Cheap Ways for Your Kids to Spend Their Summer Break

A person swinging into a body of water.

Just over half of people in the U.S. plan to take a trip this summer. And a surprising number of those folks – 36%, according to BankRate – admit they will accrue some debt in the process.

If you are among the half of families that plan to stay put, there are still many exciting, fun and even educational activities to keep the summer alive for children at home without costing too much. And if you are among those taking on debt, teaching your offspring about financial literacy can be part of your plans when you get back!

Enjoy Outdoor Movies, Theater, Music and Nature

Families should kick off the summer season with a little research. Summer flies by fast, and it’s easy to miss out on all the family-oriented activities that are dormant in colder months. As you explore nearby activities, consider these five low-cost activities that can appeal to people of all ages:

  1. Local Zoos and Nature Reserves. The animals are coming out of their hiding just like flowers and plants are in bloom.
  2. Historic Sites and Walking Tours. Be a tourist in your own town or one nearby. If there isn’t a formal walking tour, make up your own!
  3. Outdoor Music, Theater and Other Free Performances. Chances are there is free or low-cost entertainment not too far from home.
  4. Day Tripping. Visit enticing nearby sites within driving distance or reachable on your local train or bus lines.
  5. Beaches, Rivers and Lakes. When was the last time you explored a waterfront as a family? Those views never get old. Dip in your toes or go for a swim.

Teach Kids About Nutrition AND Money: Shop and Prepare Picnics Together

What better way to teach your kids about money than through food? Summer is the perfect season for teaching kids about nutrition – and providing them with helpful instructions about meal prep. Fruits and veggies are fresh and delicious this time of year, making it easier to find light, healthy snacks and meals to enjoy as a family.

Although the economy is strong, many folks still struggle to afford the high cost of food. But that challenge is what makes this topic both relevant and teachable for teenagers and other young people. Here are a few ways to wrap lessons into your food-related activities:

  1. Make a meal budget. Kids learn better when they’re involved in a project. This is also an opportunity to educate them about the value of a dollar so they become mindful of spending and saving when they are older.
  2. Look up recipes together. Start with a couple ingredients you both enjoy. If chicken is your shared item, look up different sauces so you both discover something new and tasty.
  3. Discuss cost comparisons of food items. As you explore recipes, keep in mind that food budget you discussed earlier. If you’re planning a meal for $30 for the family, make a list of ingredients you have versus ones that need to be purchased. Are there any sales you can take advantage of? Some products can be swapped with similar items. Kids will learn many lessons, including the versatility of cooking, what makes things taste a certain way, and the cost of feeding a family.
  4. Go food shopping – and compare unit prices. Getting kids involved in grocery shopping is another effective way to keep them involved in family activities while learning vital life lessons. Give them an item to find in the store and have them compare unit prices so they know how to select the least pricey brands.
  5. Plan a picnic. Why limit your food activities when you have a whole summer to fill? Picnics are perfect for combining a number of activities anyone can enjoy. Discovering a new park. Taking in a gorgeous view. Getting together with friends. And paying attention to the price tag of it all. Your children can choose their favorite snack, help you pack it up, and bring activities they will enjoy outdoors with the rest of the group.

Let Currency Exchange Services Help You with Your Summer Finances

One last thing – bring your child to the nearest Community Financial Service Center (CFSC) to take advantage of our many personal finance and auto-related services. Teach them to cash a check or load money on your prepaid debit card, and even consider giving your teenager their own prepaid card for expenses. These little money lessons are a great way to help young people become more money conscious so that they don’t overspend when away from home.

Come to the CFSC near you and find out what else we can do for you this summer.

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