When parents think of summer a few things come to mind: no school, kids fighting, dollar signs. Summer days are meant to be carefree, but many people over think, over analyze and overindulge their families which makes summertime a bummer.

You can have an easy and fun summer without going overboard. Kids will long forget the random toy that cost so much, but will treasure the memories of a fun summer.

If you are worried about how much time and money you will spend entertaining your kids this summer, look no further. Here is a list to get your summer wheels turning.

  • Summer concerts. Summer is made for outdoor concerts. Venues can hold many more people when held outdoors, and patrons get serenaded under the stars. Outdoor concerts can be perfect for families, especially if there is a grassy area close by for rowdy or restless kids. Many cities and towns will offer free or discounted concerts throughout the summer, if you don’t mind supporting local talent. For most outdoor events, bring your own seating (blankets and lawn chairs) and snacks are usually permissible. Don’t forget a pillow so you can check out the beautiful summer night sky.
  • Decorate the sidewalk. Sidewalk chalk must have been invented by a woman desperate to occupy her children. Sidewalk chalk is the perfect way for children young and old to become Picassos on their own driveway. Driveways and sidewalks provide a reusable canvas for any budding artist. Need more space? Grab the hose and water it down, or pray that it rains. For older kids, encourage the sidewalk chalk to be a part of a bigger picture like creating the squares for four-square games, etc.
  • Make summer treats. Chasing down the ice cream truck and forking out money each day for snow cones is a quick way to exhaust your summer budget. Instead, make summer treats from scratch to save money and create memories. For quick and simple Popsicles, make Kool Aid like you would for a drink and then freeze in reusable Popsicles molds (you can find these at any dollar store or local big-box store). Within a few hours your have your own (and very, very cheap) Popsicles for all to enjoy. Rev it up by adding in fresh fruit, coconut milk or other variations to create more substantial summer treats. Be creative- it’s part of the fun.
  • Be one with nature. Getting familiar with the outdoors is one of the cheapest and most memorable ways to spend the summer. Overnight camping trips can provide lifetime memories. All you need is a tent, sleeping gear and basic food. If you aren’t too keen on sleeping outdoors, connect with Mother Earth through a hike or nature walk. Pretend you are camping by creating a bonfire to roast marshmallows over. After you clean up the fire, you can go home and sleep in your own bed.
  • Get wet. Public pools can be expensive. Find local splash pads or create your own with a sprinkler head on your hose.

Happy summer!

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