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How to spend little during the summer

Updated on June 15, 2011

My kids and I have the summer off...

Some will end up taking the kids to the mall, or amusement parks or out to the movies, or go shopping. How can we spend at least a few of the weeks through the summer spending little or no money at all? This hub will try to answer this.

Create the Calendar

Create a calendar for the one or two weeks you want to try to spend as little as possible. On each day write down activities that you and your kids could do. It could be the same thing every day in the morning, or different things mornings and the same thing every afternoon and so on. Let the kids make some of the decisions as to what gets done on each day and what activities they are to choose from.

Examples of Free Activities

The activities could include things like

  • board games - invite some of your kids' friends over and have a games day where they play board games for the whole day, moving from one game to the next
  • going for a walk - pack a pick nick and take a walk leaving right from your front door, bring water and take some breaks.
  • a bike ride - pack a pick nick and use Google Maps to plan a route using the nifty bicycle feature, if possible find a destination that is a park the kids can play in
  • visiting friends - if your kids have friends that are not too far, walk, drive or bike them over to their friend's house for the day, or whatever amount of time the other parents would agree to
  • going to the library - while this doesn't sound all that exciting for some kids, often libraries have activities in the summer that are specifically for kids so find out from the library when they have those activities and then bring the kids on those days
  • borrowing movies from a friend or from the library and having movie nights - maybe you have some friends that have some kid-appropriate movies you can borrow, maybe the library has some that you can borrow. This is an inexpensive way to have a movie night. Even if you rent a movie the cost is very low.
  • doing crafts with any craft material you have on hand - from a simple coloring book with crayons all the way up to scrap booking and building robots out of cardboard. Let the kids go with their imagination and just a bit of guidance.
  • building forts inside the house - my kids love to take the sheets, chairs, pillows and so on to build a fort in the basement, this can be hours of fun once they get the flash lights out.
  • building obstacle courses outside of the house - not everyone is equipped to do this, however, for those who are it can be as simple as using some rope on the ground to define a path that a runner is supposed to follow, get two sticks and separate them so that the runner has to jump over them, and use a stop watch to time the runner. See who can run the fastest, and then see who can improve their time over multiple runs.


I'm sure there are other activities that can be used that require little in terms of money to be spent. Ask the kids themselves, they may have some ideas of their own.


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    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      We replaced all three of our toilets recently which gave us three enormous boxes that the kids played in for literally weeks on end. Sometimes the inexpensive solutions are so much better than the costly ones. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Great ideas here! We build lots of forts at our house as well, it's always a big mess, but it's worth keeping them busy for hours :)

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Indeed, getting away from any 'screen time' is a good thing. Thanks for stopping by!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Great alternatives for kids, especially since it gets them away from the computer. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      I am very happy to share, and I hope that at least some of the families who happen to visit this hub put it to good use.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 6 years ago from Thailand

      Great hub and very useful advice for families ... especially struggling families or those trying hard to save!

      Cheers for sharing

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks Angie - monitoring the Questions being asked can really help out in hub ideas. This was one of them.

    • angie ashbourne profile image

      angie ashbourne 6 years ago

      Hi! Phil Good Hub! Good advice for the summer. Angie

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks amur, I remember doing one as a kid in the unfinished basement I grew up in. It was so much fun for me back then that I couldn't resist feeding this idea to my own kids.

    • amurbach profile image

      amurbach 6 years ago from Arizona

      Personally, my kids love to build forts and they can spend hours doing it. Never thought about the obstacle course idea but I love it!

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 6 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      Great Hub and some good advice how to spend time with your kids and keep them interested. Thank you.