By Marla Bautista

In my family, budget friendly summer activities are a must!  In this article, I will show you how to have a blast this summer, while saving a few bucks!

Fun at Home!

There are plenty of budget friendly activities you can do at home.  My favorite is a backyard playdate.  A few of the neighborhood moms pitch in for food and activities.  Paint with a twist (kids’ version!), is always a hit! You’ll need egg cartons, water color paints, paint brushes and a few large sheets of paper or card board. I usually use four different paint colors.  I tape the paper to the fence in the backyard.  The kids can paint a masterpiece while running wild in the backyard!  For snacks, I like to make kid friendly finger foods.  We make peanut butter and jelly triangles (PB & J on a tortilla, cut into a triangle shape) and turkey pinwheels.  We also make punch with sparkling water and fruit juice popsicles.

Fun Outside the Home!

Free and cheap outdoor activities are everywhere!  It just takes a little research to find out what’s happening in your area.  City, county, and other local government websites are always my first go to for free or cheap events.  The sites usually have a calendar of events.  This is where I find local festivals, free library events, and lots of other fun things to do on a budget. Local Facebook pages and Google can be your best friend when it comes to finding out when and where events are happening. 

When we do go on day trips, I like to prepare for most situations. If you don’t already have a first aid kit in your vehicle, it is pertinent and will save you lots of time and money.  I also keep bug spray, sun screen, Kleenex, and wipes in my car. If the trip is over an hour away by car, I pack some extra clothing for the kids in case of spills or accidents. I also like to prepare snacks at home for the trip. If the trip consists of outdoor exploring, I usually take a cooler and make sack lunches for everyone.

Impromptu Indoor Activities!

Sometimes the weather doesn’t want to play nice. Having an indoor option is always a good idea during the summer!  One option is a tent city movie!  We just set up the kids' tents, pop some popcorn, add a few gummy worms, fill up their favorite water bottle and we are good to go! If you don’t have tents, no problem! Just grab a couple of bedsheets, two dining chairs and voilà, you have a tent!

Another great indoor activity is a scavenger hunt. Use a sheet of paper and either write clues or (if the kids aren’t able to read), draw a map. I make about four points or stops on the map.  Depending on how much time you want to spend on the scavenger hunt, you can make more points of interest on the map.

Summer Food!

Barbecues are a great way to enjoy summer and the delicious meals that can be made outdoors! My kids are picky eaters, but they love to eat kabobs!  So naturally, I put everything they won’t eat on a kabob.  In the summer, we have vegetable kabobs (raw and cooked), we eat fruit kabobs and meat kabobs. I have also made PB & J kabobs, just because it works! We do lots of homemade popsicles, snow cones and smoothies in the summer.  This is a great way for the kids to keep cool and while consuming a well-balanced diet. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and you’ve received a few good tips for summer fun that will keep the kids and your wallet happy!

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Marla Bautista is an Army spouse and mother of three currently living in New York. Bautista has been writing creatively her entire life and recently released  her first book, My Thoughts Abandoned.  She has an associate's degree from The University of Maryland University College and is currently working on her bachelor's in communications. She loves to volunteer in her free time and advocate for those in need.  She is also an avid couponer and hopefully one day, a millionaire because of her frugal lifestyle!           

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