Summertime Activities for Your Children

I have raised 4 girls plus provided day care for many children for several years. Now I take care of a 2 year-old and a 6 year-old granddaughter during school breaks. Frugal living is nothing new to us as I was raised in a family of 11 kids and many foster children. We may have struggled because money was tight, but we never seemed to lack for fun things to do and there was always something going on that held our attention.


  • We plant mobile gardens that the kids are responsible for. In an unusable wheelbarrow we plant beans or tomato plants. In an old rusted Radio Flyer wagon we planted onion sets. Be sure to either put holes in the unusable garden containers or put a layer of pebbles in the bottom under the soil/potting mixture to allow for drainage or the plant roots will rot and cause kid's tears when their garden doesn't grow well. We also plant lettuce (and keep re-planting all summer long) in flower pots.

  • To lure in butterflies, we broadcast flower seeds in several "lawn" areas. This also saves on mowing - less gas and a great place to watch butterflies and catch grasshoppers and frogs.

  • We enjoy days of "teddy bear or dolly" picnics. Make a picnic lunch and kids take teddy bear or dolly to it. You can do this weekly - kids love it!

  • Bubbles! Dollar stores have large bottles of the bubbles or you can make your own. And you can have lots of fun and exercise chasing them! I find it is lots of fun to blow bubbles when the wind is blowing just a bit - I can just hold the bubble wand up and the wind does the work!

  • Go to your local library once every week or two and get as many books on nature: trees, flowers, insects, backyard treasures as you can then look for those items in your yard. Maybe even start a scrapbook with those treasures. You should also pick up several books (that the kids help choose) and read, read, READ! Some libraries also have a story-time or other activity that is free and fun that will inspire any age.

  • Let the kids work on a treasure box for their finds. You can pick up empty shoe boxes next time you go to/past a shoe store - they give away free. Let the kids spend one day decorating them with crayons, markers, stickers etc. Then they can begin filling them with treasures they find.

  • We know people in nursing homes - find out what day/time the home will allow kids to visit and allow the kids to do that. Not only will it brighten the nursing home residents day, but the kids will most likely gain an appreciation for the elder humor.
Sorry this is long - I have a lot more ideas on vacation fun on little or no money, so will hope to post more as time permits. Have fun!

By Debi Radcliffe from Groton, NY

A child blowing bubbles

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May 13, 20100 found this helpful

Great ideas, I look forward to hearing more.

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May 15, 20100 found this helpful

Great list of ideas, but my two faves were the library because I'm a lifelong reader, and the nursing home visit. After a serious car crash, I spent a couple of months in a nursing home.


They can be lonely places. The staff did what they could to keep us busy and entertained, but I sure missed the sound of children's laughter...

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May 23, 20160 found this helpful

Great Ideas.
You can also buy activity kits for your kids. These are monthly subscription boxes that provide country theme learning with lovely craft projects and games. My niece and nephew love it. Keeps them off TV and gadgets. Kids can do it themselves so give mommy also some spare time :)

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