School is out and kids are free to do what they want for the summer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for the kids to get tired with playing in the yard and soon parents are hearing about how bored the kids are. How can parents keep kids entertained when the family is struggling with a tight budget? The ideas listed below are free or low-cost and are sure to keep kids occupied and happy while school is out.
Explore Area Parks
Many families have spent time in one or two parks in their immediate area, but there are often dozens more within driving distance. Learn about parks in the area by researching what is available within a ten-mile radius. Take a picnic lunch and explore trails or sports fields located in the park. Families can start the afternoon with lunch and take a few hours to check out everything the park has to offer. Check out the Top 10 Best Austin Parks
Take a Hike
Hiking combines the benefits of an inexpensive pastime and a physical activity that can keep kids off the couch. Find an interesting trail in the area that has special features such as a waterfall, boulder field or a plethora of wildlife. Start with some Family Hiking at St. Edward’s Park
Teach Kids a New Hobby
Parents often have a few hobbies that they would like to teach to their children, but there isn’t always time for hobbies during the busy school year. Summer is the perfect time to go through this list of fun activities that parents want to share with the family, and there are many hobbies that a person can have that are best enjoyed when the weather is warm. Some summer hobbies that parents can share with their kids without spending a lot of money include fishing, bird watching and swimming. Start by visiting Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Visit a Farm
Families that live near a farm can often get a tour of the farm for free. Call local farms to see if any of them offer this opportunity. Farmers may be willing to show kids around the farm so that they can learn about where their food comes from and why supporting local farmers is such an important undertaking. Remember to ask if the kids will be able to pet or feed animals. If kids will interact directly with the animals, dress them in clothes that can get dirty and bring along hand sanitizer.
Inspire Learning While Having Fun
One problem that parents often run into during the summer months is that kids take a vacation from any learning at all. Academic professionals can attest to the fact that learning is a process that should be continued year-round, but how can a parent encourage their child to learn during the summer without spending money on a summer program?
The exact activity to choose depends on the age of the child. For example, kindergarten-aged children might simply be happy with going through the alphabet or practicing their writing skills and earning small stickers for their efforts.
Preteens will appreciate a messy experiment like the popular soda and mints experiment that has gained a following online. Purchasing a bottle of soda and a roll of mints is an inexpensive way to let your kids have fun. Be sure to research the experiment beforehand so an educational explanation can be reviewed before the fun starts.
Free Museum Days
Many cities offer certain days of the month when museums are free to the public. Take the family to visit the museum on these free days to save money. Pack a lunch and eat at a nearby park to avoid the pricey museum concessions. Check out the Free Museums in Austin