Summer is almost upon us! And with that, comes children asking what we are going to do every day. They expect that since they are out of school, and on vacation, that we are also. While I would love for that to be the case, it simply isn’t. And even though it is summer, I still have no plans to kill my budget just to keep them entertained. So I have found some great ways to beat the summer heat with kids and not spend a fortune.
As a writer, I also happen to be a huge advocate of reading. This is something I have been working to instill in my children, as well. Even if we don’t have the time, or the money, to spend a month traveling abroad, we can certainly live vicariously through a good book.
And, while I support as many authors as I can, because I am also one, sometimes the library is the best option for us. Since we all have library cards, and the library closest to us is HUGE, we are there frequently.
Our library has a giant selection of books to choose from, which never leaves us wanting. As a bonus, though, they can pull books in from other libraries, if they don’t happen to have a specific title we are looking for.
Even if you aren’t sure which types of books to get your children, to keep them interested, the libraries have fantastic librarians with great suggestions to help out. Most libraries also have a Summer Reading Program you can get involved with. These are FREE programs with incentives to get your children to read more during the summer. Sometimes they also have special events for certain age brackets on different days of the week. We try to take advantage of these as often as possible. Because not only is reading a great way to spend the summer, but it’s free and it helps beat the summer heat because it can be done inside.
We usually go at least once a week to return books and get new books. Some of our kids are more voracious readers than others, which is great! That means I have to go to the library more often some weeks to replenish their stock though. But I am happy they are doing something that is entertaining for them, free and can be educational. This is a huge bonus for me!
Explore Your City
Exploring your own city is something that a lot of us just don’t do very often, if at all. I know that when we were in Washington DC for spring break, most people we ran across that lived there, said they had never done any of the touristy stuff. Why the heck not? You live there, after all, and it’s FREE! I just don’t get it.
We spend so much money to travel to other cities to see what they have to offer, but we don’t ever just take a walk out our front door and see what our own city has to offer. That just sounds silly to me.
So, one of my favorite things to do with the kids is to just wander around our own city to see what hidden gems it has to offer.
The best way to do this is to just grab your keys, and your kids, and just walk out the front door.
If your city isn’t really that walkable, then take a stroll around your neighborhood first. We have found all sorts of interesting things, even in our own neighborhood, that we didn’t even know about.
- Free library box in someone’s front yard
- Hidden pond with a ton of tadpoles
- Tree house
- Bamboo thicket with a hidden walking path running through it
- Park with a playground
The more advanced way to do this, is to jump in the car and head to a part of town that you don’t know as well. This could be five minutes away or fifteen minutes. It doesn’t really matter though, just as long as you explore parts unknown in your own city.
By doing this, you are learning more about your own city, creating an adventure, and doing it with little to no money.Exploring your own city can not only be a great adventure, but also can cost little to nothing to implement. Click To Tweet
I love to be outside in nature! And I like for my kids to enjoy all the world has to offer by immersing them in the natural environment around us. Plus, I have found that being outside wears them out so much faster than keeping them inside.
We are lucky in that our city has one of the largest Greenway systems in the U.S. So we have this at our disposal for some great nature walks. While I realize not every city has as many trails as we do to explore, most cities still have some green spaces to embark upon a nature walk or two.
When I take the kids on nature walks, part of the goal is to see how much flora and fauna we can find during our outdoor excursion. I want to engage them in conversation about what they see. And part of the fun for the kids is to stump me with something I didn’t previously know. Which I think is awesome, because then we all learn something new. And we didn’t have to pay a cent to learn it!
Besides bringing my phone, in order to potentially identify things we find, the library usually also has some good books with native species. So, a lot of times, I will grab one of those and bring it with us so that everybody can be an active participant in identifying things we find, instead of just myself.
What to Pack
Any time I plan to have an outdoor adventure, I make sure to bring a backpack full of stuff. It doesn’t matter if the kids have just been fed before we leave the house or not, inevitably one or more of them will complain about being hungry. Or they will be thirsty, or need a tissue. The joys of parenting!
So, I make sure to pack snacks, water bottles, tissues and sometimes one of the native species identification books.
Amazon has a great selection of backpacks and water bottles, which is where I usually get ours. Plus they will ship the items directly to your house, which makes my life easier during the summer with all five kids. If I can avoid having to go to a store to find a few necessities, then I will do it. Plus, it saves me gas, which I am also a big fan of.
Packing my backpack with the necessities ahead of time helps make the day more enjoyable and it also saves me money. After all, my goal is not to spend a ton of money to beat the summer heat but to wear them out and create some great memories.
What are some great ways you have found to beat the summer heat with kids, that didn’t kill your budget?