It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to keep your family entertained all summer long. With the economy in a recession and a large unemployment rate, it only makes sense for families to look for ways to have fun this summer while social distancing and sticking to a budget. To help you make the most out of your summer, we’ve compiled a list of the top fun things to do with your family on a budget.
One of the least inexpensive things to do with your family this summer is hosting a movie night. If you own a projector or have it in your budget to purchase one, we recommend taking your movie night outside under the stars. You can also have a fun movie night in the comfort of your living room. Let your children pick out a few different movies, their favorite candy and pop a fresh bowl of popcorn for everyone to enjoy. Bring out chairs and blankets to your yard or fill your living room with pillows and blankets to make the experience extra cozy.
Take a Hike
Summertime comes with beautiful weather, so why not enjoy it with family outdoor activities? If you live near any hiking trails, pack up your family for the day to go on a hike. A good portion of hikes don’t require any admission fee, and if they do, it’s usually a small facility or parking fee. Make sure to bring lots of water, a map, shoes with good traction, sunblock and snacks. This inexpensive family activity is the perfect way to get some exercise and spend your day. If your family enjoys the hike, make sure to plan more throughout your summer. Check out your city’s park and recreation website to discover trails in your neighborhood!
Host a Giant Potluck
One of the best cheap family fun ideas you can share with your family and friends is having a giant potluck. Not only will this save you from having to cook an entire meal, but you get to sample lots of different foods from your friends and family. To organize your potluck, create a list of everyone you want to invite, then have a group chat where you discuss what everyone is bringing. The discussion is important—otherwise, you might end up with everyone bringing chips and dip.
And again, keep social distancing in mind: If you don’t have a large yard to allow everyone to social distance responsibly, host your potluck around the cul de sac. You can set up stations where everyone can pick up some tupperware, then lay out some blankets and chairs to sit and enjoy everything.
If you’re itching for a cheap family getaway, even if it’s just to your backyard, camping is the perfect cheap family outdoor activity to do this summer. If you don’t own a tent, ask one of your friends or family members to borrow theirs. Make sure to include ghost stories, stargazing, a fire pit, making s’mores and grilling as part of your family camping experience.
Send your family on a treasure hunt this summer with geocaching. Geocaching involves traveling to a specific set of GPS coordinates to find a container (geocache) hidden in the area. Some people like to leave trinkets inside geocaches while others contain a logbook for you to sign. Geocaching is one of the best fun family activities you can get hooked on this summer. Who knows—you might find some buried treasure.
Make Homemade Slime
The slime craze has taken over the world in the past five years, and if your family hasn’t given in to it yet, now is the time. All you need to participate in this inexpensive thing to do with your family is glue, food coloring or acrylic paint, saline solution, baking soda and shaving cream. Your family can also get creative with the slime by adding glitter or scented oil to the mix. Making slime is not only fun, but an educational way to teach your children about measurements and how different measurements affect the results.
Have a Picnic
If you’re searching for cheap family activities to do this summer, having a picnic is a necessity. First, choose the best place in your town to have a picnic. Popular destinations include parks, lakes or beaches. Next on your to-do list, plan out your meal: Are you going to get take-out, cook your own or go shopping for pre-made specialties? Once you have the details planned, grab a blanket, an umbrella and pack up your family for a meal enjoyed in the great outdoors! To make your picnic more fun, bring along board games or outdoor toys to play with.
If you or your children have never fully explored the city you live in or one nearby, now is your chance. Lots of small towns have tons of free or cheap adventures you might not know about. With enough Internet research, you might find some hidden gems. Check out the city’s tourism website to gather different cheap family fun ideas to explore.
Start a Garden
One of the best educational family activities on a budget to enjoy this summer is starting your own garden. Not only is it inexpensive to grow your own food, but it teaches your family how to become more self-sufficient. To start your garden, pick out a sunny area of your yard, porch or home and head to your local nursery to get soil, planters and seeds. With your family, follow the instructions on your seed packets to create your home garden. Assign a section of the garden for each family member to tend to and watch grow. Throughout the summer, your family can bond over your garden together and eventually cook a meal using your fresh veggies and herbs.
Have a Read-a-Thon
On days when there’s bad weather or you just want to spend the day inside, one of the best indoor family activities to enjoy on a budget this summer is having a read-a-thon in your own home. A read-a-thon includes spending the day reading books. Gather lots of pillows and blankets and scatter them throughout the house. Have each of your family members choose which books they want to read throughout the day and get comfy and start reading! If any of your children aren’t of reading age yet, consider getting an audiobook or reading to them.
Play Board Games
If you’re looking for indoor family activities to enjoy this summer, make sure playing games is one of them. Most families have shelves filled with everything from cards to Monopoly. Playing board games is not only fun, but teaches your children how to think more strategically, how to be a good team player and how to be a good sport if they lose.
Have a Water Fight
Nothing says summertime like water activities! Get your family together for the ultimate water fight. Fill up water balloons and squirt guns, and turn on sprinklers and a hose for the soaking of a lifetime. You can even get neighbors or family friends involved. Having a water fight is a fun way to cool off on hot days without spending loads of money in the process.
Visit Your Local Library
If your children love the read-a-thon idea, consider visiting your local public library. Instead of spending money on brand new books at the store, you and your family can check out new books every week without spending a dime. Most libraries also offer eBooks, audiobooks and movies to check out. Some public libraries also host summer reading programs for children and adults and free or cheap classes and events. Make sure to check out your local library this summer to take advantage of everything they have to offer.
Bake Something From Scratch
You don’t have to wait around for the holidays to get your family together for a baking session. One of the best family activities on a budget to enjoy this summer is baking together from scratch. Sit down with your family to choose which recipes you want to make, then create them together. You can even get out the cookie cutters from the holidays and create summer gingerbread men. Baking something from scratch is an easy and inexpensive activity you can enjoy together regularly.
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