Summer vacation simplified - what can I plan for my kids that is inexpensive and fun? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 04-29-2013, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Summer vacation will be here before we know it.  What are some fun and inexpensive things that you plan on doing? Or have done? 

~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister

Livin' in the sticks with my chicks chicken3.gif and lovin' it!

2014:  4/52 projects  0/2014 things 0/52 books

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#2 of 12 Old 04-29-2013, 04:21 PM
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 We've done the second, but doing a search, I found the first ,


If you have a Cinemark Theater


Our locallibraries do a ton of free things as well.  There are story tellers in differrent parks, puppet shows, etc.

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#3 of 12 Old 04-29-2013, 05:30 PM
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This summer we plan to bike a section of a trail that goes along a canal (70miles+); we will do 10-20 miles. We can get on the trail from our city and then bike to a campground, tent for the night and return (hopefully I'.m not being too ambitious with a 10 yr old and a 3 year old in a trailer. And the dog. It sounds tougher when I write it out.


We do the local parks & rec swim lessons - 10 bucks for two weeks, lesson every day.

We do the local pool free swim. Bike there, swim, bike home.  We just take our time about and make the journey part of it.


We plant some flower seeds and vegetable seeds and watch them grow, eat them.


A camping trip with some friends or family or both.

Rope climbing course (planning for this summer)

A day trip (several times) to a Great Lake with a sandy beach - almost like the ocean.

Breakfast al fresco (at home)

BBQ w/ friends.

Hike in the nearby parks.

Visit grandparents and relatives.


Some parks & rec summer camps.


We do the free matinee regal movies (which is now a dollar).


Kayak, canoe.


Bike in the evening, to an ice cream store.


Local festivals.


I look for some local neat things w/in a few hours and make day trips -we've done caves, museums in near by towns, boat tour through the thousand islands w/ a castle, rent kayaks, (we have done one a year in the spring / summer), or a weekend trip to a bigger city  (5 hours away).

Sara - Mum to C (10/02) ; m/c 10/07; 7/08; 3/09; Lucy Olive Feb 28, 2010 !
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#4 of 12 Old 04-29-2013, 06:41 PM
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I've just started my list. First, I have my kids make goals of what they would like to do individually and as a family. So my ds wants to read 100 books and as a family we are planning to bike 50 miles. Not sure what else yet for our goals.


I bought a pass to the pool, which is actually 3 area pools and we will rotate going 4-5x a week. Its expensive up front but we get our money worth! Always know the lifeguards by name at the end of the summer! Sometimes we will hit the play ground before to get hot first! We pack snacks and lunch. We have several families that are friends going to the same pools so it is always fun for the kids. I put all of the dollar movie schedules in our calendar so we can go to one if we want. Oh, the local creek for catch and release tadpoles/crayfish.


I've got a pinterest board of crafts, games, science experiments, etc that I will be drawing from

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#5 of 12 Old 04-29-2013, 07:04 PM
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We spend our summers gardening, hiking, and hitting the beach when it's scorching hot.  We don't have A/C but we live 3miles from the beach so we are there nearly daily for at least an hour or two.  We hit the library on a weekly basis for the free craft/coloring pages and some time reading in the A/C.  We go to the Farmer's Market every Friday for our produce for the week and to listen/participate in the drum circle.  I have one going to Girl Scout camp for a week this summer.  We also have a zoo membership and a membership to the marine biology center that's within walking distance of our house this year too, which will be nice.  


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#6 of 12 Old 04-29-2013, 07:31 PM
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Ah, yes the library - our library runs a reading program for the kids. My son always joins. Each week they report and discuss their book and they are given a little trinket and free tickets to a semi pro (B level?) baseball game.

Sara - Mum to C (10/02) ; m/c 10/07; 7/08; 3/09; Lucy Olive Feb 28, 2010 !
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#7 of 12 Old 05-01-2013, 11:13 AM
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Free concerts!  Our city has multiple sites that have free music in the evening just about every day of the work week, it's one of our favorite summer activities.  Depending on the location, we either bring a picnic or we splurge on some local restaurant food that comes to the concert.

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#8 of 12 Old 05-02-2013, 08:52 AM
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Camping in the backyard is the coolest!


Also, our library offers a "cultural pass" - free admission to several local activities - children's museum, Japanese gardens, I don't remember what all else. We are big on museums in my family, and always have annual passes. And the museums are air conditioned! A picnic almost anywhere is more fun than eating the same food at home.


If you have any yard space at all, it might not be too late to plant a bean teepee - I used scarlet runner beans one year and it was pretty cool.

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#9 of 12 Old 05-31-2013, 03:33 PM
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A good vacation time is often seen as an expensive adventure, where you could apply a unique and interesting approach by inviting your kids into an adventure that will not cause great damage to your summer budget, while giving plenty of room for some memorable time together. Why not to take the full advantage of the smartphone cameras (free gadget!) by introducing your kids to the wonderful world of photography and offering them a location scouting challenge that will teach the beauty of composition, attention to detail and seeing your local area from different angles? An additionall motive for the bonding together through a the simple photo snapping with a specific goal in mind could be an offered idea to select the favorite images and use them to create customised postcards? Sites like print24 have easy to-do features that ship anything overnight, and you could use he selection of postcards to send hand-written regards to relatives and friends far away. A gesture of hand-written card would be much appreciated in the days of social network interactions taking over our time, so maybe your kids are interested in building a small, family related project that involves local area, a cellphone, some creativity and a surprise to be caused? 

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#10 of 12 Old 05-31-2013, 03:41 PM
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We actually took very few vacations when my daughter was young. Instead, we saved and have now been able to send her (and us also) on frequent trips abroad.


At the time it did seem a little like deprivation, but once she was in college and had many wonderful travel experiences, we all look back on the childhood years and feel that the "staycation" was not only easy and fun but was a small price to pay for the experiences we are all having now.

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#11 of 12 Old 05-31-2013, 08:24 PM
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Today I let my children stomp in mud puddles, they rode their bikes, played with hula hoops, looked for turtles, and picked flowers. Mine are 2 and 4 and can find so much fun right in their own backyards. I plan to add water balloons and guns to the fun soon enough, as we live in an apartment so pool/sprinkler is out. We have a city museum membership that expires in August. It was actually something my inlaws bought but passed on to us when they moved. Our city museum is crazy and interactive so we will defenitely go a couple times. There is a splash park next town over that is completely free. Add that with playing at the park and a picnic and the whole day is set! Apparently lots of these water features are becoming available so see if your town has anything like it. I really would like a night away though. My sister heard of a family that rents a cabin on some land of theirs, with paddle boat rental and bbq pits, for seventy dollars a night. I might try to swing a night away doing that if I can. It's not far so gas wouldn't be an issue, and the cabin has utilities so we can bring food from home and enjoy.
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#12 of 12 Old 06-02-2013, 10:09 PM
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Check out to sign up for free bowling this summer.

One of my favorite summer activities is breakfast at the park. My mom did this with me as a kid and I have continued the tradition with my own kids. You beat the heat and the park is empty.

Kate~ Mama to two.
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Frugality , Simplicity , Simplifying , Activities , Activities And Play

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