|Posted by Angela Diaz on July 13, 2015 at 10:15 PM|
I learned something this summer. Kids don't need you to spend loads of money to have fun. They just want to do something. Bonus points if it's outside. If I keep them away from money suckers (festivals, malls, amusement parks, etc) and keep them busy with other things, they won't even notice. Here are some things we've been doing on our weekends that are either free, or pretty cheap.
1. Cray fishing at the local county park. It's a 10 minute drive (if even that). Bonus points if we ride our bikes there. Seriously, we were there two hours last time when I finally talked the kids into going home. All we had was an old bucket (It was an old compound bucket from some home repairs), and gloves (my gardening gloves to be exact). They had so much fun wading in the water and putting their caught crayfish in the bucket.
2. Swimming Pool. I bought a family pass to the county pool (same park that has a river and we crayfish in). Having a pool pass is awesome because not only does it save us money, but it saves me from having to spend the entire day at the pool. We sometimes go there for only an hour or two to swim, play and cool off and then we're gone. We don't have to pack huge coolers full of food and make a big day of it. We went to the pool after church on Sunday and only took one water bottle, three bananas, and a bag of pretzels.
3. Library. This is always at the top of my list. We usually go on Saturday early afternoons. We all pick some movies to borrow for the weekend. My son plays computer games and my daughter plays with the Legos. I peruse books and magazines and catch up on some blogs.
4. Ice Cream Shop. We walk or ride our bikes to our favorite ice-cream shop. It takes about 30 minutes walking to get there, so that's usually the best way to go. It becomes more of an event when it takes us longer to get there. Like we're on some kind of ice-cream trek.
5. Camping. This is cheap because we already have all our camping gear and we like to camp at a state park about one hour away. We usually only camp for two nights (Friday through Sunday). Tent camp sites are cheap per night and all I have to spend money on is food for the weekend.
6. Fishing. There are a few spots very close by that are great fishing spots. All I have to buy is worms. Bonus frugal points if we dig them up ourselves. Bleh!
7. Bike Rides. My 10 and 7 year old ride bikes very well. We all take out our bikes and I let one of them lead and we follow. Where they go doesn't matter. Where we end up doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that they don't know their way around the city well. We never get lost, but often find new places. This activity is a win-win for me. We usually ride for one to two hours. I love riding my bike and I get my exercise in.
8. Movies. We have a discount theater that we visit sometimes. You know the type. They show movies that are no longer showing in theaters, but not on DVD yet. It's only $2.50 for a matinee admission. For $10 (less than the price of one full-price adult ticket at a regular theater), I can take a family of four to see a movie. Sometimes we rent a movie at Red Box for $1.50 and we pop some popcorn over the stove and watch it. Sometimes we just watch the movies we borrowed from the library as part of a movie night. Watching movies is great for those rainy days or when it's so hot, humid, and muggy that no one wants to go outside.
9. Game Night. Bring out the board games and play. A fun after-dinner activity. We like to play Uno, Life, Trouble, Rummikub, even charades.
10. Go play with the neighbors. We've lived here 8 years now and know our neighbors and the neighbor kids. My kids will spend hours and hours outside with their bikes, scooters, sidewalk chalk, and toys just playing with the neighborhood kids. They ride their bikes up and down the sidewalk from one corner to the other. They always stay on our street where we can see them. Sometimes I have to call them inside for dinner. They scarf their food down and go right back outside to play. I love those days. I get so much done in the house and have some time for myself.