"If we didn't have any money, WE didn't know it." - Grandma Schofield
My grandmother past away this past year, and one of the lessons she taught me was that you don't need money to have fun. She pointed out that the days as a married couple with little money were some of the best memories she had. Granted, looking back one can say that. While in the midst of things being tight, I can have a MUCH different perspective. As an adult you have a more complicated set of responsibilities.
That being said, there are some fantastically cheap summer fun activities out there to participate in. When I was a kid, my mother bought a super cheap plastic pool, filled it with water, and then gave us old Cool Whip bowls to play with. If a toy or ball flew out into the dry weeds (no grass yet at that point), we'd put the bowls on our feet as "shoes" and walk into the brush to retrieve whatever was lost. We were young, broke, and happy.
Fast forward to today, and while we're not "poor as church mice" as we were once labeled, we're still in a place where we need cheap entertainment. While on a work trip, we stayed with family and the weather got warm. My mother, in her traditional way, grabbed two buckets, turned on the hose, and my little ones were on their way to a pile of summer fun, right in the front yard. I came home to the scene pictured above. Memories came rushing back and I'm grateful The Wife and my mother could provide a much needed diversion for some VERY active minds.
So here's my short list of cheap summer activities you can try out:
Home based water park - Get creative and it can be ten times the fun you think.
Treasure Maps – I did this with the kids once, and they now ask to do it again a least once every two weeks.
Public Library – Whether you grab some new books, or find a free event, there’s a lot to do there.
Costume Party – Mom or dad, you get dressed up too. Join the fun.
Home Theatre Production – This can follow on the heels of the costume party!
Craft Day – Throw down some newspaper and get messy.
Nature Walk – There’s more out there to look at than you’d think, if you’re looking.
Movie Night – You can rent movies for a buck these days. See something new.
Ice Cream Night – Grab a few flavors and a bunch of toppings and go “nuts”.
Fort Building – Find boxes, blankets, couch cushions and get to work. Combine with movie night! Childhood Outdoor Games – Hopscotch, kick the can, tag, hide-and-go-seek, kites, etc. all work.
Farmer’s Market – There’s always one nearby. Search one out and try something new.
Marshmallows – Get a fire going and toast some mallows. S’Mores optional.
Lemonade Stand – We’re doing our first this summer. They were always more work than profit, but fun regardless.
Picnic – Always a good excuse to get out, have lunch, play at the park, beach, or wherever.
Stargazing – Can be fun no matter the location, but I saw my first satellite fly over while looking at the stars with my dad.
Local Baseball – This can be super cheap and good old American fun.
Hope your summer will be as great as ours!