Family Ties


Summer is a perfect time to reconnect with your family.  Now that your children are out of school, you may be looking for inexpensive ways to spend time together.  Here are some suggestions from blogger Kelly Whalen of the Centsible Life.

  1. Take in a free or cheap movie. Some movie chains and local theaters offer $1 or free movies for kids.
  2. Go swimming: Might be free or cheap depending on your location. Our pool is included in our gym membership which isn’t cheap, but it’s already paid for so we may as well use it to full advantage!
  3. Play board games:  I let each kid have a turn picking to avoid competition tears.
  4. Go bowling:  Several chains are offering kids bowling programs where kids bowl free (adults pay and you pay for shoe rental and concessions).
  5. Head to Ikea. Have a local Ikea, head over and take a break in the cool air, drop the little ones (who are potty trained) off at Smalland and indulge in some AC, dreaming, overspending on little things (those $3 items add up fast!), and $1 ice cream cones.
  6. Library Fun: Go to the library for the free AC, wifi (in some cases), and plethora of books. Many libraries also offer free classes, camps, and story times. For older kids there may be science or chess among other things. Most libraries offer summer reading programs as an incentive for readers of all ages.
  7. Starbucks: For the cost of a cup of coffee and a treat for the kids I can buy an hour or so of internet browsing, AC, and they can read Marvel comics on the iPad.
  8. Dollar Store Finds: Give each child a dollar and head to the dollar store or Target’s Dollar spot. Everyone will find something fun to bring home and you won’t be out a ton of dough.
  9. Park Time: Head to your local parks for some outdoor fun. Look for shady parks, parks near a creek, or even a spray park (with water features to cool off). Many of our local parks host community days, and events during July-there must have been a dozen places to watch fireworks spread out over the last 10 days.
  10. Backyard Cool off: Set up a baby pool or slip and slide in the shade, and sip on icy cold lemonade, homemade popsicles and chilled summer fruits like berries. You can even set up a picnic in the shade or a backyard camping experience.
  11. Hibernate: During the cooler parts of the day spend some time outside, and use the middle of the day (from 10-4) to stay indoors and nap, color, have a little screen time and play games.
  12. Great Build: One of our favorite ways to entertain the kids is to get out all their Legos, lincoln logs, playmobil or similar toys and have a giant build-a-thon. The only rule is you have to use everything.
  13. Free Museum Days: Many museums offer free or discounted days throughout the summer for members of groups, banks, or the general public. Consider visiting a museum that has a reciprocal membership as well for free entry.
  14. Hardware Store:  Kids of a certain age love the hardware store. Some little ones around 3 or 4 are always fans of power tools, the tractors and the ceiling fans are quite entertaining for toddlers. My kids love to ride in the truck cart at Lowe’s, admire the plants and pick out paint samples.

What are you and your family doing this summer? Tell us in the comments below!