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Summer Bucket List on a Budget

Updated on February 16, 2013


If your like many parents I know you can't wait for the kids to get out of school. That is until about 4 days after they've been home everyday. It's not that you don't want them there. You love them dearly and know that your time with them will fly by entirely to fast. It's just that kids have a VERY short attention span. As a mother of a 3 year old, 8 year old and 13 year old (pictured w/there mommom) I can tell you that no matter what age THAT IS THE CASE! Yes, I can let my older boys sit in front of the XBOX or laptop and let the 3 year old play Angry Birds and for some reason these magic little machines would keep them occupied for hours but that is definitely not my idea of a good time and I will not let them! Why? Because I'm Mean, just ask them. LOL

So as soon as I make them unplug their brains from electronic devices the first thing they do is head for the fridge, which is fine. Yes I let them eat. Then they may go outside and play. Let's give that 20 mins. Maybe less if they decide to argue about something. Then it's on to MOM we don't have anything to do. Mom I'm bored. BLAH BLAH BLAH

So what to do?

What to do, What to do?

Well there's always the Summer Camp option. Although like many this is not an option for us. Number one it's pretty expensive, especially if you have more then one child. Another problem with this solution is that it doesn't allow me to spend time with the kids. My older boys did spend a couple weeks in MD visiting their mommom so that was PLENTY of time away from mom.

There are also plenty of other options: vacations, amusement parks, carnivals and fairs to name a few. These won't work for us either. We just bought a house and moved from MD to FL so money is a little tight for much of that kind of fun.

SO, this year we have decided to make a Summer Bucket List of low cost activities we would like to do this summer. This way we will already have activities planned or even some that we can do at the last minute for those, "I'm Bored" moments. We are hoping to get most if not all of our bucket list completed and also will add to it as we think of new things we want to do.

Wooter's Family Summer Bucket List 2012

Here's our list. Keep reading to find out more about each activity and see what we have been doing!

  1. Attend VBS (Vacation Bible School).
  2. Go to the library.
  3. Do something for others.
  4. Go to the beach.
  5. Go fishing.
  6. Attend Community Events.
  7. Make new friends.
  8. Go Bowling.
  9. Go to the Movies.

Great Stuff on Amazon

Photo by Betsy Wooters
Photo by Betsy Wooters

Attend Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible school is a GREAT free activity during the summer. There are many to choose from and you don't have to attend the church to attend their VBS. Some churches use the same themes but usually there are at least a few different ones so if your kiddos really enjoy VBS they can attend more then one. You can find VBS that have morning hours, afternoon hours or evening hours. Some of them even offer meals to the kids while they attend. Most Bible Schools are only a few hours so you can drop the kids off and run errands or you can volunteer to help at VBS. This way you can spend more time with the kids and help with a great program.

Go To the Library

Just because the kids are out of school does not mean they should not be doing things to improve their knowledge and keep their skills up to par. The library is a great place for keeping the kids on tune academically. We are very excited about now only living a few minutes from a library! One of the first things we did after moving into our new home was get library cards.

If your library is like ours they have lots of Summer activity for the kids. Our library offers story time for my 3 year old, and activity nights for my two older boys. They even have a raffle for a bicycle that the kids can enter to win for summer reading. Even if your library doesn't offer any summer activities, I can guarantee it is full of books on almost any topic your children would like to adventure into.

If you don't live near a library check to see if they have a Book Mobile. Often libraries will have these traveling vans in more rural areas that come one or twice a week. The selection is smaller then the actual library but you can request books and the staff will try to put it on the van for you.

Do Something for Others

The possibilities for this one are endless!! There are so many organization, community projects and individuals that would love to have your help! You can do something huge like start a community garden or something as small as opening a door for someone. We are hoping to do many things for many people!

One of the big projects we have decided on is to send stuffed thermal totes to deployed soldiers. We are holding a raffle to raise money for the thermals, items to go in the bags and shipping. I coupon and plan to get most of the things we will be stuffing in the thermals for free or very cheap. Our goal is to send at least 40 totes.

Photo Taken By Betsy Wooters
Photo Taken By Betsy Wooters

Go to the Beach

Considering we moved to FL this one is kind of a given. LOL I'm not talking about a tourist trap boardwalk where you spend money on arcades, food, rides and JUNK! There are plenty of small beaches perfect for a family day out. Pack a cooler and head out for a day of sand and sun!

