1. Camping! From the youngest to the oldest in our family, we all love camping! If we could we would go every weekend.
Does pitching a tent sound intimidating to you? Watch for great deals on little campers. We bought our pop up for about what it would cost us to buy a tent and cots or air mattresses for everyone to sleep on. Its definitely old (we are about the same age, our camper and I!) and its not fancy, but it serves the purpose and is much more practical for camping with 5 children than a tent. Choosing to camp at a State Park is not only economical (private camp grounds generally cost much more than state run ones)but it also is usually loaded with fun opportunities for your family.
Hiking is pretty much always available. You can go out for a quick walk through the woods or you can get the little ones into baby backpack carriers, load up on snacks and water, grab the compass and spend the entire day exploring.
Every State Park I have been to has had a lake or river to do canoeing or other boating in. My children find being in a boat thrilling, even if they are only a few feet from shore in a little canoe. The highlight of camping is always fishing.
My children love fishing. The smaller ones usually lose interest in the actual act of fishing after maybe an hour or two. Even when they are catching things their attention spans run out. My older ones will spend all day fishing when they aren't even catching a thing. Not to worry, however. Even when fishing becomes a bore, there are rocks to be overturned along the shore, bugs to be found, water to dip your fingers in, etc...plenty to keep everyone entertained all day.
What kid can resist poking a campfire with a stick or cooking their very own hot dog or marshmallow at the end of a stick?
Want to make the nights real exciting? Go to a craft store and look for glow sticks. I can get a big tin or about 100 pieces for around $8. Considering one stick usually sells for around $1, its a good deal. They are eagerly awaited for once the sun starts setting around our campsite.
2. A trip to the Amusement park.
We are fortunate to have a major amusement park under an hour away from our home. We try to visit each year. Its an event the children look forward to and talk about all fall, winter and spring in eager anticipation. A real bonus is that at the elementary school my children were attending anyone who spends all year on the high honor roll gets a free ticket to the nearby amusement park! They also purchase discounted tickets for the rest of the family to buy. Its a great savings for our family. To further cut expenses and make such a big expense more possible for us we always take our own food. It not only is much less expensive but its also nice to have a set eating time as a family and be able to sit down for 1/2 hour or so away from the major hustle and bustle of the main park area and sort of recharge. Along the same lines, taking your own drinks adds up to a huge savings over buying at the park. This is especially true when you find yourself visiting on a day that temperatures are soaring! Drink boxes and water bottles can save big time. Its a great time we all enjoy.
3. County and State fairs. The most exciting times we have over the summer, however, are probably our visits to the fairs. We truly enjoy a good fair! Even though we take a lot of food and drinks...who can resist a little fair food? French fries, an elephant ear or Italian sausage sandwich, whatever your preference is, if its deep fried or naturally greasy, its sure to be found at the fair! My children love animals so the many barns of livestock and other animals are a favorite. We spend a lot of time petting goats and daring one another to touch the ooey gooey goopey big snouts! Again, take your own drinks! Another tip I have as far as drinks go: most likely you will not be able to tote enough water to keep you satisfied on a hot day. Refilling your bottles at a drinking faucet is a great idea. My family is used to our reverse osmosis wonderful tasting water, however, and the drinking faucet taste is usually far from what we are accustom to. Purchase some Kool-aid singles to carry along with you. emptying a packet into a water bottle turns the unpleasant taste into a welcome one and still saves you tons over purchasing inside the gates. Make sure you get a schedule upon entering your fair. There is generally lots of free entertainment events throughout the day that will please or amaze the kids.
4. Bike Trail Trips. Not too far away an old railroad line was removed and turned into a great paved bike trail. My children often beg to go biking on this great amenity! We can our bikes and load them up for a great adventure. After a few hours of pedaling we can break off for our packed lunch and eat it picnic style. If you are riding a good distance you are also sure to pass areas where you can veer off route and find an ice cream stand or small market for little snacks or treats. Not only is this trip fun, its great exercise for all too!
5. The local library.
Every Wednesday morning for the first 6 weeks of summer we do a mini trip to our local library. They put on a fantastic summer program! The children are read to, of course! THey also play favorite games like bingo. They have tied dyed tee shirts, had worm races, had rare insects from all over the world brought in, took a turn at bee keeping, and so much more! Its a great day trip and whats more...its all free! It keeps them excited about reading over the summer (they even get prizes for meeting reading requirements). Its just a super fun way to spend time together reading and learning. Definately check out your library's summer line up!
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the Williamsburg Tourism and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here