Frugal summer activities

Summer vacation is underway, and you may have already run out of ideas to entertain the kids- and you are only a couple of weeks in. Yikes.picnic

Before you hit the mall, or whip out the credit card, willing to pay any price just for a few hours of peace entertainment, here are some budget-friendly ideas for summer entertainment.

Cheap movies

Want to fill up a few hours? There’s nothing like a trip to the movies. However, between the admission tickets and a trip to the snack bar, you practically need to re-mortgage your house.

Many movie theatres offer early morning movies (i.e. before noon) with some pretty significant discounts on admission tickets. Instead of loading up at the snack bar, negotiate a trip to the ice cream parlor on the way home. It’s way cheaper and the kids think they’ve had two outings instead of one.

The library

When is the last time you hung out at the library? Your library has a lot more to offer beyond books. There are arts and crafts, story time, cool reading clubs and other programs (my library regularly hosts block parties where they have Lego building competitions) all for free or for a low price.

Scavenger hunts

Take advantage of this short season of warm weather by organizing a scavenger hunt. You can make it as challenging as you like. For younger kids, you can keep it local, with simple clues. For older kids, get the bikes involved and travel the neighbourhood with elaborate clues.

Daily deals

Want to go mini-putting? Too hot to cook and want to eat out tonight? Want to hit the local museum or amusement park? Don’t pay full price for anything. Check out local daily deal sites, like Groupon or Livingsocial and search out discounts.

A shopping spree

A shopping spree doesn’t have to be as budget-busting as it sounds. Go to the dollar store and let the kids loose with a ten dollar budget. Not only are you killing some time having fun picking out the loot, their baskets will be teeming with hours of entertainment for when you get home, for a fairly low cost. Get the kids involved Let the kids help you to plan their summer activities and make it an learning opportunity that’s fun.  Give them a budget and have them do the planning.