Written by Spotloan

Summer means the kids are out of school and looking for all sorts of fun to do. But so many of the most desirable Summer activities cost an arm and a leg–big vacations, amusement park entry fees, and even something as simple as going out to see a movie now costs big money and can blow even the best-planned budget if you’re not careful.

So what are some easy and fun Summer activities that don’t cost much (or any) money to get up and running? What can you do to have a great Summer with your kids without breaking the bank?

  1. Check your city’s events calendar

You’ve got work, you’ve got chores to do, you’ve got errands to run–the last thing you need is the stress of planning every single family activity from scratch. So why not check out what’s already going on in your area? Cities and towns want citizens to get out and about and enjoy what they have to offer, and many have free or low-cost event programs that run throughout the Summer to encourage people to check out the town. 

From street fairs and festivals to movies or music in the parks, these events are a great way to explore your town, meet your neighbors, and break out of your day-to-day routine without having to splurge on big-ticket entry fees or expenses. So check your local municipal events calendar to see if there are any pre-planned activities that you and your family can just show up and enjoy, no money required!

  1. Plan a picnic with friends and family

If you do want to plan something yourself, there are plenty of low-cost activities you can put on for your friends and family that will get you out and enjoy the Summer weather. If your town has a park, lake, nature center, or other outdoor public space, try planning a picnic for you and your loved ones. Post up at a picnic table or pavilion, bring some low-cost grilling options, and invite your friends, your kids’ friends, your neighbors, anybody who wants to show up! You can bring your favorite lawn games, a little speaker to play some music, and just enjoy the sunshine and the good vibes.

Best of all, a picnic is a great way to share the cost burden with others–very few people will object if you ask them to bring some disposable plates, a pack of pop, or a bag of chips. If everyone contributes something potluck-style, you’ll be amazed at how little money you end up spending on a simple Summer gathering that everyone will remember fondly.

  1. Stay cool in the pool

Of course, nothing screams “Summer” like a water slide–that’s just obvious! While theme park and water park entry tickets are often prohibitively expensive for many families, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some cooling water activities on the cheap.

If you’re not familiar with your city’s parks already, hop online and do a little research–you’ll often be blown away when you see the pools, splash pads, and even water parks or recreation centers that are run by local governments. While they may not be the big-name attractions of the privately run parks, they’re often cheap or free to use, offer some great amenities, and trust us–once your kids are in the water, they won’t care that they aren’t at Six Flags.

  1. Pick up a new sport or hobby using local resources

School may be out for the Summer, but that doesn’t mean any of us stop learning–Summertime is a great opportunity to put down the books and pick up a more hands-on skill, sport, or hobby. Once again, local government resources are your best friends, as it’s the easiest way to find kids’ sports leagues which often have low costs of entry or subsidized options available for low-income youth. 

If team sports aren’t your kid’s jam, don’t be afraid to reach out to your broader community to help cover costs. Does your kid want to pick up skateboarding? There’s almost certainly a family in your town or even your neighborhood that’s got a board, helmet, and pads from back when their kid tried to pick up the hobby. Interested in archery? Local clubs and hobbyist groups are often full of people willing to offer their time, knowledge, and equipment to help newcomers get involved in their passions. Checking out local Facebook groups, NextDoor pages, and other community communication spaces can help you find the resources you need within your limited budget.

Spotloan: A Smarter Way to Borrow

Summer should be a time for fun and games, but it can also be a stressor on your budget. Even when taking advantage of all the fun free activities at hand, sometimes you still need some extra help. At Spotloan, our simple online application process can help you qualify for the money you need, even if you have bad credit or need a loan quickly. All you have to do is go fill out our application to see if you qualify, and you could receive a decision within minutes. Fill out our application now!