Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Keeping Kids Busy This Summer Without Breaking the Bank

Last summer, thanks to so inspiration on Pinterest, we implemented our first "Summer Bucket List".  We comprised a list of things to do to keep active throughout the summer.  I broke up the list into "Free" "Inexpensive" and "Pricey" categories.  This helped us decide what was feasible on any given day for our family of 5. 

I have long been a fan of our city's 'Culture Pass' program with the public libraries here.  Many of the museums in the area offer free passes, usually for 2 through the Culture Passes.  You have to make sure to get to your library early and you choose from whatever locations and passes are available.  But the free tickets are good for a week and this has been a a big help financially.  Only needing to purchase a couple of our tickets rather than all 5 helps keep costs down.

There's also many free things to do in our big city of Phoenix- we're central, too, so Scottsdale, Glendale and the surrounding areas aren't too far a drive.  Parks start getting too hot later in the day, but my kids wake up early anyway so we visit our parks early in the morning .  A favorite park for us is what my kids (and many others) call the Railroad Park (it's really called McCormick and Stillman Park) it's in Scottsdale and about 30 minutes away.  The park is free and they do offer rides for a very nominal fee.  It's got lots of trees and is nicely shaded.  Splash pads are pretty popular in this heat too, you can find them at some parks and outdoor shopping areas and they are free as well!
Some Photos from Our 2012 Summer of Fun :)

We also make sure to visit our local Farmers Markets to try new things and support our local growers. Companies often offer tours of their facilities, we have water day, arts and crafts, bake something new and game night all our on our list, too.

For special treats we splurge and head to local amusement parks, water parks and play places.  I certainly do my research and try and find a deal for these more expensive things.  I search of coupons, special events and discounts and plan our trip accordingly.   

We always aspire to take a family vacation during the summer months (who doesn't love a fun family vacation!?) but this year I think we may stick with a much more budget friendly 'Stay'cation.

I'm excited to share our summer experiences here with you all.  Most of what I'll be posting about is specific to my area but remember- you can always look into similar experiences, deals and places in your hometown, too!  I encourage you all to get out, explore, experience and share with your kiddos this summer- and you CAN do this without breaking the bank.  After all, it's all about LOVING LIFE AND LIVING ON LESS!

I'd love to hear what your plans are to keep busy this summer- it may help inspire me or other readers to add something simiar to our lists!  Share them below!


  1. We have a pass to El Dorado Pool. My mom and I made a deal to alternate watching the kids so the other can exercise by swimming laps (yay for staying healthy in the heat). I was also super lucky to win a pogo pass. We will do play dates, museum visits, and fun places (culture passes/memberships/pogo pass). I was hoping we would get to go visit MN family but not this year. :( We are also going to work very hard on getting a daily structure or schedule going. I plan to homeschool for preschool. :)

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