Free (or cheap) summer fun for the family?

United States
July 1, 2009 1:12pm CST
I've been looking forward to summer for months, now it's finally here, and I can't think of anything really fun to do. It's not really warm enough to go to the beach or the pool, and they cost money anyways. The kids and I are pretty bored with the nearby playgrounds. I live in a trailer park and I'm not real fond of the way the other kids here behave, so I won't let my kids wander around here at all, they're pretty much secluded to just our yard, which is very small. This is why I try to take them out to parks and playgrounds, but as I said, we're pretty bored with them now. So this is my dilemma... what can we do on a warm, but not hot day, that doesn't cost money, and will keep us occupied all day? We tried a picnic at the park today... we got bored after an hour and came home. We went to the beach even though it wasn't hot enough to swim, I brought shovels and pails to let the kids play in the sand... they were too bored and quickly got out of hand. We have a membership to the zoo, so we already do that every couple of weeks and that gets beyond boring!! I'm out of ideas, please help!!
4 people like this
17 responses
@SomeCowgirl (32270)
• United States
1 Jul 09
What about craft projects? There's an over abundance of free project ideas on the internet, you could always look about those. I know that's an inside thing though, and they may get bored of that as well. Have you thought of collecting rocks? Maybe that's something they'd like to do. You could find some and maybe even paint them, etc, or sidewalk chalk is cheap and can be fun. Have them draw, and you could guess what it is, kind of like pictionary. Or they could draw hop skotch, or four corners, or something.
• United States
1 Jul 09
I should have mentioned that my kids are very active, so we need activities that would get them moving a lot, such as walking, running, playing at a playground, stuff like that. They don't do too well with just sitting still.
1 person likes this
@SomeCowgirl (32270)
• United States
1 Jul 09
Oh okay. Well do you have mini golf in you area? If not do you have golf courses? Ask them they offer services for children to play. They may or may not. We don't have much here in our area, so all activities are running around or working in the yard.
• United States
2 Jul 09
yeah, we've done mini golf once... i got a couple that are still babies really, so it's not easy for them, and it gets expensive too with 5 kids
1 person likes this
@Margajoe (4720)
• Germany
1 Jul 09
Yes, it is not easy finding fun things to do without money. Lately when my BF' s son comes to visit, we only watch TV. He can play games on the computer. This leaves me with nothing to do. He is always complaining that he is bored. He is 12. Then he starts telling us how his mother is bringing him to Mc Donalds. That his mother always has money. He reminds us every time. Oh well, good luck. Ever think of going fishing? I loved that as a child.
• United States
1 Jul 09
Buying all that fishing gear costs money.
1 person likes this
@Margajoe (4720)
• Germany
1 Jul 09
Maybe you can get it second hand? If you know someone, you can borrow it from? Did you ever think of letting the children get creative, coloring or drawing? Maybe making puzzles together and gluing them on cardboard? Good luck.
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
6 Jul 09
Are there any better playgrounds maybe a little bit further away from the house that you can take them to? I know you are having car issues right now, so at present that might not work out for you though. Maybe when the car is fixed. A different park might have different stuff for them to play on. I am not sure how much any of this stuff costs, but here is a link to some upcoming events in your area. http://www.jordanny.com/upcoming.html
• United States
6 Jul 09
We usually do that a lot, drive around to different playgrounds or parks. Hubby is on the road for work a lot and he finds lots of nice places nearby and brings us on his days off. Problem isn't just not having a car, it's also gas. We're broke again and have just enough gas to get through the week, so looks like we probably won't be getting out this week!
@4ofmyown (1119)
• United States
2 Jul 09
A few things have come to mind. YMCA...if you have one near you, alot of them have indoor pools that are either free or pretty close to free. Movies...there are a few theaters around us that have a free movie day once a week during the summer. Hopefully, these help you a little. Wish I had more suggestions.
• United States
2 Jul 09
The YMCA would cost us $30 a month, I did look into that, just not affordable at this time. We do movies as a family 3-4 times a week, we have a membership to Blockbuster.com.
@MegDM123 (145)
• United States
2 Jul 09
Maybe cook together? There are tons of kid-cookbooks that you can check out from your local library, internet searches, or even watch cooking shows on TV. I love to bake and cook and it's because I remember doing it with my mother when I was small. Or how about maybe board game night? You can maybe say the winner doesn't have to make their bed tomorrow morning, or something harmless like that but yet a treat that they will look forward to.
@MegDM123 (145)
• United States
2 Jul 09
Two other ideas: 1. Get some bags of marshmallows (big and small) and lots of toothpicks. Let your children go to town building different types of things. Then when they are done, they can eat some. 2. Get some different shaped pretzels - the circles, the sticks, and the regular twisty ones. Let the kids bite, break, combine them to make different letters in different words.
• United States
1 Jul 09
Why not volunteer at your local humane society. They are always looking for people to help with the animals. Bring the kids to visit a nursing home to help with activities. Call the activities director and see what they can do to help out. The elderly love having kids around.
• United States
2 Jul 09
My kids are still too young for stuff like that... I was really thinking more along the lines of summer type activities as well, something outdoors, you know.