We have already had our first beach trip of the summer. We headed to the Fort Island Trail Beach in Crystal River, FL. After Tropical Storm Debbie came through we were ready for a day out!! Luckily the beach weathered the storm just fine. We saw a couple dolphins and the pelicans and other birds were all around. Wesley found a snail hiding in the tall grass and Shawn caught a blue crab and also found a hermit crab! All of the kids loved swimming in the water and mommy got to relax in the sand reading a book.

***REMINDER*** Don't forget to pack sunblock!! OUCH!!

Go Fishing

Fishing is one of my boys favorite things to do. They love fishing off poppop's dock, at the pier, on a boat. As long as they are fishing it doesn't matter where! This was the first thing my 3 year old said he wanted to do when I asked what things they would like to do this summer. Fishing can get pricey but if you stick to the basics and add a little each year it's definitely a budget friendly family activity. My boys love catching the bait as much as the fish! They dig for worms and use there dip nets to catch minnows and other small fish.

Photo Taken By Betsy Wooters
Photo Taken By Betsy Wooters

Attend Community Events

Don't forget to check your community calenders. Many towns offer free and inexpensive events. Some of the events are recurring such as Music in the Park and others are one time affairs such as 4th of July celebrations.

While my older boys were in MD, Lucas and I attended a community event in a neighboring town. The Dunnellon Summer Kick off was an AWESOME event. Everything was completely free including the food! Lucas enjoyed sitting on the Police boat, getting on the coal train, spraying the fire hose and playing in the bounce house. It was a hot day but the watermelon and ice pops were great for that!

We can't wait to see what other community events we find this summer!

Make New Friends

This one is especially important for our family this year because we just moved to a new town. When moving the hardest adjustment is leaving behind your friends and/or family. Making new friends can help make this challenge a little easier. Some great places to meet new friends are the park, community events, play groups, or the community pool.

Luckily we have already made a lot of new friends but look forward to making even more! One of our favorite places to spend time with new friends is at the Puddle in the Park at Whispering Pines Park. Everyone can keep cool in the water or sit in the shade and chat.

Find it Here

Here's a list of many of the programs mentioned. I hope that you enjoy them and they benefit your family!

Go Bowling!

We all know bowling can get pretty prices but in case you haven't heard, kids can bowl free all summer long! The kids bowl free program allows kids to bowl 2 games a day for the whole summer. You can even add a family pack for only $25 which allows 4 adults to bowl 2 games a day also. With the program you do have to pay for shoe rental. If you live very close to participating alley and plan to go a lot I suggest buying a pair of bowling shows.

Another budget friendly option for bowling are specials. Check your local bowling alley to see what specials they offer. Some do cheaper games during certain days or times and others do special events like vertiglow where you can pay one price for a whole lane which holds 6 people!

Luke at the $1 Movies
Luke at the $1 Movies

Go to the Movies

The movies is another one of those sources of entertainment that can get a little expensive especially when you have more then one child. Luckily, there are also summer movie programs. These movies are usually held in the morning and cost only $1 per ticket! They are not new releases but if your kids are like mine just going to the movies is fun, no matter what they are seeing and whether they have seen it already or not.

Another way to save money on movies is to join your local theaters rewards program. Some theaters reward you for being loyal customers by giving free concession or tickets after a certain amount of visits or dollars spent. The theater we lived near in MD gave you free admission on your birthday so you also want to see what specials your theater may offer!

I recently found out that there is a drive in theater a couple towns over from our new house. Even though it's a little more expensive then the $1 movies, it features new releases and you get to see two movies for the price of one. Making this a great budget option, not to mention the experience. I am 32 years old and have never been to a drive in. I can't wait to share the first experience with my boys!!


All Photos used in this lens were taken by Betsy Wooters

Whats on Your Summer Bucket List? - We are always looking for more ideas!

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    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 5 years ago

      These are great tips.

    • CraftaholicVete profile image

      CraftaholicVete 5 years ago

      Great ideas, good lens sometimes the free stuff is better than spending tons of money.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      Great ideas! Blessed and liked.

    • OliviaDaughter LM profile image

      OliviaDaughter LM 5 years ago

      Great options. Summer can be so much fun and it can be done within a budget.

    • betsy-wooters profile image

      betsy-wooters 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Mom I'm brainstorming on the book. lol They take a little more writing.

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 5 years ago

      These are wonderful ideas. Glad you included VBS! It's always fun for the right reasons.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great Job! Now where is that book? :-)

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      Good job! These are great ideas!!!