Home > 2014 > Personal Finance

10 Low-Cost Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained This Summer

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

Summer is coming quickly, and with it comes school vacation. If you need some ideas to keep your kids busy this summer, we have some fun and educational suggestions that don’t cost a lot.

1. Giant Yard Twister

This one is really fun and works for all ages. Instructables has a tutorial with photographs on how to put it together, but basically you’re spray painting circles onto your yard. One reader suggested you instead paint the circles on a big sheet of builder plastic so that the game is portable (plus you’ve spared your grass).

After they dry, turn the kids loose. You can spin the board if you have one, or just call out random combinations of hands and feet on the circles.

2. ABC Scavenger Hunt

What a fun and educational one this is for preschoolers. Choose a letter such as B. Place things around the room or yard that begin with that letter, like a balloon, baseball, bucket, baby doll, blanket. Then have your child find them.

You can customize the container to place them in, like using a basket to collect all of the B items. You could even have the child color a large picture of the letter and keep that on the refrigerator all week.

3. Make Homemade Play-Doh

I have a favorite homemade Play-Doh recipe that I’ve been using for years. It’s fast, simple, and better than any of the other ones out there, in my humble opinion. Luckily for you, I’m willing to share.

Mix together:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar

After you’ve mixed those together, slowly add:

  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons flavoring (My favorite combination is mint flavoring with green food coloring.)

Cook together over medium heat until the mixture pulls away from the side of the pan. Allow to cool, and then use cookie cutters, rolling pins, or whatever else you have on hand to play with it.

4. Play Baseball With Pool Noodles & Balloons

This one is really fun because the noodles and balloons are so much bigger than a bat and ball. Preschoolers should love the giant size that they can still handle.

5. Make Homemade Orange Julius

As much as I like to make green smoothies (camouflaged with berries to turn them purple), I thought I’d include a recipe for a homemade Orange Julius. It’s so simple.

  • 1 6-ounce container of frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring
  • 10 to 12 ice cubes

Mix together in the blender and voila — you have homemade Orange Julius. Next time you can use frozen berries, spinach, vanilla, a little honey, and milk or water. The kids may never know how sneaky and health conscious you are.

6. Catch & Observe Insects

When my daughter was younger, she had the coolest little container that would hold insects. It was clear plastic and had a magnifying viewer.

I found this similar one that I think is really nifty and great for those of us who never want to touch a bug. Of course, if you really want to go crazy, you could give them an ant farm.

All you really need to do, though, is to walk outside and look around.

7. Make Bark Rubbings

Go out into your yard or a nearby park with some paper and crayons. Find a great tree with nice bark. Peel off the paper from the side of the crayon. Place the big paper on the bark of the tree and rub with the side of the crayon.

Art projects don’t get much simpler than this, and it’s great for nature lovers. Identifying the tree can add more educational value to this, but I recommend keeping it fun and pressure-free.

8. Make a Model

Model cars and airplanes are fun. If you are looking for something different, Dover Publications has some great model castles, buildings and trains that require little more than a glue stick and some time. This really should be a fun experience.

9. Draw a Life-Sized Self-Portrait

Get some freezer paper and cut a piece that is longer than your child. Lay it on the floor and have them lie on top of it. Trace around your child.

Let them draw in their own hair, eyes, mouth, clothing, etc. These are great and fun to hang on a door or wall.

10. Download a Free Classic Audiobook to Take on Road Trips

My favorite place to download free audiobooks is LibriVox. It has many classic children’s books in its catalog. They’re older books that are in the public domain, but they have stood the test of time.

All of these are free, and the readers who record the books are volunteers. This means you may like some readers better than others, but there really are some good ones who have donated their time.

Your children can enjoy a summer with activities that won’t cost you a fortune. For more ideas, see “10 Fun and Inexpensive Things to Do With Your Child This Weekend.”

This post originally appeared on Money Talks News.

More from Money Talks News:


Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team