It. Is. Almost. SUMMER!! Is anyone else freaking out about this!?!? By this time next week I will have all 5 kids… at home… all the time! Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE my children, but unless I figure out how to keep them busy we will all have three long months together. So… it’s time to get serious about making some plans. Fear not! We can all have a rad summer filled with fun memories without spending a ton of money!
Google is My Superpower
Your first step to a memorable summer is to do a little research. Search for free activities in your area and make a list. Literally… type in your google search bar: free activities in (fill in your town). Make a list of all the details including address, phone number, and available dates. When you finish your search of free activities, do another search for “cheap activities in (your town)”. There is probably someone else who has done the hard work of gathering all this info… it’s your job to find it!!
It starts with a plan
My most successful summers with the kids have been when we had some kind of consistency. Print out a blank calendar for the next 3 months (HERE is one that is cute and FREE). These are your practice sheets. Write in pencil, move things around, scratch off bad ideas, etc. Write down EVERYTHING that is going on over the next few months and then fill in activities from your Google search. Set up certain “Days” like this as well. Make Monday YMCA day; Tuesday is movie day; Wednesday is beach day; Thursday go to the library; Friday is an adventure day; whatever works for you! The kids will LOVE and thrive on some sort of consistency and you won’t be scrambling to make plans.
Get a Group Rate
As you are making plans and doing your research, you may notice a few venues that cost a little bit of money, but if you get a group together, then you all can get a discount. Start gathering your mamma friends and make a list of a few options and a few dates. Sometimes a “group” is 10 or more people. Our family almost counts as a group all by ourselves (hahaha). All it takes is one brave mamma to coordinate and make a few quick phone calls.
Some of the BEST Cheap Activities
To help you get the ball rolling, I have found a few ideas you can use to get started. Click on the links provided and make sure they are available in your area. If you have any other fun ideas, let me know and I will update this post for everyone!
Regal Summer Movie Express. They offer $1 movies every Tuesday and Wednesday during the summer. The movies are always G or PG so super kid friendly. Our Regal near us does not offer this which I just cannot believe… and trust me… I have written to a few people… but when we lived in Vegas this 2 hours a week was a lifesaver and something my kids looked forward to every week.
Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse – $1 per show OR $5 for 10 movies! The closest one to my family is 30 miles away, but guess what?? With travel and movie time that is now 4 glorious hours of quiet once a week! Bring it on!!
Libraries or Community Rec Centers – In some areas they may offer family nights for free or a nominal fee. Do a search for “outdoor movies” in your area. Or, you can usually search your rec center activities online and sort by price. Most libraries also do a summer reading program. Get your kids involved and make it a weekly trip to report on their reading and maybe get a prize at the end! Keep reading charts visible and make reading a priority this summer!
Get Outdoors – Take a hike, go to the beach, go to a local swimming pool or splash pad. It’s summer for crying out loud! Soak up that vitamin D. Just make sure you you pack some sunscreen (that you bought with a coupon of course).
Plan a theme day – If you need to switch up your routine, think of adding a little spin on your day. We used to go to to the Natural History Museum all the time, but one day I decided to spice things up and make a whole day around “Dinosaurs”. We had Fruity Pebbles for breakfast, went to a park that had a sandpit with some dino decor, popped into the museum for a little fun, then came home and ate dinosaur chicken nuggets for dinner. The final piece of the day was a little “Jurassic Park” right before bed (because I love to terrify the kids right before they fall asleep). That last one may have come to bite me in the rear, but this was WAY before “The Good Dinosaur” was made and I had enough of “The Land Before Time”. Whatever you decide, go all in with your theme. It will be a blast to plan and so much fun for your kiddos.
Invest in Fun!
You will likely have to invest a little bit of money in your summer fun, but you don’t have to go full boar and spend hundreds of dollars on day camps for your kids. Instead, look at spending that money on family memberships that you can use throughout the year. SET A BUDGET! If you can only afford one membership this year, start saving now to add a little more fun for next summer. Or buy a membership once every three months. That way you aren’t saddled with a big bill each summer.
Children’s Museums | Natural History Museums | Zoos | Rec Center Memberships
Use What is in Your Backyard!
Wherever you live… YOUR CITY IS AWESOME! Get to know the fun things that are offered right in your own backyard! It may take a little digging, but with a little bit of time invested you could quickly fill up your summer calendar and get to know some really cool (and sometimes free) things right in your area.
I wish you all the best this summer!! If you have any other fun suggestions on how to make the next three months fly by, leave a comment or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We can get through this together!! 🙂