Keeping the Kids Busy this Summer on a Budget

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 3.56.22 PMI think most parents can agree that one of their least favorite phrases is, “I’m bored”. It’s hard not to lose it when your little one tells you this more than three times in the day, and all you can see is a mountain of toys and books that are anything but boring. In the sake of keeping your sanity and keeping your kids, here are some free and very inexpensive activities to try out this summer.

Free Classes: There are so many free craft classes out there. All you have to do is sign up and show up. Yes, this means that your children will come home with even more stuff, but they will also have a blast for 30 minutes. The top free kid programs I have seen are offered through Lowes, Home Depot, and  Michael’s.

Look for Vacation Bible Schools: Many churches put on a Vacation Bible School that last for about a week. They usually last three to four hours a day, and kids have a blast at them. Obviously, this is a religious activity, so take that into consideration before sending your children if you are not religious. Some churches do charge a small fee, but it is usually nominal to all the activities your child does. I know that one of the local churches in my area has a huge skit prepared, games, water games, crafts, snack, and Bible activities.

Do Movie Night Swaps: This idea takes a little bit of planning, but it can be a huge success if you get everyone to participate. Get two to four groups of parents together and agree that each of you will take a turn hosting a dinner/movie night. Keep it simple with an easy and inexpensive meal (such as build your own tacos or top your own mini pizzas) and pop some popcorn. Redbox always has affordable movie rentals. If the kids get too crazy, you can always take the fun outdoors with a game of tag or relay races. This is perfect for the kids because they get to have fun together, and it is also perfect for the parents because it gives each set of parents a few hours free each night.

Look for Inexpensive Movie Screenings: A lot of the regional theaters have special movies for kids during the summer months. For example, Regal Theaters and Cinemark Theaters will be showing a different family movie each week for .50-$1 per person. I am pretty sure you will make that money back by not having your air conditioning on for two hours. Of course, resist your kids’ urge to splurge at the candy counter by filling them up beforehand.

Buy Their Favorite Movies: If there are certain movies that your children never get tired of watching, purchasing the films is a great idea. Having these movies on hand allows you to put them on whenever your children get bored, giving you an hour and a half of quiet as they watch. Ordering their favorite DVDs online allows you to access a wide selection of titles and save some money in the process, making it the best way to go. If you can get a few other parents on board with buying some DVDs, you can trade movies once your kids want to watch something different.

Summer is the time for kids to make memories. Check out your local community’s website for even more ideas and classes. Some parents miss out on fun opportunities because they don’t think their kids will like it. However, you may be surprised at what your child finds entertaining. Look for free classes, free plays, and free concerts in your town.