By Marguerite Cleveland
When it comes to summer fun and kids, just add water. It is amazing how something so simple can keep the little ones occupied. Here are a few fun things to do which don’t cost a lot of money.
- Watering the Yard – This is a twofer. Kids love running through sprinklers so next time you are watering your lawn plan for some water fun as well. It is a win-win, the children are occupied and your lawn gets some TLC.
- Cooking – Depending on your tolerance for a mess use just water or water with dirt or sand. Set up a bench in your yard to serve as the kitchen. Fill a small toddler swimming pool with water which can be purchased for under $20. Get a variety of utensils and containers and let the kids just go at it making imaginary treats. Yes is can be messy but so fun for the kids.
- Splash Parks – Most military installations now have splash parks which are free to use during the summer months. Many newer, upscale shopping centers offer splash parks as well. I loved using these when I had toddlers as they would run and run and just wear themselves out making for a nice relaxing naptime later where Mom could take a breather.
- County and State Parks – Many local parks have lakes with beaches which are a fun place to enjoy a day at the “beach” with smaller children. Usually there is a nice shallow area for wading. Entry fees range from free to a few dollars. State Parks also offer annual passes that give you admission for a year to all their parks and it is well worth it.
- Water Parks – Waterparks are usually a high ticket summer activity but did you know there are some less expensive alternatives. Many counties have their own smaller waterparks. They may not have all the bells and whistles but most usually have a good lazy river, a couple of waterslides and a themed child play area with admissions under $20. If you plan on going frequently a season’s pass may be worth the Splurge. The park we used to go to charges $60 for a season’s pass which is well worth it if you plan to visit a few times. A local county park where I am currently living has a wave pool and another one has a pool, waterslide and lazy river.
When planning a day in the water, make sure to liberally apply sunscreen to the little ones. You can save money by visiting your local commissary for a picnic lunch. The delis can make sandwiches to order or you can pick up grab and go items. When going to a water park plan to take a break and head out to your car for lunch. It will save you bunches.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com