Ready for Summer!

While I do realize that summer has been in full-swing here in Florida (just ask my sweat-o-meter!!), it doesn’t feel as if it’s really started until my kids arrive from Maryland.  Next week, I will be making my trip up north to attend their end of the year festivities at school.  My son Nathan called me a couple of days ago to invite me to his end-of-year picnic.  Of course I’m going!  I love seeing them interact with their friends and teachers at school.  I try to be as involved as I can be from 1000 miles away.  Field trips, fundraisers, string concerts…anything I can do to show them that I support them in everything they’re doing!  My daughter will be graduating from 5th grade on Monday, and I will also be there to see that.  Once they’re out of school, it will be just a matter of days before we make our trip back south to my house.  The kids always look forward to their time here.  It’s not like we live at amusement parks all summer…we just do normal “summer” activities together.  Swimming, biking, playing at the beach, family barbecues, shopping, cooking, movie nights…I like to pack as much action into their summer breaks as I can!  For me, this usually means being on the go constantly!  Last summer it was really tough because I was pregnant, working full-time, going to school full-time, and basically just completely exhausted all the time.  This summer, the only thing that will distract me from them is their new little brother.  No work, no school…just lots of fun in store!

With any luck, our adventures are making memories they’ll have for a lifetime.  I can remember summers when I was a kid and we always had lots of fun, even if we weren’t spending tons of cash.  Here’s a list of some of our favorite budget-friendly summer activities!

  • Library!  Yes, I know to some kids that might sound really boring, but our local library (and I bet yours as well) has some wonderful childrens’ programs for the summer.  Whether it’s a summer reading program, story-time, or arts and crafts, the kids can participate for free and it’s a great way to break up the week!  Here’s a link to the activities at the Melbourne Beach Public Library!
  • The pool!  Luckily, we have a pool in our backyard.  If you’re not as privileged, you can always visit your local pool, usually operated by the county’s Parks and Recreation department.  For a list of swim locations and open swim times, contact Brevard County Parks and Recreation, or your local parks and rec!
  • Visit your local Bookstore!  Yes, another activity that at first glance might look really boring to your 8 year old…but trust me!  Our local Barnes and Noble bookstore has lots of monthly activities for kids of all ages!  Check out the Barnes and Noble website and find a list of events near you!
  • The beach! This is one of the more “difficult” trips of ours.  Difficult because of the amount of preparation required–everyone has to be slathered with sunblock, suited up, towels packed, sandtoys packed, drinks and snacks packed, umbrella and chairs packed, reading material for Mom packed.  Now with a new baby to tote along, there is even more gear that is necessary.  However, it’s all stuff that we have here at the house and can be loaded up in our beach cart or stroller and toted over there.  The next part of the trip that is difficult is watching 4 children alone at the beach.  I try to reserve these trips for when my husband, or another responsible adult, is available to attend with us.  It’s no fun to go to the beach if nobody is allowed to get in the water!  Just a tip, head to a beach that is monitored by lifeguards!  For a list of lifeguard manned beaches in Brevard County, click here.  You will have to scroll down to almost the bottom of the page to view the list.
  • Make a summer scrapbook together.  If you’re like me, you’re WAY behind on scrapbooking.  I have tons of blank scrapbook pages, stickers, paper and lots of pictures.  My favorite scrapbooking supplies are from Creative Memories.  You can order the materials online, without having to attend a party or in-home show!  Take lots of pictures of your summer-fun activities, then have your kids make their own pages that they can show their friends when school starts back up.  These pages will serve as memories that will last long past their childhood.
  • Visit your local zoo!  We have an annual family membership to the Brevard Zoo.  This allows us to visit the zoo anytime we want, with no admission cost.  The membership was around $100, and that pays for itself within just a couple of visits!  The kids love watching the animals, and the zoo is small enough that we can see everything there in a couple of hours.  The best part is they have the Paws On exhibit, where the kids can take part in water play to cool off during those hot summer days!  If you don’t have an annual membership, and you can’t afford one, the zoo also offers $5 admission on Summer Saturday Nights!  Check out their website here for a list of all the upcoming events and other information.

These are just a few ideas to keep boredom at bay over the summer.  Feel free to share with me some of your favorite budget-friendly activities!!

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