If your kids are anything like mine, they dream of a grandiose summer vacation. One filled with trips, adventure, and excitement. And as much as I’d love to fulfill their dreams of trips and excursions the reality is that we need to make do with what we have right in our little town.
This doesn’t mean we can’t have fun though. And it certainly doesn’t mean we aren’t stuck at home all day long. Rather, it’s simply that time (and funds) don’t allow for the larger-than-life movie-quality summer their hearts are set on.
Oh, and that I have to be a little creative when it comes to how we spend these few glorious weeks between the end of one school year and the start of another.
Summer Means Freedom
I’m a big fan of a less-than-structured summer. As a homeschooler, I spend nine or ten months out of the year carefully scheduling activities, lessons, and appointments to be sure we get the most out of each and every school day. Summer affords us all a break and it’s one that I really want to enjoy. The idea of spending our days running around, coordinating trips and excursions, and generally having a to-do list is simply too much.
Plus, I fully know the value of a low-key summer. One where my kids get to sleep in, complain of boredom, and eventually wander outside in search of something to do. This relaxed approach leads to things like kids making up new games, playing with each other,
Seriously. We go through more paper, crayons, glue, and glitter during the summer than we do all school year long.
No, They Are Not Stuck At Home Either
Try as they might
Sleepovers are rarely refused.
Oh, and venturing out is almost always agreed upon. If you are old enough to go for a walk, just tell me where you are going and when I can expect you back. Simple.
Yet, even with these options, I know that the kids sometimes need more. And personally, after a few days of nothingness (as glorious as it may be), I too am ready to do something. Hence, my list.
5 Budget-Friendly Summer Activities
Ok, I get it. I love to be home doing nothing, but my kids really want to be out and about. And I really want to enjoy the time we have before either school starts back up again… or they start moving out.
But with a large family living on a single income, I do have to be conscientious about what activities we tackle.
So here is my list of five activities you can do this summer with your kids that will give you time together, memories and experiences, while not breaking the bank. They also don’t require a ton of planning, so are perfect for a day when you simply feel like doing something different.
1. Go For A Walk
Silly, I know, but hear me out. When was the last time you walked around your neighborhood? Or maybe explored the local recreation trails? What if you allowed one child to direct the path for the trip? Or used the time to identify local landmarks?
The possibilities are endless really. And the cost is literally zero. Lace up some sneakers, put on some sunscreen, and maybe grab a water bottle, and you are good to go. Ten minutes from idea to out the door (well, if everyone can find their shoes) and before you know it you are venturing down the path of endless possibilities. Imagining you are searching for buried treasure, trying to get home without taking the same path
2. Have A Picnic Lunch (or Dinner)
There is something magical about eating outside. You can take your ordinary, run-of-the-mill lunch and dress it up simply by grabbing a blanket, cutting those sandwiches into four triangles, and heading outside.
Even if it’s simply your own backyard.
Seriously. Take whatever you planned for lunch, whether sandwiches, fruit slices, yogurt, nuts… it does not matter one bit… add in some plates (paper if you have ’em) and a beverage, and you have yourself a spectacular way to start the afternoon.
Or, take it up a notch, by having dinner outside and even cooking it right over a fire. My kids love nothing more than roasting hotdogs on sticks in the evening. And while I personally don’t care for the mystery-meat items myself, I do love the simplicity of not having to cook and no dishes to wash.
Plus, you know, it’s family time. Memories. And fun.
3. Head To The Beach
Have a local beach or pool nearby? Grab the kids, some towels and sunscreen, and get going. No one ever said you need to complicate the process. The kids don’t need a full afternoon of swimming – even 30-minutes will do. And they certainly don’t need a plethora of floaties, toys, or water games to have fun. Fill up some water bottles, load the kids, and just go.
Oh, and if swimming is not your thing, don’t feel guilty. Let the kids go and enjoy watching them.
4. Check Out The Library
More and more local libraries are offering summer activities for kids whether it’s reading programs, STEM-related activities, or bringing in local business owners to show their craft. These are great opportunities to check out something new, get out of the house, take advantage of some free air conditioning, and do something different.
