The end of the school year is quickly approaching and summer is just around the corner. As a parent, you may be feeling “end-of-year stress,” especially when you contemplate the cost of summer camps, family vacations, and other expensive summer activities.
To help you keep your budget in check, we asked our AFL role models for ideas for how to spend less money and still have fun with your children over the summer months.
Here’s what they came up with:
Slow down and push your reset button
Believe it or not, timeouts are good! Most families enter the summer months on the heels of being very busy with scheduled activities. Enjoy having nothing on the calendar. Slow down, sleep in, rest, relax, and meditate, because even the most active people need rest for recovery.
Be a tourist in your town or city
Explore your community. Pedal pathways and trails and make it more interesting by adding challenges, such as counting outdoor murals or fire hydrants you see along your way. Visit historical sites to learn more about your community. For your kids, this inspires curiosity, raises community awareness, and promotes active transport.
Surround yourself with the right people
Make plans with the people who matter most, like family and friends. Make an effort to spend time together by hosting a barbecue, taking a family walk on the beach, or planning a picnic. If your loved ones have kids the same age as yours, you won’t need to plan much, because they’ll come up with their own fun and games. But if they need a nudge, teach them the games you used to play, like Kick the Can, or try hunting for the perfect rock to paint.
House sit in cottage country
Sometimes it can be difficult to ask someone to use their recreational place, but if someone you know has invited you, offered their place, or is looking for a house sitter, go ahead and take them up on their offer. It can provide an easy, inexpensive way to explore new areas.
Related read: 21 fun and active games for kids to play on the beach
Visit your local library
If it’s wet outside and you’re tired of playing in nature’s sprinkler, consider a trip to the local library. They often have plenty of activities planned for kids of all ages with a number of resources and games to keep children busy, not to mention an excellent selection of books. Libraries are also a great option if you need to take refuge from extreme heat or smog.
Kids are motivated by challenges. Try a bingo card with fun things to do written in the boxes, and then see if your children can achieve them. If you’re at a playground, set up an ultimate challenge and let the kids come up with the course. You can use a timer and teach the concept of “personal best.” Or try a scavenger hunt. These can easily be set up in any setting: around the yard, in a campground, or all over town. Use pictures if kids are too young to read.
We’d love to hear what tips you have for affordable, fun summer activities. Leave your comments below.