Dear Mrs. G,
Now that School is out and my children are all home for the summer, I am facing a dilemma and I hope you can help. My husband's salary was cut but he was able to maintain his job, but with the cut in salary, we have no money to take the kids on a Summer vacation. Historically we have been able to take a vacation each summer and have visited many fun and exciting places. Now there will be nothing for them to return to school in August to write about. What can I do that will make up for not providing a vacation for the kids this year?
House full of kids and nowhere to go.
Dear House full,
I guess I tend to look on the optimistic side of life, and I am thinking you are looking at this in the wrong way. Just because you can't travel to a destination, doesn't mean you can't make your children's summer vacation fun and exciting. One thing that I have learned in life is that there are so many unvisited places, and very close by where people live. There are places to hike, bike, picnic, fish, boat, swim, and that's just the start of adventure. By being creative you can personally design a jam packed, fun filled summer vacation without having to spend much money.
Each city and state has a visitors or tourist bureau that has pamphlets on what to do in the state. The Internet is loaded with ideas as well if you just do a little research and find out what there is to do around you. I wish I knew where you lived so that I could look up your states resources. Day trips are a blast if you plan well. One time as a child, my parents took my family on a drive to an area where we picnicked and looked for arrow heads. It was hot, but Mom packed plenty of koolaid, and sandwiched and fruit and we really had quite an adventure. Another time, we took a drive to a field of poppies and took beautiful photos and hiked around the area seeing old ruins of the past that still had remnants there.
Another time we took out tent up a canyon and stayed over night by the river and fished, hiked, threw rocks in the river, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. I remember hiking up to a waterfall, and then on to a cave where there were stalactite's and stalagmites and it was so exciting.
I remember the time we took our family on an hour and a half journey to see a theater in the pines portrayal of how the early settlers arrived in that area. It was well done and all of us enjoyed it. Swimming trips to the local pool really don't cost much and when we looked into a summer membership, it cut the cost almost in half for my family.
Other surrounding Cities as well as yours, probably has their own city celebrations complete with carnival, parade, programs, contests and so forth. Find out when they are and pick the events that you would like to go to.
Want to stay cool....Water fun is always fun for kids. Turn on the sprinklers and let them run through them. Put a sprinkler under the trampoline and jump and get wet. Make your own slip and slide from plastic tarp and let the sprinkler water it down. Kids will have so much fun sliding down the wet tarp. Fill up water balloons and play water Volleyball with towels to launch and catch the balloons. Make your own kites and go fly them. Fold paper airplanes and have contests to see who can fly them the furtherest. Buy a block of ice and find a hill to go iceblocking on.
There are plenty of free things to do if you look for them, and the newspapers generally display a page where there are community events. Many cities have outdoor concerts with the local children's groups, city symphonies, or other fun. Have you even thought about having movie night with your kids and their friends outside and actually taking the television or if you have a projector, outside and making popcorn to much on. Be sure to take out sleeping bags and either sleep in your pup tents or on top of the trampoline or even on the grass in your yard. Make it fun and tell ghost stories before bed. You can make your home the funnest place to be if you just get creative and do it. Budget your food for these day trips and outdoor adventures as part of your food budget so that you don't have to come up with extra money for the food.
I hope you have caught the vision of what I am suggesting. You may not be stimulating the economy by paying for hotels, or tickets on airlines, or tickets into amusement parks, but you will be stimulating your children with fun activities, and these are the things that they will remember. Your kids will have so many summer events and adventures, you children will have to go back to school to rest up from all the fun, and have to really think hard to pick the funnest one to write about what they did in the summer!
Happy Summer fun!
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