Not sure what there is to do? Ask a librarian. As a homeschooler, I’m assuming you already have a great rapport with them… but even if you don’t, now is the time to start. Most libraries also have reading corners, puzzles, games, and even computers available for use. Spend the afternoon reading books. Challenge the kids to find a particular book (and sharpen their library skills). Or show them some of your favorite books.
Take turns reading aloud. Find the best seat to relax in. Look for the strangest author name or book title.
Find books that only have red covers. Or ones with places in the title. The ideas are endless, just remember to be quiet… it is a library.
5. Plan A Family Movie Marathon
Typically saved for weekends or evenings, there is nothing wrong with a family movie on a Tuesday morning. Shake it up a little, Mom. It’s is summer vacation after all.
Whether you rent the newest blockbuster, borrow one from a friend or the library, or simply pop in an oldie-but-goodie, make it an event. Pop some popcorn or get some other snacks, use couch cushions or pillows on the floor for seating. Close the curtains, set the stage, and escape with your kids for a couple of hours, or a couple of movies.
Yes, Summer Can Be Fun, Even on a Budget
As much as my kids would love to be driving off into the sunset, lounging during extensive family vacations, and swirling through theme parks, the reality for us it that just won’t be happening. Our days are filled with staying home, exploring our town, and enjoying the slower pace. In between, there are moments of fun.
Sleepovers at friends or families houses.
An annual family camping trip near the end of summer.
Trips to the park, the beach, and the library.
It’s a low-key summer, but we run a lot during the school year. Personally, I’m grateful for the slower
Regardless of the price-tag of our options.
Looking for even more summer inspiration?
Then look no further than these summer-inspired activities for your home and homeschool!
- Creative ideas to keep the learning going all summer long with 10 Unusual Ways to Homeschool Over the Summer from In All You Do.
- Classic board games perfect for summer fun in How to Use Classic Board Games as School Review from The WOLFe Pack.
- Hand-on learning ideas and STEAM Subscription Boxes for Summer FUN! from Homeschool On the Range
- Summertime STEM Activities from Hess Un-Academy will help you out with fun and engaging activities the kids can do all summer long.
- Be prepared all summer long with 40 Boredom Busting Summer Ideas and Activities for Families from Geez, Gwen!
- Educational Summer Ideas for Kids from Making Room 4 One More will help keep the kids learning.
- Learn all about seashells during your beach adventures with Fun Seashell Identification Activities for Kids from Homeschooling 4 Him.
- Pack The Perfect Backpack for Special Needs Summer Adventures from Our Crazy Adventures In Autismland will help you ensure a successful outing!
- See how one family learns through the summer in Canada’s subarctic in Homeschool Schedule: Our Summer Routine from An Off Grid Life.
- Keep the kids occupied while you work from home with 21 Fun Summer Homeschool Ideas for Work From Home Moms from Thrive at Home.
- 5 Awesome Ways to Learn Parts of Plants for Kids from Julie Naturally will help you and your kids have fun learning the different parts of a plant.
- Encourage year-round reading with 7 Ways to Encourage Summer Reading from Heart and Soul Homeschooling.
- 12 fun and mostly free educational activities you can do at home in Homeschool Summer Bucket List from Whole Child Homeschool.
- Life Skills Mega List for Kids from Stand Up, Reach Out can help you teach practical life skills including mapping, cooking, and more.
- Simple solutions to help prevent the summer slide in Use Morning Time to Beat the Summer Slide! from Everyday Graces Homeschool.
- Summer Music Lessons for Holidays & Special Days from Music in Our Homeschool is perfect for elementary-aged students.
- Cool down with a great book in Summer Read Alouds for Kids from Simple Living Mama.
- Explore the tiny world of bugs and insects with Insect & Bug Activities for Kids from My Joy-Filled Life.
- Summer can be a great time to keep the fun going in your homeschool with these Summer Slide Activities for All Ages from The Homeschool Cafe.
- Eat well and still have plenty of time to play with 25 Cheap & Easy Summer Meals for Families from Orison Orchards.
- Get out and about with your family without draining your savings in How to Take Inexpensive Road Trips with a Large Family from With the Huddlestons.
- Keep the learning going all summer long with 6 Summer Family Activities to Keep Learning Fun from This Bit of Life.