The best things in life are free, as the saying goes. Well, the person who says this probably didn’t need to pay for childcare or summer camp for their youngsters! Summertime can be a big financial burden on families especially if you want to give your babies a slice of fun. Here are some tips to help you save on Family Summertime Fun!
Many museums, zoos, and aquariums offer discount deals that allow a family to buy a membership which provides unlimited access to wonderful experiences. For example, my family belongs to the Bronx Zoo in NYC and after just two visits for the five of us, the membership has paid for itself! This allows us to break up the pressure of trying to see it all in one day and we find ourselves visiting their facilities many more times than if we tried to squeeze all the fun in one day. We find it important to note many memberships offer reciprocal privileges at their affiliated locations. For example, a membership with the Bronx Zoo also gives you access to the Queens Zoo, Central Park Zoo, and their facilities on Coney Island.
Many municipalities offer great summertime fun at no charge. Preserves, parks, town centers, public pools and spray parks allow families a chance to enjoy the summertime simply by being a member of that community. We recommend checking with your local township for their recreation guides for additional information. Spend the morning at one facility, then head home for lunch and visit another location in the afternoon or evening.
Many families think their library is only for school or literary-related activities like book clubs or simple story times, but many libraries are the centers for their communities. Libraries offer movies at night, parents’ nights out where children can be dropped off for playdates with their friends, summer reading programs with visits from magicians or musicians, and even parades through town. Don’t forget your library likely loans movies on DVD or Blu-Ray for those rainy summer evenings.
Join a parenting circle or a mommy group (or a daddy group) and alternate homes that you meet at. Maybe your friend Fran has a pool that you could use for the group of kids, but your friend Paula lives near a great park that your children can run and play at. Meet at local spots or alternate whose home you go to so that both you and your children feel like you’re getting out and feeling active.
Keep it Simple
Don’t feel pressure to do what other families are doing. We know this can be very hard when you see other families and friends on social media sharing their weekly trips to an awesome beach, or frequent visits to a super expensive theme park, but the memories you create with your baby can be very simple and sweet. Play in a sprinkler, walk in your neighborhood, or just blow bubbles on your front steps. Watch the birds, feed the chipmunks, encourage imaginative play by watching the clouds roll by while you’re resting on a cozy blanket in the park.
Summer is a wonderful reminder to spend time with our loved ones and we all want our families to have the most wonderful times together but sometimes the simple memories are the best ones.