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Summer has arrived and whether you are a homeschooler or not, chances are you’ll be taking at least a short break during the summer months. We homeschool year round in our home, but we still take short breaks throughout summer to enjoy the beautiful weather. Even with short breaks, my kids will start complaining they’re bored, or I’ll find that they wanting way to much screen time. So how do I keep them entertained even when on a budget? Here are a few ideas:
Every Kid In A Park
If you have a 4th grader, did you know that your family can get FREE access to all federal lands and waters for an entire year! It’s true! Plus, no matter where you live, you’re within at least two hours of an included site…how awesome is that? We love heading outdoors in warmer weather and this is a wonderful and inexpensive way to do it! We rise and shine in the mornings, pack a picnic lunch and head off to enjoy our day. To sign up for Every Kid In A Park is pretty easy to do and just takes a few seconds. Just head over to EveryKidInAPark.gov and fill out the information and print the passes.
Kids Bowl Free
That’s right..I said the F word again…FREE! We sign up for the Kids Bowl Free program every summer. While I know the summer months are prime time for outdoor fun, here in the South we end up with some crazy hot days. Those are the days when we try to find activities to do that involve the indoors. We all know that bowling can expensive, especially going as a family, but with the Kids Bowl Free, not only do your kids get to bowl for FREE (obviously), but you can get discounts for the rest of the family. You can head over and check out their site to see if you can find a participating bowling alley near you. Once you sign up, your kids can bowl every day of the entire summer for FREE!
Camping is without a doubt a family favorite in our house and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Campground camping can get a little pricey depending on your area and the time of year, but we always seek out dispersed (FREE) camping when we can. It saves a ton of money, but just remember these spots are first come. Not sure if you’re the camping type? You can always give it a try in the backyard. Sometimes little ones get scared when it comes to sleeping in a tent at night and camping in the yard is a great way to introduce them to the tent camping. Both of our boys were a tad scared the first time they tent camped, and luckily we did it in the yard as a trial run with each of them. We did have to bring one for the night because he got too scared. Now, he loves camping as much as the rest of us.
I admit that picking berries isn’t going to be free unless you have your own trees planted. For us, we do have blackberry, blueberry and raspberries planted the kids look forward to heading out in mornings before the heat of the day to pick a few berries. It’s always fun to whip up a tasty treat with a few of them once we come back indoors. If you aren’t able to have your own plants in your backyard, usually it’s pretty inexpensive to head out picking depending on your area.
Concerts in the park & other town events
This is one of our favorite activities during the summer months. We live in a very small town, but every Friday we have a farmer’s market around the square and that’s followed by a FREE concert. It’s always a wonderful family friendly event. Not only that, but from Spring through Fall, we usually have events that our town puts on at least once or twice a month on the weekends.
This is an activity that we have done with our kids for many years. It’s such a wonderful way to get out and explore the world no matter the season. My husband has a GPS unit, and our boys have a Geomate Junior that they have always enjoyed using. No matter the size of town you live in, you’re sure to find caches hidden throughout. To play, log on to www.geocaching.com and sign up for free. When you enter your zip code, a list of caches hidden in your area will appear along with their GPS coordinates.
Simply head outdoors
Part of the summer fun is being able to head outdoors and enjoy the day! Take a hike on a favorite trail, or explore a new one, pack a picnic and head to the park, check out a new playground. The possibilities are endless!
Make a summer bucket list
There are tons of fun activities and adventures to take during the summer months that are free and cheap. Activities like taking a hike, making tie-dye shirts, roasting marshmallows, play in the rain, catch fireflies…the list could go on and on. Sit down together as a family and write down all the things you want to do and hang it where you can see it. When you have the extra time, rainy day, or the kids are just feeling a tad bored…grab the list to see where it takes you! I’ve included a of the list that our family came up with as a FREE PRINTABLE.