Frugal Summer Fun for Kids
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Frugal Summer Fun for Kids

Posted on Friday, May 31st, 2013 at 7:00 am
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Summer vacation is coming up fast. Unfortunately, most parents do not have the type of jobs that come with a long summer vacation. Looking for some frugal summer fun for your kids to participate in while you are working? Try some of these ideas!

Boys and Girls Club of America
This club is open to both boys and girls who are in elementary school, middle school, or high school (often in separate locations that are divided by age group). Most of the Clubs are open from 7:00 in the morning through 7:00 at night. The after school program is $20.00 per year. Summer programs may have a different fee.

Boys and Girls Clubs offer activities that are educational, that involve the arts, that allow kids the opportunity to participate in sports, and that teach health and life skills. During the summer, there is the potential that your local Boys and Girls Club will take kids on field trips to the public pool, museums, parks, and perhaps even movie theaters. Use their website to find a Boys and Girls Club location that is near where you live.

YMCA
There is a child care program program at the YMCA that accepts infants through preschoolers. There are full-day and partial-day options. It was designed for parents who needed a safe, stimulating, environment for their young child to be in while the parent is working.

The Y also has a “Swim, Sports & Play” program for the summer. It includes swim lessons, youth sports (soccer, baseball, basketball and many more), competitive youth sports, and teen recreation centers. I suggest you contact your local YMCA to learn more about cost of enrollment, the times it will be open, and whether or not their programs require parents to attend along with their children.

Summer Church Programs
The church your family attends might offer a summer program for children. It might be called “Vacation Bible School”, or “Summer Sessions”, or another name. Typically, these programs offer kids a safe place to be while their parents are at work and fun activities to participate in. The advantage to these programs is that they are often inexpensive, and they will match your family’s religious beliefs. The disadvantage, in some cases, could be that they are not open for as many hours of the day as you need them to be. Call ahead to find out more details.

Day Care
Did you know that many day care centers offer a special summer program for kids who are in kindergarten through 5th grade? Often, these programs include field trips to local pools, parks, and other points of interest. Some will bring kids to museums and zoos (located in the nearest city). The advantage to these programs is that they tend to open early in the morning and close around dinner time. The disadvantage is that some of them can be expensive.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.