Summer is filled with possibilities. As you dream of giving your kids the best time of their lives, know that you don’t have to spend a fortune going to the movies, water parks, or other pricey destinations. Whether your kids are little or in their teens, there are lots of engaging, fun, and educational summer activities you and your family can enjoy – without traveling too far or spending too much.
Take a Summer Day Trip
California is full of interesting museums, tours, and fun activities for kids. Get inspired by your children’s hobbies. If your child loves photography, take her to a photo exhibit during free admission days at nearby museums. If your kids are fascinated by machinery, California is full of companies that produce everything from candy and blue jeans to guitars and computer chips. Many give free tours. Call ahead for information.
There is no better way to teach your teens the importance of giving than by volunteering as a family. After discussing possible ideas, check websites for age-appropriate opportunities. Some ideas to get you started include serving at homeless shelters, animal rescues, nursing homes, food drives, bake sales, charity walks, and community clean up days.
Learn Something New
If you and your child share a common interest, watch free instruction videos on YouTube™ to learn a new hobby or skill together. Find age-appropriate, hands-on science experiments for little ones. Your local library probably offers some fun, free events or programs that will be great for your kids.
Visit Free Festivals and Outdoor Events
California offers a great variety of free family events. Check the websites of nearby cities and community organizations to see what’s coming up, then enjoy a fun day or evening at local music, arts, or holiday festivals. It won’t cost you a cent to hear live music, dance in the streets, or watch live kids’ events like theater performances. With any luck, the evening will culminate in an enormous fireworks display.
Explore California’s Natural Beauty
No matter where you live in California, you’re never far from a state (or national) park, beach, forest, lake, or hiking trail. Help your kids discover aquatic creatures living in a tide pool. Take advantage of any free talks by park rangers, astronomers and others who will help you understand nature in new ways. The possibilities are as endless as they are inexpensive.
Get Creative at Home
When it comes to quality time with your children, what could be better than a silly family activity? Try a photo scavenger hunt (complete with prizes for most outrageous faces, creative use of props, or the photo that gets the most laughs). Compete to see who finds the best $1 bargain at a local yard sale or flea market. Host backyard karaoke for friends and neighbors. If it rains, camp indoors in a fort you build on your living room floor. Whatever you do, you’re sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Keep Them Learning All Summer Long
Your kids may be off from school, but the summer offers lots of opportunities for teachable moments, especially when it comes to practical skills like saving and managing money. From helping little ones save money in jars to teaching older kids how to budget their summer job money, you’ll find lots of ways to teach kids about the importance of saving money, spending wisely, and making good financial decisions.
Along with teaching your child how to be smart with money, opening a savings account for them is one of the best ways to support their long-term financial literacy. USECU’s Youth Savings Account is a great first step. You and your child can start saving with as little as $25.