Summer weekends are the perfect time for family bonding. The kids are out of school and often out of extracurricular activities. The weather is typically gorgeous. Even parents sometimes have a bit more work flexibility during the summer months when lots of people are vacationing.
Add those together and you have weekends of togetherness that just can’t be duplicated elsewhere in the year.
So what can you do to fill those hours of freedom? Our family usually plans some big weekend activities during the summer where we can spend a full weekend day – or even an entire weekend – doing something together.
Of course, since we’re reasonable with our money, most of these activities are pretty cheap. We like activities that we all enjoy – and that don’t destroy our budget.
Here are the six biggies we have planned this summer.
Geocaching. For those unfamiliar, geocaching is a completely free scavenger hunt activity that anyone can try using GPS devices (a smartphone or a Garmin GPS device, for example). There are small “caches” hidden all around the world (probably even in your neighborhood) by volunteers who want to make geocaching fun. The thrill is finding them, and you can start by learning more at geocaching.com.
Geocaching makes for an absolutely wonderful weekend day trip, as it enables travel to the most unexpected of places. Almost every sufficiently large town near you likely has tons of geocaches available for your family to find. Not only that, many state and national parks have them too, making geocaching a great way to explore the outdoors in scavenger-hunt style.
Volunteering. There are countless opportunities to volunteer in your community, from cleaning up the parks and building a Habitat for Humanity house to collecting food for the food pantry and helping out at a soup kitchen. The needs in every community are tremendous, even if you don’t see them on the surface.
The best volunteer opportunities not only help fill your day with the joy of helping others, but can also teach you useful skills. For example, Habitat for Humanity can teach basic carpentry; a soup kitchen can teach food preparation and serving skills; and park work can teach botanical practices.
Festival-hopping. Within an hour or two of your home, you’ll likely find a lot of towns and cities hosting summer community festivals. Spend a day and go to one of them.
Watch the parades and the demonstrations. Take part in the activities, particularly if they’re culturally unusual. Sample different foods. It can all add up to a pretty fun day. If you’re worried about the cost, pack a picnic lunch and just enjoy a small snack or two while there.