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Planning a low-cost, fun summer


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As a student, summer classes keep me busy. I have less time than I'd like to spend with DD. Last summer, we sent her to a daycamp, but this summer we're trying to spend less money. It gets hot here, but we want her doing more than watching TV and playin Wii all summer!

 

What things are your kids doing for fun this summer?

 

Our current plan:

 

Pool pass (DD is old enough to take herself this year)

 

AMF Free bowling (season pass for an adult to play too is fairly cheap)

 

Continuing her gymnastics thru summer

 

School "lite" (Fred, maybe continue some lit and geography)

 

Harkins summer movies (weekly, the pass makes it less than $1/movie, for second run at nice first-run theater)

 

Today DD expressed interest in volunteering at the library, so I'm going to look into whether she's old enough (says 6th grade, will depend if they mean "rising" or "completed" for summer).

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Well here the city does day camp for $25 for 8 weeks, if you qualify income-wise. Almost everyone qualifies :)

 

We do a lot of library time. Last year it worked out that the library was a free summer lunch & snack site, so it was easy to go around noon, dd have free lunch, then we browse in the library until 3pm, have free snack then head home.

 

We also do a lot of time at home. Hoses are nice.

 

 

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My boys used to make a "summer list" of all they wanted to do. Included every year were pool, children's theater (they'd earn tickets by reading at the library), creek walking, going to 7-11 for a Slurpee (a big treat, but YMMV!), and reading aloud (I'd pick a few things--Harry Potter one year, for ex.). 

 

We lived in Dallas when they were under 10, so things like playing with the hose, washing the cars, washing bikes, going to the pool (I see you have that covered) and camping out in the back yard were big hits. It was too hot to go to playgrounds during the day. Sometimes we'd do something very quiet during the day and go out more towards sunset.

 

You could take a penny walk--flip a penny at the corners of your walk and go left or right depending on heads/tails.

 

Picnic--bake something in the am and take it with you.

 

Tea party or appetizer dinner--make lots of little nibble-y yummies. 

 

Movie and popcorn

 

Kid's theater, as I said

 

Downtown visit to museums, or lunch, or a bigger library, or a different-than-you-usually-go-to mall, or ice skating. 

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Oooh, I think we have the free bowling option around here too -- I'll have to check that out!

 

My kids will continue their martial arts once a week; we just started a few weeks ago, and classes run year-round. I hear there are some camps during the summer, so we might check those out.

 

Kids will do tennis with a free program (we don't even have to bring our own rackets!). They'll bike with DH when they can, as well as hiking/state parks.

 

Swimming at the pool when my parents come to visit; they stay at a campground that is very nice and has a pool, playgrounds, mini golf, animals. . .

 

Will probably go visit my parents/ILs for a bit and maybe go to the beach and/or canoeing or out on FIL's boat/fishing. We're also going camping for a few days.

 

Both small brothers have birthdays, and our anniversary falls between them, so it will be a few weeks of celebrating. Cake and ice cream!

 

We have a ton to do in our yard too. The kids love cooking out, swinging, playing soccer, seeing neighborhood friends, digging, playing in the sprinkler. . . I hope to garden some too.

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How about geocaching? It costs nothing if you already have a gps. We always end up seeing places we'd never thought of going.

 

That sounds like a fun activity a lot of places.

 

Here, most things outdoors are not suitable activities for summer. The only thing anyone wants to find when it's 117 out is air conditioning! We also can't afford to drive much of anywhere.

 

i did think of another thing: our library has a program called Culture Pass. When you check one out, it gives you a week to use it for free admission for 2 to a specified museum. 

 

One thing we'll be doing this summer is working on DD's independence--getting herself places on the bus for example. I want to find ways to turn this into a game for her. She's capable, just needs a bit of confidence.

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Does it make sense to do a Mediterranean schedule? Up early before it gets too hot, siesta in the middle of the day, and then staying up late in the evening? Things outdoors might be more doable, such as bike riding, dinner picnic, and Geo caching

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Golfing - my city's youth golf program is cheap

Beach - the only place with temperatures below 100 degF during summer

Library's summer reading program

Light rail joyriding - the 3 month summer pass for school kids is affordable and my 9 year old has ask for it. The light rail station is a short walk from my home.

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i did think of another thing: our library has a program called Culture Pass. When you check one out, it gives you a week to use it for free admission for 2 to a specified museum. 

 

One thing we'll be doing this summer is working on DD's independence--getting herself places on the bus for example. I want to find ways to turn this into a game for her. She's capable, just needs a bit of confidence.

 

 

Is there a friend she can team up with for independence building?  For inspiration, there is a day camp in Austin that I think is a simply genius idea.  The kids decide as a group each day what to do, use their budget, find it on the map, and plot walking or public transit route.  More here:  http://urbanexplorercamp.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/a-typical-day-at-urban-explorer-camp/

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Reading list - Summer is a great time to assign some classic fiction or some cool practical science books. I remember using the summer to actually do the projects in the 'fun science' books we had, stuff like rubber band cars and making your own sherbet. I also read the Narnia series one summer.

 

Projects - a garden, a building project, a lemonade stand, summer is great for pouring into some big projects. My best friend and I built a clubhouse one year

 

Maybe some independent days out. Let her go to the library and park alone, give her some cash to buy lunch. The free-range aspect of summer is one of my fondest memories. How you implement this depends on your daughters maturity and your area though. What a mature 10 year old can do in one town may be dangerous for an immature 14 year old in another town.

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