What can you do to have a frugal and fun summer in Western New York? There is certainly no end to the expensive things you can do to keep the kids entertained in the summer, but what can you do that will not cost you lots and lots of money? Here are a dozen ideas for frugal and fun summer activities.
- Go to the local pool in your community. Most charge a nominal fee. The Kohler Pool in the City of Tonawanda charges $5 for a Youth Pass (ages 5-17) and $7 for an adult pass (ages 18+) for residents. Non-resident fee is $12 ages 5+.
- No community pool? Buy a sprinkler and a garden hose. A good quality garden hose will set you back about $15, the sprinkler about $7. Hook it up to the outside water source at your home, and away you go. This should provide hours of entertainment for young and old alike, and keep you cool. The cost of the water is nominal. If you do not have the money to spend on a hose and sprinkler, check out local thrift stores or join your local Freecycle group and ask for those items. You would be surprised what people will be happy to give away.
- Make water balloons and have a water balloon fight. You can buy balloons at the Dollar Tree for $1 and you get about 50 balloons of all sizes and shapes. At Family Dollar you can buy 100 balloons of all shapes and sizes for $2. Fill the water balloons up inside the house and put them in a big pail if you don’t have a water source outside the home.
- Make your own slip-n-slide. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a store bought one, you can make your own. You can find easy instructions for making your own slip-n-slide here.
- Go to the library. Library cards are usually free or have a small fee attached in most communities. To find a library near you in Buffalo & Erie County click here. To find a library in Niagara County click here. Libraries not only have books, but magazines, newspapers, movies on VHS and DVD, music CDs, audio books and activities.
- Need a vacation that won’t break the bank? How about camping? You don’t need to spend a fortune on an RV or a tent and camping equipment. You can use your linens and cooking items from home or search for a KOA Kampground that provides those items. Click here to find a KOA locations anywhere in the United States and Canada. Each KOA Kampground has its own set of activities, you will want to check each KOA Kampgrounds individual page. Another great way to take the family camping without the expense of renting or owning an RV, tents and camping equipment is Jellystone Campgrounds.
- Drive-in movie theaters are very family budget friendly. You can bring your own snacks and drinks and see two movies for about $8 per adult and $5 per child. At most drive-in theaters children under 5 are free. Locally check out the Transit Drive-in Theater.
- Shakespeare in Delaware Park runs Tuesdays through Sundays from from June until August. All shows are free and appropriate for all ages. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy.
- Artpark offers many inexpensive and free activities for the whole family, including Tuesdays at Artpark concert series. Tickets cost $5, but the cost goes up to $10 a few days before the concerts. No outside food or beverage is allowed. Parking for automobiles is $5, and motorcycles pay $3 for parking. Visit the Artpark website for more information regarding Tuesdays at Artpark and other activities.
- In Lockport, along the Erie Canal you can find the Molson Friday Night Free Concerts. Free parking is limited, and you may have to pay to park in a lot (prices vary). No outside food or beverage is allowed.
- In the City of Tonawanda at Gateway Harbor Park you can enjoy free concerts on Wednesday and Friday nights. Free parking is limited and you may have to pay to park in a lot (prices vary). No outside food or beverage is allowed.
- Host a potluck block party or family barbecue. Ask neighbors, friends and family to bring a favorite dish to pass, a package of hot dogs or hamburgers and a beverage. Provide ice, condiments, paper products, cups, plastic utensils, hot dog and hamburger buns, charcoal and lighter fluid for your guests. Pick up marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers to make s’mores for dessert. You should shop for your items at Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Save-A-Lot, Aldi or Price Rite to get the best deals.
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