What are Your Summer Plans?

My son is out of school, and it’s time for summer fun. Well, sort of. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a bit of difficulty on the family front with a declining elderly relative. Our summer has begun by heading up to my parents’ house to help out. But that’s not a bad thing. My son could use a little knowledge of the importance of service to others, and a crash course in the fact that sometimes we sacrifice for others. It’s not always about having fun; sometimes it’s about fulfilling responsibility.

But we also have some fun things planned. We like to go camping and hiking, and my son also enjoys a few summer day camps. Part of the summer equation — especially when you have kids — is how much it will cost. You need to figure out how you can manage a good summer without breaking the bank. I won’t have to order checks online to finance my vacation!

Inexpensive Summer Activities

Since we like camping and hiking, we automatically have low-cost activities built in. Other outdoor activities, such as biking, picnicking and going to the park are all things that you can do rather inexpensively. However, you don’t have to get outside (although it’s a good time for it) to have a good summer.

I also like my son to keep up with self-improvement activities and academic pursuits. He has set reading time each day (do at the library once or twice a week for a change of pace), and there are also plenty of game sites that provide your kids with educational experiences. Math games, science web sites, and other learning sites can be worth checking into. Have your kids do something educational for 30 to 45 minutes before you let them do anything else with screen time.

Check with your city’s parks department as well. Many towns have programs for children that are low-cost or even free. My town has a “play time” where kids can come to the park, and there are different activities set up. It is a good volunteer experience for teenagers, and city employees oversee the event. Many towns also have free concerts, plays, and arts and crafts. Even if it’s not free, you can usually find something to do for under $10.

Don’t forget about special matinee movies. Find the low-cost theater in your town, and see if they have a summer movie program. You can usually get inexpensive concessions as well. You might be surprised at what’s available if you look around a little bit to see what’s available.

Other Options

Of course, sometimes, if you have the means, it’s worth it to send your kids to camps. My son will be heading off to tennis camp for one week, and then a multi-sports camp at the local sports and racquet club. These are a little pricier, but they are quality experiences, and they tend to break up the summer a bit. He’s also got 4-H and Scouts to provide activities for him.

We also keep up with the music lessons. This is great, because it gives him something to do once a week (the lesson) and also something to do each day, since practice is required before jumping in and having fun. And don’t forget to get your kids involved around the house. Give your kids chores to do inside and outside the house. Growing up, we helped weed the garden and perform other care-related activities. A little responsibility can help keep your children busy, and teach them valuable skills.

What are your plans for the summer?

About the Author

Miranda writes about financial topics for several web sites. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds, and her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger, is available on Amazon.