Halfway through Summer: Ask the Audience

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Heather says:

With three kids under six and the heat index hanging out in triple digits, we’re headed full speed into the Dog Days of summer. This morning I threw out on Twitter this question:

OK parents, what’s your favorite $5 per kid or cheaper activity?

Here’s what they came up with:

Simon Ashton:
Usually beach/pool. Sometimes we’ll go to dollar store for notebooks, pens etc & go ‘exploring’ the woods to draw what we find

Angela Syhre:
waterpark, zoo, beach, fishing… thats about all we have to do no matter the cost, unless we want to travel.

going to the bookstore to let LB play w/ the train table while Mama gets a fancy coffee, <$5 for Mama, free for kiddo

foil star stickers, paper, kid scissors. miscellaneous water-based markers, envelopes

http://www.nolimitsplay.com/ its $5 or under for kids until they’re 5 plus parents are free!

Story time at the library and any state or county park

Of course, what would crowdsourcing be without the humorous contribution?

About 2 feet of chain from hardware store. You’d be surprised how long kids can entertain themselves (outside) with that.

I think we’re off to explore a local, shady park or maybe we’ll stay home and play redneck waterpark (sprinkler plus miscellaneous kitchen containers).

So, Home Eccers, how do you entertain bored kids on the super cheap? Remember the cap is $5 per kid. Ready? Set? Go.

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16 thoughts on “Halfway through Summer: Ask the Audience”

  1. Oh if I knew you were on twitter, I would be following you and be able to help on this one! I live in Southeastern NC but I think this would help even in your area! A post I wrote in the beginning of summer. http://tinyurl.com/qkcoxa – if you have problems getting to it this way. Let me know! 🙂

  2. We have a shopping district that has a fountain system that the kids (and adults) are encouraged to play in. It’s free.

    Also: library (books, movies and activities all free), Geocaching (upfront cost for GPS unit, but hunting caches is free), shopping the $1 bins at Target or Michael’s, going for a walk, going to the park, we have a number of nature centers and interactive park activities here that are free, an occasional Happy Meal and time to play in the Playplace, family swim at the pool (cheaper than daytime swim), cooking together, bike riding, having a friend over to play, a family picnic, berry picking at a farm (price varies), going to the airport and watching the planes land and take off, going to garage sales (can be as inexpensive as you want it to be).

    The possibilities are endless!

  3. We have local nature centers that are free or $1-2 a person. They have trails, guides, and even some indoor things.

    Another thing to look into is the smaller tourist attractions. For example the National Agricultural Hall of Fame is 20 minutes from my house. Granted, much of it is staring at old farm equipment and other old things, but they have a train ride, a one room school house, and even chickens you can crack corn and feed. I think it was $3 for kids and $7 for adults when we went earlier this summer and they even had a building set up with picnic tables for you to take a break for lunch. Granted, that’s not everywhere, but there are probably similar things in other parts of the country. Educational and fun!

  4. Our favorite is going to the drive in…kids are $1, we take a picnic and get to watch 2 movies, last time we went we saw Ice Age and Up. Adults are $7.00 but for 2 movies that is very good.

  5. Heading to the local park for sprinkler time, followed by ice cream from the ice-cream truck. Depending on whether it’s just me and the girl, or if daddy comes too, it can be $5 for the whole outing.

    Sunday’s this becomes Donut Sunday. The greenmarket, which is set up around the same park, has a fantastic baker come with homemade cider donuts. 3 for $2!

  6. In my hometown (Madison, WI) you can sign up for a mailing list for the two local theaters. Both are all over the midwest: Kerasotes and Marcus. Two days a week, they have a list of movies you can see for 5 dollars. This week includes Up, so they’re not just the lousy movies – just the ones that are no longer big draws.

  7. We signed up for http://www.KidsBowlFree.com and paid a bit to add hubby and I. So we can bowl for the price of shoes (about $2 each). (And if your kids are small like my 3 year old, they just bowl in socks!) Like others we do nature walks at parks (bonus if there is a creek we can get to and play in, that keeps my boy occupied for a long time), parks and invite friends over for playdates with popsciles and playing in the sprinklers/slip ‘n slide. Right now my kids are young enough things like going to the libarary and playing their computer games are still exciting or going to McDs and getting an ice cream cone/playing in the play area are great treats, I’m very thankful for that!

  8. One of my favorite activities as a kid that I haven’t seen mentioned here was catching fireflies. If we had hot dogs (with chili and coleslaw) for dinner on the same night we got to catch fireflies, that was the best night ever.

  9. Swimming at the public pool (pack a picnic lunch). Stay the day.

    Biking on easy trails. (pack a lunch…)

    A day at the beach (pack a lunch…) Seeing a trend here….

    Letter Boxing (like geocaching…)

  10. First off, those are great suggestions that you posted. We are always looking for cheap fun stuff to do in the summer. In our town, we like to take the kids to the zoo. Its under 5$ and fun for me too!

  11. When we went camping….the last thing I packed up was the BUCKET ‘O FUN. I took a bucket we had under the kitchen sink and then threw in a bunch of items that would fit very quickly. We wound up with crayons, copy paper, an old coloring book, scissors, scotch tape, glue sticks and pipe cleaners. All of these items could easily have been purchased for less than $5.00 at the Dollar Store or Whamalart (especially during their big NAFTA back to school sale).

    Bucket ‘O Fun proved to be invaluable. Our 4 year old loved sitting at the OTHER picnic table and drawing her landscapes (she does a great tree) while we prepared meals and when there was extra time to be wasted. The 3 year old liked to take the bucket and just put cool nature things in it like sticks, pine needles, pine cones, rocks, leaves, etc. I imagine at home she would do the same thing.

    Bucket ‘O Fun…..it’s fun, it’s a bucket.

  12. Library. Crafts using recyled trash (paper towel centers; paper mache from newspaper; etc). We LOVED melt-a-beads.
    Making cupcakes and then making icing and decorating them.
    Making butter to put on saltines by shaking heavy cream in an empty mayo jar (and shaking, and shaking, till it solidifies.) FUN! Taking pictures of flowers (digital camera is a real boon for this) then printing some copies and making frames from scraps to give away.
    SO MANY MEMORIES >>>>>>>>>>

  13. In the summer in Dayton, my grandmother had 2 sawhorses set up with a piece of luan on top of them and we played outside using that table as our art table (paper and crayons in buckets to be shared). Once, we got a refrigerator box to make into a space ship and I think that kept us occupied for a week. The real point here: we were not allowed inside except to go to the bathroom and for lunch. Every once in a while we would get a drink or a jello pudding pop delivered from Granny.

    I didn’t realize the genius of this until I was MUCH older. We wore ourselves out, stayed out of my grandmother’s hair during Days of Our Lives, and have great memories of those summers. A total win-win.

  14. I agree with CJ McD .. Geocaching is a great family outing. Most cellphones have geocaching apps, so you wont have to dump a bunch of money into a GPS unit. The kids will love it.


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