summer kids fun activities

Kids Summer Activities on the Cheap!

School’s out for the summer! What does that mean? Kids summer activities, summer vacation and fun times are about to be had all around! But having the kids at home also means your A/C is on blast. Here are some fun ways to beat the heat and save money! (Guest Post from mom-blogger Real Talk with Amy )

How Expensive is Summer Electricity Use?

The boring but necessary part of this article.  (Don’t worry though, good stuff below.)

Heating and cooling your home accounts for 50% or more of your electricity bill.

When school is out and everyone is home for the summer, the A/C gets turned on full blast day and night. And would you please, for the 15th time, shut the refrigerator door. Nothing good magically appeared since the last time you opened it.

It doesn’t have to be this way though. What if I told you that you could lessen the burden on your air conditioner while giving your kids summer activities that offer screen-free fun?

Here are 5 kids summer activities to beat the heat and keep more money in your pocket!

kids summer activities on the couch with their electronics
This is NOT how kids should spend their summer.

1. Stay Cool in the Pool

What better way to lower those body temps (and your electric bill!) than to soak up all that glorious vitamin D?

Fun in the sun is where it’s at! Fill up a kiddie pool in the backyard and pretend you are at the beach!

Even better….if your locale offers a free splash pad, soak it up and enjoy the cool all summer long.

Disclaimer: Be safe in the sun guys. Really. Wear sunscreen, limit your exposure, all that jazz. Soak up those rays, but be smart and use common sense.

2. Go to the Library

What’s not to love about the library? It’s air-conditioned, full of great books, and best of all….it’s FREE! Did you hear me!? Free y’all!

When the weather heats up, so does the library’s good time game! This is also when summer reading programs start! These often come with fun charts to track your kiddo’s reading and cool prizes when they’ve met their reading goals. Our library even offers a competition for us “big kids” (at heart, at least!) who don’t even need an excuse to crack open a sizzlin’ summer read!

We like to kick-start the kids summer activities by going to the summer reading program sign-up where they often have arts and crafts, snacks and treats, and goody bags to take home. While there we pick up an events calendar packed to the brim with fun activities to keep us busy all season long!

Your local library also may have day-passes to museums and kids activities. Nothing like a day using someone else’s entry pass, and someone else’s air conditioning.

kids cheap activities - summer library program
Summer reading programs. Great cheap summer activity + learning + no screen time = bonus.

3. Kick it Old School

Ok, let’s flip the script. Now, we’re going to embrace the heat!

Think about life in the ’70s. “Back in the day” when parents turned their kids outside and said, “See ya when the street lights come on!” and kids were free to get their adventure on all day long.

It’s a thing. For real. Kids used to have a little something called freedom.

Let’s not go loco here. I’m not actually saying to turn your kids loose and kick back on the couch eating bonbons. (Are those really a thing!? I’ve never actually seen a bonbon.) Plus, we moms know that kicking back on the couch isn’t really a “thing” when you’ve got little ones running you ragged all day. But…a little bit of outdoor play never hurt anyone.

Your kids will LOVE having some unstructured time outdoors to just be kids. To play. To pretend. To concoct crazy stories and live in an imaginary world for even just a short while.

Won’t cost a dime, but the memories they’ll make? Priceless.

Editorial note: Live in Houston and looking for a Houston summer camp for kids? Startup website CAMPPedia has listings for summer camps for everything from robotics to ballet to cooking, to just good old fashioned camp. Summer camp is available in all price points. (And for those that live elsewhere, check the site and vote for where they should go next!)

4. Backyard Bonfire takes the Blue Ribbon

When you think of bonfires, what comes to mind?

For me, it’s relaxation…friendship…smiles…and s’mores. Why do we save bonfires for special occasions? Why not make it a summer tradition?

Now, I get that there are a few caveats here. If you’ve got toddlers, or local ordinances that keep you from starting a fire in your backyard, you may not be hip to this tip.

The rest of you… invite some friends over and break out the guitar to crank out some campfire tunes. Enjoy those breezy summer nights.

The gist of what I’m saying is this. Air conditioning is expensive y’all. It is. The more time you spend out of the house, the less time you’ve got to keep it ice cube cold.

Which leads me to the last (and most exciting!) tidbit I’d like to share.

5. Did someone say…road trip?!?!?

When you employ these energy and money-saving tips to save on your A/C bill, you’re going to come away with some cash burning a hole in your pocket.

Let’s reward our inexpensive kids summer activities with some hard-earned road-trippin’ fun!

A few quick tips to save money on your end-of-season excursion:

  • Pack a cooler and plan on picnic lunches. Bonus: the kids can get some good play time in before you get back on the road, hopefully wearing them out enough to nap for the next leg of the trip!
  • Use an app like GasBuddy to find the best gas prices, wherever you may be.
  • If you plan on staying in hotels, make sure you sign up with the hotel chain’s reward program. This is an easy way to save as much as 15% on your hotel bill and work towards earning free nights in the future!
  • For screen-free entertainment for the kiddos, check out the Libby app to snag some free audiobooks from your local library! This is a way to keep kids engaged and not bickering or asking, “When will we be there!?” a hundred times. Save your sanity and find a story the whole family can enjoy!

Get out. Explore. Make memories.

There we have it, guys.

Summer doesn’t have to be a bummer. It can be funner….ok, not sure if that’s a word, but apparently my rhyming game is weak. Moving on.

You can have a good time without draining your bank account OR making your A/C want to keel over from exhaustion.

Moms, these moments we have with our kids are fleeting. Make the time you get this summer count! Your wallet (and your kids) will thank you!

 

About our Guest Author: Amy Thetford is a writer, mom of four, homeschooler, and Pinterest-wanna be. Her blog RealTalkWithAmy offers practical tips, step-by-step tutorials, and words of wisdom to empower overwhelmed overworked moms to make the most of their time, energy, and budget so that they and their families can design the life of their dreams.