1 Jul 09
This may not be your sort of thing but I remember my parents, in particular my mum as my dad was working, took me on nature rambles. She got me this pocket nature book with all sort of flowers, birds, butterflies and insects listed in it and we went round trying to find all the different ones. Although I have forgotten a lot of what I learned from doing it I do remember it was good fun trying to find different species of plants and animals and some of it has stayed with me.
• United States
1 Jul 09
We do hike quite a bit. I don't have a book of plants or insects or any of that, although we could try that the next time we hike. Normally we save activities like that for when my husband can accompany us, which is 2 times a week on his days off.
• United States
1 Jul 09
I know you have a few older kids but is there a summer reading program at your local library? That can make for some good time killers & they may end up with a prize at the end of the program. We like to go for walks thru our lil downtown area and hang out by the river front, but that only kills an hour or so. Have you taken them to a farmers market? Even if you don't buy anything you can still show them the different produce they have over the grocery store as well as people watch. Sometimes local historical societies have things to do around the area. Have you asked for ideas on a board for your local area? Could your oldest volunteer somewhere w/ your permission of course to help out at a nursing home or shelter or ???? My kids love just having the sprinkler on in the yard as a nice lil time killer. A McDonalds playland if you have one by you is nice for your lil ones and if anything just buy a soda or a .49 ice cream cone. Botanical gardens in your area, sometimes they have a cheap or free day if you live in the area. Same with public museums. Church festivals. County fairs, but pack a lunch or whatever so all you have to worry about is paying an entry fee to the fair. Fishing, you only need a license for you & hubby (or atleast in our state) & of course a small investment in some decent poles and all you have to worry about is gas money to get there & bait money. Or make the kids dig up worms for an activity ;0) Go on a ride to where you grew up or hubby and point out places of interest like where you went to school, places you've lived, your first job ect.
• United States
1 Jul 09
The farmers market is boring as all get out for my kids, we do it every Saturday morning. I can't put a sprinkler in my yard for many reasons. McDonald's playland is a winter activity for my family as it is indoors and it's nice enough now to be outdoors. I'm looking for daily family activities which we could do any day of the week when I can't find anything better... church festivals and other such things are great, but I can't just go do that at the drop of a hat, you know? Plus I really need something active cause my kids are all hyper!! Go on a ride to where you grew up or hubby and point out places of interest like where you went to school, places you've lived, your first job ect We still live in the town we were raised in!
@MegDM123 (145)
• United States
6 Jul 09
Have you tried any of the suggestions given to you? If so, I would love to know how they worked out for you and your family...
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
3 Jul 09
It is hard enough to entertain 1 child much less keep 5 occupied and from being bored. If they like arts and crafts maybe searching for a few arts and crafts projects they might like to do? What about make paper mache stuff they can even make a pinata. but that takes days to make. Here is a few links that might be of some help. http://www.cleverdude.com/content/summer-fun-guide-frugal-fun-ideas-for-kids-of-all-ages/ http://frugaldad.com/2009/05/25/fun-summer-activities-for-kids/ http://www.frugalupstate.com/2009/06/frugal-summer-fun-for-kids-part-i.html http://www.frugalvillage.net/2009/05/02/inexpensive-summer-fun-for-kids/ http://www.blogtalkradio.com/FrugalCoast2Coast/2009/06/23/Frugal-Summer-Fun http://beingfrugal.net/2009/05/21/10-frugal-summer-fun-ideas/
• United States
3 Jul 09
I have a few suggestions to offer, and they may or may not work for you. I did try, them out, and they worked with my grandkids, who are very active. One. Try the boys and girls club. They have all kinds of activities for kids. Two. Take a small area of your yard, and teach them about gardening. Kids actually do like getting involved with things that grown ups are doing. Three. Let them do artwork. Give them paper, pens, pencils, small scissors, and let them start constructing their own little books. If you help out, you may even get their books published..that is possible. There is a man on the internet right now, that is publishing his kids books on a pretty regular basis. I think he is making a fairly nice income from those books too. Four. Learn a new craft, and teach the kids too. Kids like getting involved in things, even the very young ones.
• Philippines
2 Jul 09
Your kids experience a lot of things that's why they easily get bored.
2 Jul 09
ill pack my bags and drive city to city ...coast to coast.
2 Jul 09
ill pack my bags and drive from city to city and coast to coast, enoy every fresh summer air out there
@ZephyrSun (7385)
• United States
2 Jul 09
We normally go to the library and get books and movies to watch and spend some time there, ours has summer programs for smaller children. My children are not as young as yours are so I'm not sure how that would go with them. We have also gone to the museum it's free. It's really hard to find inexpensive things to do in the summer time when one has small children.
@lingli_78 (12844)
• Australia
1 Jul 09
ehmmm... this is really tricky... have you try playing sports with them like soccer, badminton or basketball to keep them moving and active??? or bring them to the local library... that's what i do... they can borrow some books or DVDs and bring them home to read and watch them... that should occupy their time... or what is their hobby??? try to develop it from there... good luck... take care and have a nice day...
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
1 Jul 09
reading group things at the library? or any other free things for kids to do? I know a lot of places have free coloring and puppet shows and that sort of stuff...