Summer break usually means simplicity. To many kids (mine included), it means sleeping in, late breakfasts and fun with friends. Some kids go to summer programs, on trips and do other expensive things.

As a kid, I usually read, played outside and watched TV. My parents worked and didn’t have time/money to do vacations, camps or similar things. I loved summer vacation mainly because I didn’t have to go to school.

It’s difficult to come up with the finances for one child to attend most camps. If you have more than one child, it gets even harder. You can save up through the year, get family discounts, etc, but sometimes things just happen.

How Can You Still Have Fun?

Think for a minute and look around where you live. Ask yourself some questions.

  1. Where would you like to play or explore if you were a kid? Are there places nearby that you and your child(ren) haven’t been to recently or at all?
  2. Does your area offer free admission to certain places? For example, Louisville’s library system offers a Cultural Pass to 60 locations. Each child can get in for free along with an adult from June 1- August 1. I got passes for all three of my kids. Some of the places include the Louisville Zoo, the Louisville Science Center, the Kentucky Derby Museum and other places. We did this last year and had a lot of fun.
  3. Does your area offer a reading program? Most libraries do. They usually offer a package of prizes. Ours starts at newborn and goes through high school. Check with a library near you. This can keep your child(ren) busy, especially on stormy days when you can’t go outside.
  4. Creativity can be fun. Crafting can take up whole days if you get into it. Pinterest can be a great place to find ideas based on what your family likes and ages. Idea: Bird feeders are a simple craft that can be hung from a tree in your yard. They take less than an hour to make and can be made in a number of ways. Crafts can be made from things you already have at home or can be easily (and cheaply) found at local stores.
  5. Many family entertainment places have discount days during the summer. This can allow for fun but yet not pay full price for it.
  6. Movie theaters around the country offer either free or $1 showings for kids during the summer. This has been a hit with my kids. You can check online for your area theater and what they offer. Some allow you to bring your own snacks.
  7. Parks can provide part of or a whole afternoon of fun. Take snacks or lunch and everyone can eat while having fun. Most playgrounds have separate areas for smaller kids so that older ones don’t accidentally run into them. Some even have splash-grounds- big sprinklers for kids to run through.
  8. Day trips can be inexpensive and make for great memories. There are many possibilities around you. The only limits are how much money you have, how far you want to go and what your family wants to do.
  9. Getting together with friends and family can make summer days a lot more fun. My kids are very close in age with some of their cousins and they lone hanging out. If you have family nearby, this can be an easy way to spend a day.
  10. Board games are a fun skill to learn. They teach kids to take turns, how to lose gracefully, etc. I didn’t know how to play chess until Julian taught me two years ago over summer break. He’s pretty good. Rainy days can be boring, but if you have board games, time can go by faster.

Summer break doesn’t last forever, much to our children’s disappointment. This is a time to play, have fun and make memories. The ideas listed are just a few ways to do so.

What would you add to the list? What do your children enjoy doing over the summer?