Summer Fun Cheaply Done

by Diane Bergman

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Frugal friends, isn't summer a marvelous time of the year? There is so much to do for so little cost. So get inspired to make this summer memorable for you and your loved ones without squandering your money. You'll be glad you did!

Make a Kite

Did you know it's possible to make a workable kit with only a few common household items? All you need is a newspaper, scotch tape, scissors and string.

Teach Your Child Gardening

Take advantage of your child's need to explore and try new things. Have your child get involved in the magic of caring for and tending to the needs of nature. What a wonderful opportunity to teach your child to respect Mother Nature.

See Live Entertainment

In most major cities, you can take in live music concerts and live plays suitable for all ages during the summer months for free. All you need to bring with you is a lawn chair or a blanket and something to eat and drink. Look for upcoming events in your newspaper for details.

Visit a Bird Sanctuary

If you have never been to a bird sanctuary how about visiting this summer? My first experience at a bird sanctuary was very interesting and quite frankly rather exciting, too. I was followed by a pair of Canada geese throughout the afternoon, and I had a twig dropped on me by an angry bird feeling territorial. While remaining hidden by the foliage of a tree, only a loud angry squawk gave his whereabouts away. (I asked a hike guide and they told me this is normal.) Then after calming down while strolling along, I suddenly crossed paths with a wandering deer appearing more relaxed than I felt. Later I had a chuckle watching a duck immerse only his head into a river and then climb onto a large flat rock and bask in the sun. The duck eventually dozed off to sleep. If you ask me, that's a fair bit of entertainment for only an hour at the bird sanctuary.

So make a point of visiting this summer. You could enjoy yourself so much that you might decide to take up bird watching as a hobby. Give it a try. It's a rewarding experience.

Redecorate Your Child's Room to Their Taste

Just imagine your child's joy at having a bedroom that reflects their taste. The easy way is to decorate in their favorite color. For example, if your daughter's favorite color is purple, how about dyeing the curtains and bedspread purple for an instant change. Plus you could buy secondhand baskets and spray paint them purple and display them on a bookcase that is painted rose or gray or simply white. The baskets could be used for storing all the little things girls collect from craft items to special treasures. Then you could finish the room off with artificial purple flowers in secondhand vases. Better yet, place an African violet (purple of course) near the window.

If you have your daughter involved in the redecorating process, she will feel a sense of accomplishment once the room is completed and will probably have a few ideas of her own to throw in.

Go to Country Fairs

Bring the children with you the next time you go to an art and crafts show so that they will learn the value of homemade items. Use the opportunity to impress upon them the quality of the work compared to what you purchase in a store. Who knows, your children may get inspired to take up a new craft.

Make Some Art

Take advantage of the good weather to make something art related. You could press flowers from your garden and make beautiful pictures to display. In fact, people pay good money for such pictures at craft shows.

Have you ever taken a pad of drawing paper to the park with artist pencils and spent some time sketching? Or how about bringing a child's watercolor set and watercolor paper to try some painting? It doesn't matter if you have no talent. Just have fun and get in touch with your creative side. Maybe you will create a charming work of art suitable for framing that you can display in your home. Being uncertain of my talents, I keep my best drawings framed and displayed discreetly in my bedroom. Fond memories surface of making the pictures when I glance at my creations. You can get the children involved or try it for a purely meditative experience just for you.

Turn Ordinary Rocks into Colorful Animals

Bring your children to the park and tell them to choose rocks in animal shapes. Next, encourage them to use their imagination to make the animal they see in the rock. Paint the rocks with non-toxic paint, making little turtles, bunnies and whatever else they see. After they are dry, they can be used for decorating plants by placing them on the soil. Remember that the rocks are not waterproof. The children can also display the rocks on their dresser. How about painting larger rocks to display outside on the front stairs? You will need to varnish the rocks for protection from the elements. Only adults are to do the varnishing because it's extremely toxic.

Invest in a Badminton Set for the Backyard

When it comes to thrifty fun, you can't beat a game of badminton and a barbecue in the backyard. People I know have been entertaining family and friends on Sunday afternoons for years this way.

The barbecue isn't anything fancy, just the usual fare of hotdogs or hamburgers and a couple of salads and ice cream for dessert. Some of the guests bring a dish such as Jell-O salad or fresh fruit.

However, the highlight of the afternoon is either playing badminton or watching everyone else make a spectacle of themselves trying to win. It's not long before everyone from children to seniors are laughing or at least smiling. It's nice to see everyone come together over a simple game of badminton.

So as you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to have a great time this summer that are easy on the budget. Don't use lack of money as an excuse. Get out there and have some fun!

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