It’s happening! All across the country, the tassels are flipping, mortarboards are being tossed on high school and college campuses. Grade school kids are dashing out the front doors of their school buildings on the last day of school to being their 2023 summer break. It’s time to start planning some family fun! If you’re in the same boat with many other parents who have been hit hard by rising costs that stem from inflation, you’ll want to read on for some great summer ideas that are big on fun but easy on the pocketbook.
This year, a lot of parents are lamenting their lack of funds. Many are accustomed to taking beach vacations every year. This year is different, they say. They’re struggling just to be able to afford groceries, much less rent a beachfront house for a week. Last year, we shared these creative ideas for summer time family fun. With those ideas and the ones we’re about to share in this post, you’ll have a a full slate of fun activities to spend quality and build memories with your family!
Add painted rocks to your summer ideas
Several years ago, “hiding painted rocks” was trending on Facebook. All over the country, people were creating pages on the social media site so that others could share pics of the rocks they painted and/or discovered. A woman started the “Kindness Rocks” project started after her parents died. It seems several people in various parts of the country had similar ideas and wanted to spread cheer and joy to others. It caught on like wildfire. Soon others were creating similar pages for their hometowns. Take a look at this video about the woman who started it all:
To enjoy this as a family activity, simply gather some rocks, preferably with at least one flat surface on them. You’ll also need some paints and brushes. Paint whatever you want on your rocks. Some people create abstract designs. Others, especially those who have great artistic talent, paint intricate scenes of flowers or woodland critters or anything their hearts desire. It’s not uncommon to add text to the rocks. Many people paint on words like “Smile! God loves you!” or “Have a great day!” or some other friendly, cheerful phrase. You can also add a tiny label that names your town, so finders know where the rock came from. (You might also launch a page for people to share, in which case, you’d add the url to that site on your rock label. Just make sure you choose a platform that allows others to upload images.)
Next, comes the part that’s most fun
Hide your painted rocks somewhere! It can be in your own community or you can venture off to other towns, as well. Common locations to hide rocks include in the shrubbery or gravel outside a bank or restaurant or library, in a park, in a church, at a truck stop or convenience store, or anywhere that gets a lot of foot traffic. This is a fun, inexpensive activity that will bring people lots of cheer this summer. And, now that you know that hiding rocks is a thing, be on the lookout for some when your family goes outdoors!
Find the nearest free outdoor concert
There’s nothing like great music, fresh outdoor air and family time! When you wrap all three of these into one, you’ve got some great summer ideas for ways to have big fun for little expense. Your local community center or state park headquarters can probably tell you which parks or national landmark locations are hosting free concerts this summer.
For instance, if you happen to live in or near Pennsylvania, you’ll be excited to know that the Washington Memorial at Valley Forge hosts free concerts during summer! In West Virginia, you can contact Berkeley Springs State Park (the smallest state park in the nation!) to find out when there are free concerts happening at the gazebo. (While you’re there, you can visit “George Washington’s bathtub,” which exists among the outdoor springs that run through the grounds of the park. Look it up! It’s worth a visit!) Wherever you live, find out who is hosting free music events this summer, and enjoy!
Install a bird identification app and go exploring
Another great activity for your family to enjoy this summer is bird-watching. This app works with Apple or Android. At the click of a button, it records whatever birdsong you’re hearing, then identifies the bird for you! You can expand this activity by having each member of the family create a bird nature journal. Take your journals with you on your outings.
You can either photograph the birds you find or sketch them into your journal. When you get back home, spend time learning more about each bird. Depending on how detailed you want your journal to be, you can add the scientific classifications, a short bio about each bird and where you were when you discovered it.
Summer ideas full of big fun at low cost
Some of the summer ideas mentioned above require gas money, if you have to drive to get there. You might also need to purchase a few supplies, such as paints, brushes, a journal. Before spending, however, check to see what you might be able to make at home with what you have on hand.
We’d love to hear some of your best summer ideas for big fun at low cost. We invite you to share your thoughts in the comment section under this post on our Facebook page!