Hey friends, I hope you’re having a wonderful and blissful August so far. Here on the east coast we still have about a month of summer vacation left before we start seeing the public + private school students going back to class – and the buses rolling by (it’s always a signal to us that fall is almost here even if it isn’t yet!). If you’re elsewhere you may already be experiencing this.
As much as I LOVE the change of seasons with each one having its very own beauty, and fun loving activities to enjoy – there’s something so soul soothing about the summer’s gorgeous bright sun, and the magical shimmering of the ocean. Because of that I’m making it a point to soak up as much summer as possible these next 2 weeks, and hope you’ll join me in what we have planned if you’re desiring the same.
Because August can be such a tricky month financially – with new curriculum buying, replenishing of Homeschooling supplies (the back to school sales definitely help), and new fall wardrobe shopping – its important for our family to stay on a budget. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, even homeschoolers have expenses around September time! For instance, we’ve had several museum renewals roll in, as well as our annual HSLDA fee. If you’re a part of a coop – many of them have fees due in the summer, or at the very beginning of September. Because of that, today I wanted to share with you some low cost or free end of summer bucket list ideas for your last days of summer.
In today’s video below I’m sharing my Top Tips to stay within budget and avoid overspending in the summer. Let’s dive into the ideas first!
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No 1. Beach Nature Walk During a Different Time of Day
If you’re anything like me you tend to go to the beach during a certain time of day when prices are usually higher (the weekends), or when there’s a fee (morning, mid day, early afternoon). Instead, why not head out to the beach one last time during an unexpected time of day for a different experience?
Say at night – or during the later afternoon (or even during sunrise!) when there isn’t an admission.
Our family is planning to go at night to stargaze and constellation find this month.
Tip: Make sure to stay far away from the shore line and bring flashlights etc. Also take note of any closing times or rules about night time beach going. You don’t want to get ticketed or fined! Most of the info is usually on the beach or county websites. Otherwise call to double check.
To hang at night bring a constellation book like this fun Glow in the Dark Constellation Book below to make it easier to identify the stars.
Bring binoculars, a warm blanket, and flameless lanterns to create a cozy summer hygge atmosphere. If it’s allowed roast yummy smores, or pack some soup or hot chocolate in a canteen.
On the east coast there’s a slew of free beaches to visit which makes it very affordable to get loads of summer fun on a budget. Most of all of the all-day-free beaches are along the bay areas, or further along the southern coast near Wildwood.
No 2. Visit a Community Garden
We’re very close to New York City where community gardens are plentiful and free. There’s also many gardens throughout NJ to explore. Many of them have themes or specialties they’re niched around such as : water gardens for preservation or collection, food growing/urban farming, or cultural awareness – highlighting the cultures (art, music, country), or ethnicities prominent in the area. Seek out a theme your child may be interested in.
Wandering through a garden is such a magical childhood experience. Aside from the obvious talking points about a garden – I love the idea of reading a fairy tale book, or looking for “garden” fairies while you’re there. Another idea you can try is creating a fairy house if it’s allowed for others to enjoy. My children love to making fairy homes simply using leaves, twigs and rocks.
One of our favorite community gardens in the city is The Creative Little Garden on the Lower East Side near our grandparents’ digs.
No. 3 Visit a Park in a Nearby State
If you’ve visited every, single, local park in your area, hop over to a nearby state and visit one of their best parks. Not only will it be a great change of scenery, but I find this to be one of the easiest ways to introduce and learn about different cultural nuances from state to state. It’s also lots of fun to see how landmarks like every town’s city hall – differs throughout a region. I absolutely love that it helps hone observational/research skills in a very seamless indirect way.
If your budget allows for it, check out a local eatery that’s considered among locals an important staple of the community you’re visiting (chat it up with the locals!).
No. 4 Visit a Town Museum or Historical Landmark.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram you already know we’ve been sticking to local or community events. Our town has a few historical houses, and museums that we’ve either never visited – or can dig more deeply into its’ history, now that my children are older. If you want to help your children develop a pride and love for the community they are growing up in – make it a tradition to take a picture at a landmark each time you visit for a fun “time progression” they can look back to fondly.
No. 5 Participate in #ChalktheWalks
Chalk the Walks is a project created by the organization The Joy Project. The purpose of the sidewalk chalk project is to “spread joy, optimism and inspiration through the magical power of sidewalk chalk.”
I instantly fell in love with how thoughtful and simple this idea is, and how easy it is for children to join in on spreading love & kindness out into the world. I found it online, and it’s very similar to the kindness rocks idea you’ve probably seen circulating around this summer.
I like the sidewalk chalk idea more – because when considering smaller hands who do better with bigger and wider strokes, this idea fits much better. Whereas, the kindness rocks require fine motor strength and dexterity needed to paint words on small rocks, younger children may not be able to do as well. Side Walk Chalk messages is a wonderful alternative for younger children.
If you decide to join in on spreading a blissful message please tag me (@blisslived), I’d love to see what your children create. On social media you can search and use the organization’s hashtag #chalkthewalk to see other families’ works and to connect with one another.
No. 6 Go to Your Favorite Spraypark One Last Time. While you’re there add a special, memorable twist like having a picnic.
We visited a fun new spraypark this week with 2 fellow YouTube Moms and their lovely children. We haven’t had a picnic outdoors yet this year, so I’m planning to do this during our next family trip at one of our favorite spray parks.
No. 7 Have a Water Balloon Fight During the Day & Play Glow in the Dark Tic Tac Toe at Night.
