Summer fun doesn’t have to be expensive

The last school bell will sound soon, and, well, the long summer will be upon us.

So what will you do to keep the young’uns occupied until, well, the first school bell sounds?

Better yet, how will you keep the costs down at a time when the price on everything from gas to chocolate to stamps is skyrocketing?

Regina Novickis, consumer savings expert at, an online coupon website, says that’s easy.

“Many parents are looking for low-cost activities to keep the family busy during the summer without destroying their budget,” Novickis said. “There are plenty of low-cost options, however, and summer activities don’t have to be expensive to be fun.”

She suggests these activities to provide kids fun all summer long:

Head to the drive-in and see a movie: Drive-in movies are always fun. Bring a blanket, a pillow and your pjs while you relax in the seat of your car. Prices usually range from $3.00 to $8.00 for children, a fraction of the prices at a cinema.

  • Play some miniature golf: Have a competition with your family at the nearest miniature golf course. Admission to play ranges from $5 to $8, depending on how many holes you wish to play. See who can shoot the most holes-in-one, accumulate the lowest score possible to win or choose the best shot of the night.
  • Go bowling: Log onto Once registered, kids can play two free games every time they bowl throughout the summer.
  • Have a family BBQ: Heat up the grill and cook hot dogs or cheese burgers for the entire family. Add fruits, vegetables, chips and refreshments to cap a successful outing. Let your kids play in the pool or run through a sprinkler while they wait for food. They'll enjoy time spent playing and interacting with relatives. To save even more, turn your family BBQ into a potluck. Boardwalk Savers provides helpful information that will aid you when deciding what to purchase.
  • Picnic in the park: This is always a great substitute for a BBQ. While at the park, toss a Frisbee around with the kids, lie on the grass and watch the clouds roll by and of course enjoy a home packed lunch.
  •   Get soaked: Add some fun to the family picnic or BBQ with a water balloon fight. At about $1 per bag, you get 100 water balloons for combat. Simulate games such as capture the flag, defend your base or have a free for all.
  • Enjoy a family game night: Set up your favorite board game and see who will be the champion of the night. Toys R Us has a wide range of board games ranging from $10 to $30. No board games? Try charades, stumping each other with 21 questions or play freeze tag in the dark with flashlights. If you own any tablet device, you can play the app version of classic games as well.
  • Play some wiffle ball: Grab some chalk, draw up a field in the cul-de-sac and create your team. If you need a wiffle ball bat, or balls, head to Dick's Sporting Goods to purchase a set for $5.99. Individual wiffle balls costs about $1.99.
  • Become a YMCA member: To experience all the Y has to offer, apply online or at your nearest center for free. Once you're a member, your family can enjoy the gymnasium, swimming pool and other entertaining facilities. The Y also offers a plethora of programs to promote healthy lifestyles, strengthen families, develop kids leadership skill, improve the community and increase understanding among people.
  • Go on a camping trip: Whether you decide to use a tent, cabin or RV, camping provides tons of entertainment for the entire family. Bring your bikes to ride through trails and explore new areas. Hike those same trails or fish at the nearest lake. If fishing isn't your style, kayak or canoe across. At night, spend time around the camp fire cooking, singing songs or telling ghost stories. Camping sites range from about $20 to $40 per night.