ideas for how to keep the kids entertained throughout the summer.  However, the trick is to finding activities that won’t break the bank.  So, here are some tips for frugal summertime fun with your kids.

Head Outdoors &  Enjoy the Sunshine:

U-Pick Farms –Such a fun activity for kids to be involved in picking raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches & more ; Pickyourown.org is a great resource to find U-pick farms; prices should be lower when you pick them yourselves, too. So, it’s a win-win-fun for the kids & cheaper, fresh berries & produce.

Visit a local Farmer’s Market -They offer more than just fresh produce to buy – you could find free entertainment/music, little craft activities for the kids & more; Visit LocalHarvest.org & search “Farmers Markets” on the right  side to find a Farmer’s Market near you

Free Concerts & Movies in the Parks – Check with your local city or town (or surrounding areas) to see their schedule of free concerts & movies in the parks; bring along chairs or a blanket and a picnic lunch/dinner for some great frugal family fun

Festivals or Small County Fairs –  They are often free or offer inexpensive admission with fun entertainment, kids activities & play areas, variety of food options (or bring a picnic lunch or dinner & drinks to make it more frugal)

City or county parks – Check out the local parks in your area to find those which offer free wading pools or splash parks;  also, make sure to check the list of events as many Parks & Recreation departments will offer free (or inexpensive) activities for kids in the summer-gardening ideas, crafts, nature walks, etc.

State or National Parks – These also may offer free guided nature walks (or other kid-friendly activities) – check out the list of events on their website before your visit the park.  Also, check out the Fee-Free weekends this summer at all National Parks.  The dates are: August 14, 15; September 25, 2010

-Minor League Baseball Games – Get a Buy 1 Get 1 Free ticket when you bring a Kraft singles cheese wrapper to the box office; this is valid on Tuesdays thru the summer at select Minor League locations across the country; also check the individual Minor League Team websites to see if there are any special events or family specials going on thru the summer at the ballpark.

REI’s Passport to Adventure Program – An incentive program for kids ages 5-12 to encourage them to get out with their families on bike rides, hikes, nature walks & more.  They can earn a free prize by documenting their activities for the summer. You can also find out some great information about local hikes, walks, bike trails & more on their website.  Find out more HERE.

Indoor Fun:

-Museum / Science Center Time – Check out your local museums or science centers’ websites to see if they have any free (or discounted) admission days during the month & put those on your calendar. Your local library may also have free family passes to museums or cultural centers.

Free admission for Military to Museums – Active-duty military members & up to 5 members of their family (spouses, sibling & children) can have unlimited visits to over 600 museums nationwide as part of the Blue Star Museum Program. This started Memorial Day, 2010 and runs thru the summer, ending on Labor Day, 2010.

Free bowling for Kids – Check out Kids Bowl Free where kids can get 2 FREE bowling games every day during the summer (shoe rental not included). There’s also a Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon for AMF bowling alleys available right now.

Free (or Cheap) Family Films in the Movie Theaters – Check out your local movie theater to see if they’re participating in free or inexpensive (often $1/ticket)  family films on select days during the summer.  Here are a few of the participating movie theaters: Regal Cinemas, AMC EntertainmentCinemark,  & Great Escape Theaters.

Free library programs – Your local library is a great resource for free kids activities throughout the summer.  They may have free puppet shows, movies, kids concerts, craft days, etc. Also, make sure to check out their Summer Reading programs for great incentives to keep your kids reading.

Vacation Bible School – Enroll your kids in a Vacation Bible School program at a local church. They typically last a week and are several hours a day, filled with songs, crafts & more to keep your kids entertained & meeting some new kids. They are usually free or inexpensively priced for children to attend.


Fun around the House:

Shaving Cream Fun – Get a cheap can of shaving cream (if you coupon, you might have a stash you got for free); Spread it out on an outdoor table  & let your kids go at it, making fun designs & being silly. When they’re done, just spray down the table {and them, for that matter!}

Outdoor water fun – Invite friends or family over for some fun on a hot day – get out the sprinklers, slip & slide, water balloons, squirt guns

-Movie time at home – Rent a movie from the library or a $1/day rental from Redbox for a marathon movie morning or a family movie night

Make homemade ice cream- a yummy  treat for a hot summer day; check out these how-to’s & recipes at Allrecipes.com


One Comment

  1. a lot of great ideas here … though you have to be careful with the U-pick type farms … its so easy to get carried away and suddenly find yourself carting home $40 of berries with no idea what to do with them

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