5 Free and Fun Summer Activities for You and Your Kids
Bankruptcy is hard enough when you're single — I can't imagine going through it with little ones to support. I was talking to someone who is in that situation, and the angst she feels shone in her eyes when she spoke about not being able to give her children everything they deserve, including a summer vacation. It pained me to listen to someone I know to be a very good person hurting so much.
You see, while at this moment in time she may not be able to give her children what she feels they deserve, she is giving them what they need: herself. This is more than a lot of people with wealth do, so she should not feel bad. She's going through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and money is tight. I get why she feels the way she does. I just wish it wasn’t so.
Her plight got me thinking, so I emailed her last night with a list of things she could do with the kids this summer for free or cheap. After all, it's really the spending of time, and not money, that matters to the kids. I haven't heard back from her yet, and I hope she takes my message to heart. In the meantime, I thought I'd share these things here to remind folks that they can make their children happy without lavishing gifts upon them. It truly is the thought (and time) that counts.
Here are 5 free or cheap fun summer activities for you and your kids to enjoy:
1. Go to the beach — this is something you can repeat many times this summer, making it a different experience each time you go. For example, build sandcastles one day and go wading the next. Walk the pier or collect shells that you can turn into a crafts project on yet another day at home. The possibilities are endless and exciting.
2. Start a vegetable garden. This is fairly inexpensive if you do it from seeds, but even starter plants won't set you back very much and will pay for themselves with edible food in due time. Gardening is a great way to occupy children's time throughout the summer, as it will require daily attention. It's also great fun to note the daily growth of plants and rewarding for kids to know they had a huge part in making it happen.
3. Teach your children to cook. I mean, you’re going to spend money on food no matter how broke you are, right? Why not spend some quality time in the kitchen with your kids. You could make a couple days of it and do breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take a day to prepare and shop, and let them have input as to what type of dishes to make. Show them how to save money by making wise purchasing decisions too. You will have a great time and you may even spawn the next celebrity chef.
4. Go Camping behind your house. So. Much. Fun. Break out the sleeping bags, grab the flashlights and scary books, and go to town — in your backyard. Why not barbecue in the afternoon to start the evening off right? If you have a fire pit, you could roast weenies and marshmallows. Be creative.
5. Do arts and crafts. You can use the shells you collected at the beach, but this may take some research. Many normally discarded house hold items, such as toilet paper and paper towel rolls, can be used to make games and animals. Do some research on arts and crafts for children, and you’ll find numerous opportunities for fun things to do – so many you can easily fill your entire summer with them if you like.
Those are just five free of cheap things you can do with your children this summer, but I could write all day on this subject given the time. My point is that you don’t have to spend a lot (or any) to entertain your kids. Remember, just going through bankruptcy doesn’t make you a bad parent. The kids just want you to be there for them. And, you are — I know you are.
Best of luck with your fresh start,