Creative Child

7 Cheap Ways to Make Epic Summer Memories

by Rebecca Eanes

Many families are fortunate to be able to take their children to Disney every year or spend a week building sand castles by the sea, but there are also many families for whom such extravagant vacations are out of reach. When I was a kid, we never took a family vacation. My parents simply couldn’t afford it, yet my summers were my happiest times because I was free to play. We spent many days lounging by the lake while my father and I caught bluegill. We’d bring our own sandwiches, so the cost for us was simply the price of our fishing licenses. We’d visit a small-town amusement park every summer where $6.95 bought you an all-day hand stamp to ride until closing. I never saw the beach or Disney World, yet I have some pretty epic summer memories proving that happy memories come from more than extravagant trips. The best memories are of time spent happily together with family. With this in mind, here is a list of affordable (and often free!) ways to make epic summer memories with your children this year.

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1. Explore your local parks and forests. We are fortunate to live close to a beautiful state forest, and we love to hike the kid-friendly trails. AllTrails is a great app for finding local trails to take your children on. See if your park has a Junior Ranger program. Make it epic by giving your child a camera and let her be a nature photographer for a day. Then print the photos she takes and make an album with her.

2. Spend a day fishing or lounging by the lake or pond (or beach if you live nearby). Scour your area for a great fishing hole, lather them up with sunscreen, pack a few sandwiches and snacks, and be on your way. Some places allow you to rent paddle boats for reasonable prices, and many have playgrounds. Bring some crackers or bread in case there are ducks. Even if fishing isn’t your cup of tea, just spending time near the water is relaxing. Make it epic by listening to a great summer playlist and dancing by the water with your little ones.

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