School’s out for the summer! Now what? We want our kids to have memorable summers, but most of us don’t have three months off, nor do we have access to unlimited financial resources. How can we help our kids have a summer to remember without dropping lots of money on a dream vacation?
Here are 5 inexpensive ways to have a summer to remember with your kids.
1. Plan a weekly summer movie night.
Depending on your situation this could be anywhere from hanging out in your living room and popping popcorn, to setting up an outdoor movie (if you can access a projector and a bed sheet this is a ton of fun), to going out to the movies. Whatever the setup, just make it fun. Let a different person pick the movie each week. Add some snacks. Have a blast.
You could even make a point to spend 10 minutes after each movie talking about major themes. Was it a good movie? Why or why not? What was the hero/heroine like? How did the antagonist come to be the villain? What does the film want us to think about the human condition?
2. Search for all the state parks within a reasonable driving distance.
You would probably be surprised how many parks exist near you that you can access for free or at least very minimal cost. Simply type in your search engine of choice ‘State Parks Near Me’. Or, for national parks, visit the national parks website at nps.gov. Sit down as a family and identify 3 parks you want to visit throughout the summer and put it on your calendar.
3. Get to know your local library.
You’d probably be surprised how many great activities your local public library offers regularly and free for kids of all ages. Plan to read a book or two together for the summer. Allow your child to pick one and then you pick one. Take your child out for ice cream after each book is finished to celebrate the accomplishment and talk about the book. If you’re not an avid reader and/or need some help identifying age appropriate but interesting books, check out our book list.
4. Weekend bike outings.
Many areas now have rail trails that provide access to great biking experiences with some incredible scenery. But if you don’t have access to those, simply making a habit of regularly getting out and biking around the neighborhood with your child on the weekends can be a great way to make some memories. Pack a lunch and make a picnic of it while you’re at it!
5. Volunteer together.
Whatever it might be, find a way for you and your child to serve others together. Find an organization that’s doing good work and plan to regularly volunteer with them along with your children. Involve your kids in the process if they are old enough. Talk through needs that exist in your local area and what organizations exist to meet those needs, then decide together what you’d be excited to do. Maybe you’ll serve in a soup kitchen or build homes, or work at a food bank. Whatever it is, make it a big deal. Do it together then, afterward, go out for lunch or ice cream to debrief and celebrate doing something meaningful together.
Whatever it might be, find a way for you and your child to serve others together. These opportunities can create some great memories and build the types of values in your children that you hope they carry with them for life. If you’d like more ideas on inexpensive ways to have a summer to remember with your kids, check out this article, or just ask your kids what they’d like to do!
Sound off: What else would you add to the list?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What would you like to do together this summer?”