Summer fun on a budget

Now we’re back to our “normal” summer routine, which means I do my best to work four day work weeks. On the 5th day, I try to do something fun with my 6 year old daughter. But, since we just got back from a no-holds-barred vacation, we need to make sure we have our summer fun on a budget. That doesn’t mean we need to do everything for free, but we need to be at least somewhat mindful of cost.

One of my favorite free things to do is to head to the local splash pad. There are a number fairly local to us, including some at outdoor malls and even one at our newly remodeled Union Station in downtown Denver. They’re good for the toddlers and early elementary group and almost always free, whereas pools are not.
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The library is also a fun, free resource that will keep your school aged kids prepared for fall, and expand your little ones’ imaginations. Our local libraries have a plethora of activities, from music classes and story time, to story time yoga and science and lego building. And of course there are always the books!

We have a membership to our local museum of nature and science, but quite often there are free museum days. Many larger cities and larger museums offer these and it’s a great way to keep little brains in shape and entertained during the summer!

Most all cities have that one playground. You know, the one with the castle, or pirate ship or amazing climbing walls. I’m sometimes hesitant to take my daughter on very hot summer days in case the equipment is too warm, but she has never turned down a chance to go on the monkey bars or slides!
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Harkins theaters offer a discounted movie one day a week. It’s always a movie that has long left the theaters, but are fun family favorites. This year, you can see 10 movies for $5. You can’t beat that deal!

In past years I have been able to find Groupon deals for bouncy centers, Monkey Bizness, climbing gyms and mini golf. You have to keep your eyes out for them, but you can easily save 50% on admission. We also have used coupons from soda cans for discounted admissions to our local water park and amusement park. I know many cities offer these deals.

Be sure to check your grocery receipts – both the front and the back! The back often has coupons for local businesses, and our Kroger grocery store offers deeply discounted Colorado Rockies tickets which makes it much more inexpensive for us to attend a baseball game. I love taking my daughter to the ballpark for a mid-week day game when my schedule allows it, and she loves getting out in the sunshine to watch baseball, too!
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We live in Colorado where outdoor living reigns. There are so many parks where we can go hike, and on August 25th all National Parks offer free entrance! You can make your outdoor activities more reasonable by packing your own lunch – don’t forget to bring plenty of water!

These are just a handful of ways that you and your kids can have summer fun while on a budget. I would love to hear about the activities your family does inexpensively or free!

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