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Simple and Inexpensive Summer Activities for Families

I’m a child of the 80’s. You know, the 80’s? When times were simple and we spent endless hours outside in the summer riding bikes, swimming, playing hopscotch and staying out until the streetlights came on? Yeah, those 80’s.

My brother and I were quite lucky growing up in the 80s. My mother was a school teacher so she had the ENTIRE summer off! On the last day of school she would pack up the car and we would head off to New Hampshire to spend the summer away from the city.

I should add, my mother had two requirements of her summer break. The first was that she would head back to the city on the 15th and 30th of the month and retrieve her paycheck. Yup, teachers were paid throughout the summer! On those days she would give herself two hours to pay bills, grab anything we needed and then head back to the country.

The second requirement was that EVERY Friday we would head to Wells Beach, Maine. This was my mothers most favorite place ever. It is where her and my father honeymooned along with 15 other people in the 70s.

Whether it was hot and humid or breezy and cold we went to the beach every week. We would pack a cooler with the most delicious ice cold peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ( its the only way I will eat them) or if we were lucky we would have a cold salad in a pita bread with the best local fruits. Those days we thought we were so fancy, haha. We would swim, dig ditches to bury one another, meet up with our Friday beach friends, eat with sandy hands, boogie board, and take naps with the ocean breeze.

As I got older, I learned how to properly tan ( you know, move your chair to be directly facing the sun, rotate your body so that you can tan evenly and also how to people watch ( FYI-you need a good pair of sunglasses to properly people watch). Fridays were the best day of the week. I learned so much about my mother and felt so close to her when we were beachin' it. (obviously, I now know the effects of sunbathing)

Ian and I couldn't wait for summer, to be with our summer friends, play outside ALL DAY LONG, stay up late by the fire, sleep in and live by the pool. Our summers were simple, fun and most of all filled with memories. I reminisce about those times often with my boys. They love hearing stories of what it was like when I grew up. With modern technology and the world literally at their fingertips, I wish they lived in a simpler time too. While the world keeps on spinning, it doesn't mean that we can't offer them simple summer time fun as ideas to the dreaded screams of “I’m bored.”

That’s where this list of  Inexpensive Ways to Give Your Kids the Best Summer Ever will come in handy….for me and for you.

Outdoor Adventures

1. Go swimming

2. Build a sand castle

3. Head to the nearest beach, lake, or pond

4. Go for a Hike (or walk)

5. Attend an outdoor concert in your neighborhood

6. Go bowling

7. Check out new parks in surrounding areas

8. Run through the sprinklers

9. Check out the stars

10. Watch fireworks ( tip, grab some glow sticks and necklaces at the dollar store. Girl, save you some money!)

11. Go Fly a Kite!

12. Pick up your weekly produce at the local farmers market

13. Play ball ( kickball, catch, dodgeball, baseball)

14. Toss a frisbee at the local green space

15. Enjoy a picnic at the beach

16. Pack a picnic and head out on an adventure

17. Scavenger Hut

18. If you are in Boston, check out the Boston Swan Boats!

Indoor Fun

1. Check out your local library for their summer reading program

2. Family Movie Night

3. Board Games and Homemade Pizza!

4. Make s'mores( If you don't have a fire pit, you can use the microwave or toaster oven)

5. Camp in the living room.

6. Host a Potluck for your friends.

7. Head to the movies. Many theaters offer reduced prices for admissions.

8. Cook a meal together as a family

A few years ago I put together this list of summer boredom busters and since these ideas are timeless I felt like it was worth sharing. At our house we don’t really do summer camp. I’m a stay at home mom so childcare for the summer has never been an issue. But that pretty much leaves my kids with a 2 month case of the “I’m bored”. So for my own sanity I try to do little things with my kids. Usually it’s just a drive to hit our favorite ice cream shop. Or we will take a nice scenic drive and play a road trip scavenger hunt. Anything really to get out of the house. This year I want to kick it up a notch. I want to not only spend time going for our summer drives but I want to take more time away from our devices and social media and do some simple things that make memories with my kids. This list is just the thing I need to inspire me to give my kids a simple, yet fun “my kinda ” summer

My kids are 9.5 and 5.5 ,as each year passes I’m realizing more and more how fast it all goes by. It’s time to make it count. It’s time they experienced a laid back summer. They may not be asking for it but I’m going to do my best to give them a piece of it. 

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