Sunday, June 7, 2015

10 (More) Summer "Stay"cations on a Budget!

Hi! I'm Ayn and I am a Ga. Pre-K teacher, serving 4 and 5 year olds in an inclusive setting. I share my classroom adventures on my blog, little illuminations

Last summer, I shared " 5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Enjoy Summer "Stay"cations" here on PreK+K Sharing. It was a popular post, and I've been asked for more ideas about things parents can do that are close to home and easy on the pocketbook. 

Visit the Zoo
Going to the zoo is as much fun as it is educational! Kids learn about animals from all over the world, and many times have the opportunity to interact with them up close. Many zoos offer picnic areas, which can help keep the cost down for families, since many times the food kiosks at the zoo can be a bit pricey.

$1 or Free Movies
Many movie theaters offer discounted movies for children in the summer. Usually, these are not the movies that are brand new releases, but are usually some great titles for kids! (Among the 20+ titles being offered in my area this summer are: "The Boxtrolls", "Annie" and "Earth to Echo"!) We have two theaters that offer these--one is free and the other offers $1 admission. Some will even offer a "Summer Pass" that allows you to visit each week. (BEWARE: often, the snacks are not discounted, as that is how they make up the price.) Plan a picnic in the park after the movie to make it a day! 

Visit a local farm
Many farms, especially dairy farms, offer tours and activities. Kids have fun and get a little education in on the side!

Go berry picking!
Check around your local area for strawberry or blueberry picking. Berry picking is easy, fun and a great way to nudge kids towards healthy snack options! Making ice cream or other treats later with your fresh picked berries is an added bonus!

See a play!
Local theater groups often do matinees or kids productions in the summer. Some even offer puppet shows. Also check with local colleges for budget productions. Often there are many options but due to budget limitations, they are not very well advertised. 

VBS (Vacation Bible School)
Vacation Bible School is a great way to keep kids busy and having fun! Most churches offer a VBS for free or a nominal fee, and most welcome anyone from the community, no matter what denomination you are! ( I even know a few families that plan their summer around the various VBS camps around town during the summer.) Our church is doing a science themed VBS camp later this month, with science experiments every day and a cookout and family celebration with inflatables on the last day. Everyone is welcome! The kids have SO much fun!!!

Take a class at your local craft store!
Michael's and Hobby Lobby (or your local craft store) often offer very low cost craft classes that include materials in the price. The kids can go, learn to make something new and take the product home as a souvenir!

Visit an art/pottery studio
Check your local phone book for art or pottery studios. Classes are usually budget friendly and a lot of fun for kids! Some even offer Mommy and Me or Daddy and Me classes! 

Decorate cupcakes!
Cupcake shops are all the rage now, and many offer "mini classes" for kids. Kids can go, decorate a cupcake then eat the artistry!

Go bowling, rollerskating or play miniature golf!
If you are looking for a day outing, check out your local roller rink, miniature golf course or bowling alley. Most offer deals in the summer that will allow for a half or full day of fun for a minimal cost!

What is your favorite "go to" spot for free or low cost activities for kids? If you have a great free/low cost daytrip suggestion, I'd love for you to share it in the comments! 

Stop by and visit me anytime at or visit the little illuminations fanpage on facebook! And be sure to check out PreK+K Sharing EEE!



  1. I love your ideas, and would like to post them on my music school's early childhood Facebook page for our families to see, but I can't because of the inclusion of VBS. We don't promote one religion over another.
    It's a pity you couldn't have just said camp, and included VBS as an option.

  2. Ayn I LOVE THIS!!! What a gift to families to have these ideas all in one place! I'm sharing it! Thank you for putting it together!

    1. Thank you, Carolyn!!! I remember when my kids were little we would try to find things to do in the summer on a budget. Hope this helps others find a little fun, too! :)


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