Kids' Summer Fun On A Budget

May 11, 2015

Keeping the kids entertained while on summer break can be an expensive endeavor. Registrations for summer camps, day care and recreation programs are only the tip of the iceberg. You also need to consider transportation costs to and from these programs that you don’t normally attend during the school year.

But summer break doesn’t have to break your budget. You can still afford to take some quality family time-and you can do it all on a dime. Here are some great ideas to keep your children entertained while you are at work, and some fun family activities, all of which we consider cheap or free!

Have a camp out in your yard. If you can’t take time off work this summer, take advantage of the great weather and go camping in your own backyard. Put away the electronics and enjoy nature with the convenience of your own bathroom being just a few feet away.

Enjoy free movies. Many movie theaters today host free movies on weekday mornings. Ask your local theater for a schedule and get there early. Seats fill quickly! 

Go to a movie or concert in the park. Local resorts, ballparks and recreation departments offer movies and concerts featuring local musicians. Check the local or neighborhood sections of your newspaper for more information. Around Erie they often show movies at Liberty Park and the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. You can check out 8 Great Tuesdays or the Sunset Music Series which are both free!

Be a tourist in your hometown. Get to know your town a little bit more by visiting local museums and other attractions. You might be surprised by what you find. 

Send the kids to church camp. Many churches offer free or cheap day camps for working parents. Even if you don’t attend the church, this is a great opportunity to broaden your children’s horizons and introduce them to different ways of thinking in addition to giving them an opportunity to meet new friends.

Trade kids for a craft day. Work out an arrangement with another parent or two. Each household sponsors a craft day once a week for a month. One week, all the children visit your house and complete a craft you developed. The next week, it’s another parent’s turn.

Visit the library. Free to residents, the library offers numerous programs to help keep kids busy. And even if you don’t find a program that interests your child or your family, you just might find a few books you’ll like! Did you know you can even rent fishing eqiupment from the library.

Redeem report card rewards. Bowling alleys, pizza joints, movie theaters and more offer free or discounted admissions for students who earned a high grade point average on their report card. Do some research and then redeem those rewards!

Make your own water park. If you have grass available to you, set up sprinklers, fill up some squirt bottles and water balloons, lay out the camping tarp, and get the hose ready. Let your kids of all ages loose on a homemade water day.

Visit Presque Isle. Presque Isle is free to everyone and open all summer long! There are many beaches to choose from and you can even enjoy free summer events including Discover Presque Isle and the Sunset Music Series.

Summer doesn’t have to take a lot out of your pocketbook. It just takes a little bit of creativity and a little effort to find activities that the whole family can enjoy, while mom and dad enjoy a little budget relief. Have a great summer!