Budget-Friendly Summer Fun
Facing tough economic times and soaring fuel prices has many families looking for creative, cost-saving alternatives for enjoying summer vacation. But great family memories and fun, physical activity doesn’t have to break the bank. YMCA of the USA offers ideas for family fun that focuses on physical well-being and building family connections.
“What makes a great family summer is spending time together, making memories, connecting and enjoying the simple pleasures of the outdoors,” said Valerie Lawson, MS, RD, LDN, director of the Y’s Healthy Family Home. “This is an ideal time to refocus on what’s really important – families, friends
Through Healthy Family Home, YMCA of the USA offers budget- friendly ideas for fun and fitness this summer:
- Take a history and architecture tour – If exploring the grand architecture and buildings of Europe
- isn’t in the budget this year, families can plan interesting adventures right in their own communities. Map out a route to bike or walk and explore different places of worship. Contact the local historical society for information on significant homes and buildings. Firehouses and other public places often welcome visits.
- Bring the beach to the backyard – Don’t live near sand or sea? Bring a taste of the tropics to your neighborhood with a backyard beach party for friends and family. Play games with inflatable beach balls; turn on the sprinkler for a cool splash. Turn up the beach tunes and dance. Serve up tropical fruit kabobs and grill a healthy, island-inspired lunch of fish and veggies.
- Take stock of the market – Spend a morning exploring famer’s market and stock up on fresh, ripe locally grown produce. Talk to vendors about seasonal favorites and get the kids engaged in picking favorites and new foods to try. Pick up a plant or two and experience the fun of pride of growing fresh tomatoes or strawberries at home.
- Find a volunteer “vacation” – Try something new while helping others or the environment. Find a volunteer project for the whole family – planting flowers in public areas, picking up litter in the park,
- or taking shelter dogs for a walk. Local Ys can help find a volunteer opportunity that matches family interests.
- Play around town – Challenge the family to play on a different playground every week. Identify playgrounds at a variety of parks; expand definitions of playgrounds to include nature trails, a nearby stream, and a bike path. Keep a diary of favorite places and activities.
Healthy Family Home provides tools and support for families who are ready to take a positive step in living a healthier, happier life. For more information and free resources for families visit Healthy Family Home online or contact your local Y.