This summer, it is my goal to have as much fun as possible without spending any more money. I bought a family pool pass for the summer, which was way too much money, in my opinion, given the hours the pool is open and how often it's closed due to thunderstorms, but beyond that, I have no intention of spending any more money.
That means no trips to Thanksgiving Point (a local attraction that consists of a few museums, beautiful gardens, an agricultural learning area, a movie theater, and lots of shops), no trips to the zoo, no trips to the aquarium. That means no taking any summer classes beyond the private trumpet/trombone lessons I signed the boys up for to keep them practicing over the summer for band. It means no lunches out and even no stopping at the snow cone shack for a cold treat on a hot day. It also means no road trips to visit family or friends. What it means is only doing activities that cost no money at all.
What on earth does that leave to do? In society's eyes, probably not a lot. I've noticed that the fun most people post on Facebook that they have tend to be activities that cost money. Not that any of that is bad; it's not. But I have taken a good look around and realized that there is so much to do that can be done for free, or even really cheap.
Here is a my list of things to do so far:
--BYU has several museums that are free: The Museum of Art, The Monte L. Bean Science Museum, and a natural history museum.
--There are lots of places to hike in the mountains around here (most of which I still have to discover because I don't know where kid-friendly hikes are)
--Blackridge Reservoir, which is a small man-made lake that we can swim in
--Many biking trails in our city
--Many new parks to explore
--Downtown SLC--Temple Square and some adjacent areas, like the Church History Museum and hiking up to Promontory Point.
--Free concerts/movies in the park hosted by the city
--Free parades, fairs and firework events throughout the summer
Then, of course, there is good, old-fashioned playing in a field: baseball, soccer, tag, etc. and other outdoor activities that can be done with a group of kids (six siblings and a mom count!), like chalk drawing, four square, basketball, bike games, setting up a lemonade/snow cone/other cold treat stand, and many, many more.
When I was growing up, we used to keep ourselves pretty well entertained in the summers without our parents carting us around to museums, aquariums, and zoos and other venues. Somehow, we all managed to come out of it okay and not bored. Somehow we kept busy and out of trouble and had a lot of fun.
So I'm going to focus this summer on a throwback to old times. I'm not even doing my usual "summer learning" . My kids have been in school since last July and they need a real break. Aside from 30 minutes of daily reading and instrument practicing, they are free to play to their hearts content.
Ah, summer. Good times!