Cool Ideas

Plan Your Kids' Summer Staycation

With the kids out of school for summer, you're going to need to get ultra-creative to keep them occupied until school is back in session. And while summer camps are great way to keep them supervised and stimulated, many come with a big price tag. So if you're looking for budget-friendly activities and recreation, try your hand with a few of these inexpensive—and even free—ideas.

Plan Your Kids' Summer Staycation
  1. Check your community calendar: Most communities have a Web site, with an entire section dedicated to events. This is a great resource for parents to find community-sponsored events (which often equals free or inexpensive). From story time at the library to fairs and dollar movies, this should be bookmarked as your go-to source for activities.
  2. Skip the admission fee: If you do a little research, we're willing to bet there are plenty of attractions in your area that offer free admission. In fact, most parks are free, and come with built-in entertainment like basketball courts, baseball diamonds, swings, and more. Additionally, many museums or swimming pools offer summer admission specials, where kids get in free or for a discount on certain days. Just make sure there is appropriate supervision if you are unable to accompany your children. And if it's a water activity, make sure there is a lifeguard will be on duty and that your kids are properly trained to swim.
  3. Make a sale: Go back to the basics and have your kids plan and carry out a lemonade stand. Not only will this teach them to earn their own money, but it will kill some time as they prepare for the big day. And if your kids aren't thrilled about selling lemonade, try baked goods or even crafts, where they can apply skills that interest them.
  4. Plan a game day: Turn your home into a fun zone! Start with a water balloon toss outside, then allow the kids to run through the sprinklers (and water your plants at the same time). Take the fun inside and play some board games—or if you're really feeling brave, allow the kids to make an indoor fort with couch cushions and bed sheets.
  5. Volunteer their time: You might be surprised to find out that many charities welcome junior volunteers. Call around and sign your kids up. This might be met with an initial groan or lackluster reaction, but more than likely they will grow to find the experience rewarding and fun.