What to do While We Wait for School

Summer vacation is half over (or almost over, for some of you). Unfortunately, July is the easy month – there are loads of camp options. But August has finally come, and we’ve got to make the most of it.

Let’s be honest: It’s not always easy to enjoy summer vacation. If you’re not a teacher, you don’t have summer off, and that means putting together a hodgepodge of childcare. Between grandparents, summer camps, babysitters, and days off, the summer months can cost a fortune. And then, to top it off, your kids want to have fun and visit attractions – almost as if they were tourists. How are you supposed to pay for all that?

Well, first of all, no one said you *have* to pay for all of it. It’s okay not to send your kids to summer camp, and it’s okay not to visit Disneyland every year, or even at all. Even museums aren’t a “must” for a happy vacation.Sun Smile

Here are three cheap alternatives. They’ll allow you to have a fun family vacation and save your family from unnecessary expenses.

  1. House swap.

Hotels aren’t cheap. And that last thing you need is to have to buy take-out food for three meals a day. If you have a friend or acquaintance who lives in a different city or state, why not suggest swapping homes for a week? You’ll each get a vacation, for the minimal price of gas and vacation days.

  1. Find the freebies.

Often, there are little-known attractions that have free days, or are cheap year-round. Do a little hunting and find some of those in your area. They may not be the most popular, but your family is sure to enjoy a unique, fun, experience.

Also remember that sometimes the more popular places have free days (or weeks). Just be warned that the lines may be long and the place packed.

  1. Think traditional.

Remember how, as a kid, you went to the beach, fished in the river, and built clubhouses in the woods? Your kids will probably enjoy those activities, too.

Take them on nature hikes, or let them play in the biggest, grassiest, park you can find. Let your kids explore the wonders of the outside, and find happiness in the natural world, sans screens and modern toys. It may take your kids a few days, but in the end, they’ll love the great outdoors – just like you do.

At the end of the day, remember that it’s not the quantity that makes a difference, but the quality. Choose a few high-quality, low-cost activities, and let your kids know that they’ll have a blast. And don’t forget to take time off, to enjoy the summer with them!

Your turn: What are *your* favorite summer activities??

By Chana Roberts


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