Water balloon fights never get old. If you don’t have water balloons to use, as an alternative – grab old or broken pool noodles and cut them up for some fun pool noodle art-stamping with paint. At night, play glow-in-the-dark tic tac toe outdoors, or around the house.
No. 8 Play in the rain.
We’ve had so much random rain this summer, and because of it it’s been difficult to make solid outdoor plans.
However, a simple change in mindset can turn a disappointing day into a fun one. Go out and play in nature’s spray park!
It’s amazing what a simple mindset shift can do to your family life. Embrace the bliss of the rain and get out and play. It’s one of our favorite things to do. If you haven’t done this yet, or haven’t in awhile – make it a point to try get to this one (put a heart on it, in the Printable checklist below).
No. 9 See a Summer Matinee at the Theatre or Host One at Your House.
Stock up on delicious snacks and if you invite friends over – create a carryable concession stand just for kicks to serve the kiddies. My kids love fun surprises like this! They love seeing mom or dad “in character”, and usually topple over one another in laughter at how hilarious we look.
No. 10 Use Those Tickets You Bought and Haven’t Used Yet, or Your Memberships Before They Expire.
Things like – the tickets to the amusement parks you bought for a very discounted price through a Homeschool group in the winter or spring (!). This one right here is me mamas! I need to use tickets before they expire this summer.
Just this week I also received two notices that our memberships to Liberty Science Center and the Crayola Factory were coming to a close. Although we’ve visited them extensively this year with friends or as a family – why not visit one last time? During each season exhibits, and program offerings change – so if you’re on a budget this is an easy and instant way to add to your summer experience.
My children love these museums so much they’re not likely to care, but if your brood might not be up for it – make sure to play up the new offerings as much as possible or add in a park pit-stop you haven’t been to – to make the experience more novel and exciting.
No. 11 Host an End of Summer Garage Sale.
At the beginning of August I audit our Fall and Winter wardrobes to see what still fits, is still wearable, and/or comfortable. Whatever doesn’t make the cut gets lovingly donated to a family, OR becomes a possible stream of income for the children. My brother is an avid garage sale thrower so we usually join him or get a table at a community flea market to get the most foot traffic.
If you’re having your children join in on practicing their money sense skills – a more slow paced setting like a garage or yard sale is ideal.
To have your children join in – provide them with their own small tables for their items and their own bag of change (this makes figuring out who gets what so much easier than lumping everything together). You can also use different colored stickers for prices – representing who the money should go to (ie. blue for E, pink for M, yellow for mom). When you sell the item – place the sticker in a log notebook along with the price, so that you can divide it up later.
No. 12 Visit a New Dog Park.
We have a very social 9 year old corgi who just loves going out on adventures with us. My children also love learning and observing domestic animals right now, in particular dogs and cats.
If you have children with a similar interest – explore a new park, preferably near a Shake Shack or other pet friendly restaurant that allows them to dine with you. We love Shake Shack because they have some vegan entree choices I can choose from, and a dog menu with some fun offerings.
No. 13 Visit a Family Member You Haven’t Seen in Awhile.
Did a family member get out of the hospital recently? Is there someone you can visit to catch up on and re-connect with more closely?
Reach out and connect. As wonderful as it is to serve in the community, or help with donating to organizations or other philanthropy as a family – the greatest impact we can sometimes have is within our very own families. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to connect with your loved ones if you can.
No. 14 Visit a New State Park and Walk the Trails.
I admire outdoorsy, Forrest School loving Mommas so much. It’s a program I’ve had on my radar for quite awhile but just haven’t had a chance to try yet. If you’re interested in adding more natureschooling to your home this fall – why not test it out first by doing a short family outdoor trip to a state park. While you’re there, take note of the kinds of supplies or things you’ll need on an ongoing basis.
Bring a bird identifying book with you on your day trip and encourage your kids to be an ornithologist for the day (best way to try on a career calling right?!).
Read this post on How I Homeschool 2nd Grade for Bird Book recommendations you can read before, during, or after your trip all on Amazon.
No. 15 Camp overnight somewhere. The Backyard, Garage or the Living Room.
If you already have camping gear like we do, this is an easy and fun activity to do (if you know where your gear is. Ha!). Move some furniture around or go out for the night in the backyard.. then tell stories under the stars. Pack a day’s worth of meals in a cooler and try your best NOT to go to the fridge or kitchen unless you absolutely need to. Add another layer to your imaginative adventure (that might also help get everyone to bed early too!). Don’t use any indoor lights.
No. 16 Ask your kids to Add one!
Money Saving Tip #1 – Cut Coupons and While You’re at It Start Planning Your Fall Bucket List.
My children love snipping away at coupons just for the sake of cutting. Here’s M snipping away at our most recent circular below.
Looking up coupons for the specific attractions or destinations we have planned for the summer helps a great deal in keeping costs low as well. In the last few years, I’m particularly grateful for coupon companies who are including healthier and more allergy conscious items like gluten free, non-gmo, and simple things like natural organic fruits & vegetables.
To make savings s t r e t c h a little further I use Store rewards cards and Apps (our favorite grocery stores are Wegmans, and Whole Foods where I’ve found temptations to be less). On the apps, you can either clip coupons to add to your card, or they can also automatically scan everything in your cart to pair up against a coupon.
See the next 3 Money Saving Summer Tips in today’s YouTube Video Below!
Download the Printable End of Summer Bucket List To Hang on Your Fridge or Wall BELOW
Please share this post with anyone looking to inject more mindful and frugal summer fun during these last blissful days of summer.
Leave me a comment below and let me know how your family saves or what you’re doing for your end of summer? I’d love to read all about it!
With massive light +