Summer’s here, so this means a long school holiday for the kids. Now you don’t want them to spend most of their time in front of the TV or playing video games, but you also don’t want to break your budget keeping them occupied. Fortunately, there’s plenty of cheap, fun things to do with the kids this summer. Here’s a list to help you plan an exciting summer for the whole family.
Go on a camping trip
Whatever state you live in, you’ll find a park that offers cheap or free camping facilities. Check the camping fees and booking requirements. Then chose a location that fits your budgets and needs. Book in advance especially during peak seasons. Once you get to the campsite, you won’t run out of fun stuff to do. Keep the tots occupied with a scavenger hunt, and keep hunger pangs at bay with easy-to-prepare camp snacks. Toast marshmallows over a campfire and stargaze the night away—this is definitely better than spending the night in front of the TV. Just keep in mind that fires are dangerous, and open fires may not be permitted in all areas. Check local rules.
TIP: Get a multi-park pass for the entire family if you frequently camp out. You’ll be able to save money and time since you don’t have to purchase the pass every time you plan to visit the campgrounds.
Spend an afternoon at the beach
Aside from national parks and campsites, we are blessed with plenty of gorgeous beaches. From the gorgeous Sunshine Coast all the way down through Queensland, taking in the Gold Coast and onto the state of Victoria, you won’t run out of beaches and coastlines to explore. Many beaches are just a few minutes or hours away from the city & suburbs, so no need to worry about travelling very far. At the beach, plan an exciting afternoon to keep the kids busy. Collect shells, enroll in a surfing class, swim, or play netball on the sands—the list of activities is practically endless; your imagination is your limitation.
TIP:Bring your own umbrellas, towels, water, and snacks so you won’t have to buy or pay for these at the beach. Don’t forget your floaties, boogie boards, balls, and other swimming gear to avoid renting fees. Don't forget other summer essentials such as suntan lotions, hats, and sunglasses. You can buy these at beachside shops, but they can be more expensive here.
Hop on a bike
Start a more active lifestyle this summer and motivate your kids to do the same. Grab those old bikes from the shed and explore the great outdoors. Summer is the perfect time to ride through trails, lush national parks, sandy shores, and even your neighbourhood. Whatever type of scenery and terrain you’re looking for, you’ll find one that’ll suit your cycling skills. Save money and choose biking trails that don’t require fees. If you’re planning to visit a trail inside a national park, take note of fees or entry permits. Also keep in mind the weather conditions on the trail. A brief rainshower can turn a biking trail into a muddy mess.
TIP: Carry a lightweight backpack for your essentials such as water and snacks. Depending on where you are, food and drinks can be expensive. Make sure you and your kids are wearing the required safety gear. After all, you don’t want to spend all the money you’ve saved on treating injuries.
Teach kids how to plant a garden
See who has the green thumb by letting your kids plant a spice or veggie garden. Your kids will learn more about how food is made and how to be responsible when caring for plants. Plus, come harvest time, they get to contribute to your weekly groceries. Let your little tots pull out the weeds, plant the seeds, and water the saplings. See their excitement grow as they see the little green things sprout from the soil. Another good idea is to use an empty egg shell to grow some sprouts inside on the kitchen bench – you will be surprised at how quick these grow.
TIP: Save money on gardening tools by borrowing or buying used spades, gloves, and wheelbarrows. Check out antique stores that sell old pots you can reuse in your kid-friendly garden.
Keeping your kids busy doesn’t have to be a budget-busting experience. Sure, it’s fun to stay at a hotel by the beach, but it’ll cost you a lot. Instead, be creative and plan budget-friendly activities that involve exploring the outdoors. So turn off the TV, stash away those video games, go outside, and let your kids have fun under the summer sun.