The summer season is here and along with it comes summer vacation for the school-aged
kids. Moms are now responsible for coming up with the ideas and curriculum for their
children and I am the first to admit that by the summer my creative juices have
just about run out. How can you make summer another time of fun and enjoyment rather
than boredom? And just how do you do this on a budget? There are lots of great things
that you can do this summer and
ways to keep organized when doing it. Here are a
few of MomAdvice’s suggestions for summer survival:
Rather than taking one long vacation in the summer, break your vacations into smaller
and more affordable activities. Some suggestions are hitting area zoos, amusement
parks, local festivals, and museums. By taking smaller vacations, you have a few
things to look forward to rather than just one event. Check out some books from
your local library on activities that you can do within your own state and then
research on how to get the best price. Talk about your vacation plans with friends
and see if they know of any places that are cheap to stay at or where you can get
coupons for money off of tickets. Ask your library as well if they offer any season
passes that you can take advantage of. One of our local libraries had a pass to
the art museum which library patrons could check out for the day gaining them free
admittance into the local museums and galleries. We checked these out and saved
thirty dollars every time we hit one of these places. Call in advance though because
you may be competing with another family for the same day.
If you are planning a vacation to another state or even within your own state, visit
the state's visitor's bureau website to get a packet of information and coupons
for the state. For example, we were planning a trip to Cedar Point in Ohio so I
requested a packet of information to be sent to me by the visitor's bureau. Within
this packet of information was a gold mine of coupons for the amusement park
including buy one get one free admissions which saved us over twenty-five dollars.
With the summer season comes a whole new set of things that you will need
to be stocked up on. With children home from school, you are now the one who is
to come up with the creative lunches and snacks for the kids. Try and keep the fridge
well-stocked with lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grain breads, meats, and
cheeses so that you can quickly make sandwiches and can avoid spending money at
the drive-thru. Having items on hand that children can make themselves will also
take some pressure off of you for providing the meal.
A great way to save time on cleaning up after your meals is by taking advantage
of the pleasant weather and dining outside. Our family does a lot of eating outside
on our patio furniture which makes for easy clean-up. When it is just my son and
I though, we eat outside on a plastic mat "picnic-style". We love to do this and
the mat only requires a quick shake and clean-up is a breeze.
We also purchased a small cooler lunchbox for our day trips out which is a great
investment for the family. We take this everywhere and fill it with the day's lunch
or snacks while we are out. Filling this with healthy snacks and food will save
you money as well as saving you from a less than healthy trip to the drive-thru
when you are out on one of your day trips or just running errands. This cooler can
also be used when grocery shopping for keeping your ice cream and meats at cool
Another great purchase for your car is a seat organizer where you can stick books
and toys in for the kids as well as diapers, wet wipes, and maps to get to your
destination. Don't forget to pack a towel for brushing off after those trips to
the beach as well.
A kiddie pool and sandbox can be a great investment for the summer as well for the
younger kids. My son spends hours playing in his sandbox and kiddy pool and the
investment was small compared to the hours of enjoyment he can get from these. If
a family member is looking for a gift this summer for a birthday or just because,
suggest buying one of these items so that you don't have to pay for these yourself.
We asked for these items for our son's birthday and also used our anniversary money
to put towards a family zoo pass for the summer.
Don't forget to stock up on all of those fun summer toys for the kids to play with
outside. You can stock up on a lot of your fun summer items over at the local Dollar
Store. We purchase sidewalk chalk, sandbox tools and toys, bubbles, and water guns.
They offer a wide variety of fun summer toys that won't break the bank. You can
also make a couple of these yourself with these recipes.
Super Sidewalk Paint
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup cold water
6-8 drops of food coloring
Directions: Mix cornstarch and cold water together in a small plastic bowl. Add
food coloring and stir. Repeat this process to creat different colors of Super Sidewalk
Paint. Super Sidewalk Paint can easily be washed away with water
1 cup flour
1 cup used coffee grinds
½ cup salt
¼ cup sand
¾ cup water
Directions: Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Slowly add water
and knead until the mixture is the consistency of bread dough. Break off a piece
of dough and roll it into the size of a baseball. Make a hole in the center of the
ball big enough to hide treasures in. Fill the hole with treasures and seal with
some extra dough. Let your treasure stone air dry for two or three days or until
hard or bake in the oven on a cookie sheet at 150 degrees for fifteen to twenty
minutes. If you would like to tin your Treasure Stone, add one tablespoon of powder
tempera paint to tint.
Water Balloon Yo-Yo
1 small balloon
1 large rubber band
Directions: Cut the rubber band in half. Tie a loop securely on one end of the rubber
band. It should be big enough to fit around your finger. Use a garden hose or water
faucet to fill the balloon ¼ of the way with water. Blow air into the balloon until
it is the size of a tennis ball. Tie the balloon shut. Securely tie the rubber band
around theknot on the balloon. Place the rubber band loop around your middle finger
and gently throw the balloon toward the ground. When the balloon springs back toward
your hand, try to grab it.
Rainy days during the summer can be particularly difficult for children and parents
alike. A great way to make these days go by quicker is by keeping lots of craft
supplies on hand. You can also print out free printable coloring pages and crafts
through dltk-kids.com. We keep lots of construction
paper, play dough, crayons, and coloring books on hand for fun and creative activities
during the day.
Keep in mind that your library can be a wonderful summer resource for your family.
Obviously, the library offers lot of great summer reading to help you get through
those rainy days, but try to look past just the literature and ask your children's
librarian what types of summer reading and activities they offer. I still remember
as a child that the library offered a great summer reading program that worked in
conjunction with our local Pizza Hut where we received stars for meeting reading
goals that could be used towards food at the restaurant. This motivated me so much
as a child that I read many more books then I had anticipated. Setting reading goals
during the summer can be very rewarding for children. Make sure to ask your child's
teacher for a reading list of books that they should be reading in preparation for
the next grade. If your child is not reading yet, be sure to take advantage of this
time to read to them. It truly is amazing the power literature has on our minds
and speech development.
Don't Over Schedule
For some reason many parents tend to go overboard on the summer classes and activities.
I remember as a child how much I enjoyed just running around through the sprinklers,
getting ice cream, or taking a trip to the park. I do not remember as clearly the
classes that I took or the activities that my parents had paid for. It is so important
to allow our kids to be kids! Kids really do remember the little outings that you
do with them and often these outings and time spent with them have a greater impact
then four weeks of camp will.
Remember that this is their summer vacation. I know that I do not enjoy having every
single minute of my vacation booked with things to do; likewise children enjoy having
some downtime. Try to keep this in mind when signing them up for various summer
programs. Maybe allowing your child to pick one or two activities during the summer
will be more manageable for both you (the driver) and your child.
Most importantly, enjoy your summer to its fullest... Whether it is long lazy days
of lounging by the kiddy pool or a fun-filled summer chock full of day trips and
activities- try to make it a summer to remember. I am filling my son's memory book
up this summer of all the wonderful things we have gotten to do. I always think
that I will remember each and every moment with him- the smells of the hot dogs
on the grill, the sand between our toes as we play for hours in his sandbox, or
his sweet face full of fascination at the tiny bugs crawling on his swing set, but
all too quickly it is gone. Put your pen to paper this summer and lovingly write
those memories down so someday you and your child can reminisce over the beauty
of that hot summer of his youth and all that you shared together during those wonderful