How to have the best summer ever even if you don’t travel

Summer is upon us and visions of an epic family vacation are just a thing of your dreams. Maybe your family took their big trip last Summer or perhaps the budget just isn’t flexible enough to get out of town.

Summer is magical for kids, and for mommas that don’t have to call their kids in from playing with their friends to do homework.

We have always said that fun doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, we listed a fantastic free thing in each state to do with kids. Things for Small Kids to do in all 50 States!

While we talk about traveling a lot we are also home a lot with our families. We have listed some of our favorite summertime activities.

Catch a cheap movie:

I am a bit of a different person when it comes to movies, I don’t go very often mainly because I don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford a movie.

In the summer, Regal Cinemas offers a fantastic deal that even a cheapo like myself can get behind.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, two movies are shown for $1. You can likely gather up enough to take the entire family just from cleaning out the couch cousins.

You can find the nearest location participating on the official website.

Visit your local dollar store:

The day after school was out, one of my friends and I took a trip, with kids in tow to our local Five Below, if you don’t have a Five Below in your town think of it as a ‘classy’ dollar store. They always have an abundance of great finds like outdoor toys but I always pop in for stocking stuffers and Easter Bunny candy as well.

We spent 30 dollars and got 4 different types of outdoor games and it will last our kids all summer. Our kids play together nearly every day.  The best part is that because we are around each other enough living just a few houses away, that we were able to make a community purchase.

Explore one of your own city’s tourist attractions

Just because you aren’t getting out of town for summer doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take advantage of the fantastic things to do in your own town. In the summer months, my town (Louisville, Kentucky) offers what is called a Cultural Pass. It is free for school-aged children and it offers the opportunity to visit some of our local attractions free of charge.

Even if your community doesn’t offer something like that, look at the website for your local museum, zoo or water park and find out if they are offering discount days. If they aren’t, why not start a family savings jar and plan for the adventures that you would like to take right in your own hometown.

Have a water fight:

Water balloons, water guns, and even the hose can provide hours of cheap entertainment. Heck, getting sprayed by a water gun is almost a welcomed experience when you are in the throes of the dog days of summer!
These extras don’t have to cost a lot, we snagged an 8 pack of mini water guns at our local grocery store for $3.99.

Bonus points if you join in with the kiddos!

Take advantage of summer reading programs:

I don’t know about your kiddos but mine are very motivated by prizes. Our library offers a reading program with a bag full of prizes (think tickets to local events) when they have read a pre-specified number of books.

Additionally, there are national chains having their own summer reading programs. Check out some below:

Barns and Noble 
Half Price Books
Scholastic Summer Reading Program

Get away in your own town:

Even if you can’t get out of town for a trip to the beach, why not get away from your house for just one night? Find a hotel with reasonable rates and a great indoor pool and let your kids have a ball. Even if the hotel you visit is just down the road, sometimes getting away for a nice can help you feel like you are in a totally different town.

We want to know, if the timing isn’t right for a summer getaway, what do you and your family do to make the most of your time together?

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