Have you looked into family memberships? They're usually a much better deal. When my kids were little, we were members of the zoo, the natural history museum, and the children's museum. They were each about $50-60 year, and sometimes they even gave free guest passes with a membership. We used to go often.
But if they're too far away, maybe that doesn't work.
I agree, I love family memberships. Especially when you have young kids you can go to the zoo or place for just an hour or two & not feel like you have to stay all day because you paid the dday admission.
If they do cost too much for your budget, if your family send money for Christmas or bdays you could spend the money on the family pass for a zoo or children's museum if they are nearby, instead of buying more things.
While, I agree there are some low cost or no cost things to do in the summer, your list has some things are are expensive here or not available in most places.
"Swimming in the pool at home": Not everyone has a home pool, plus there are maintence costs that are not insignificant.
Swimming pools here are private neighborhood pools and cost around $1000 per summer per family.
"ymca" -we don't have one nearby.
"ponds, lakes rivers, ocean beaches" not here
"skateboarding "- not my children.
"basketball, soccer,football" - these are genrally fallor winter organizaed sports that cost something to be in- but are not around in the summer.
"riding bikes" - okay, well, we would have to first pack up the car and put the bikes on the back of the car and drive to a poitn where we would bike. Plus, I haven't been able to ride a bike since I gave borth to my first son- despite having a really cushioned wide gell seat. And we would have to have YDS learn how to ride one. He has motor integration issues and so far all attempts have failed.
"Doing crafts" - my kids are not really crafty. They do like pottery- but that isn't cheap.
"library" - thins we do in abundance.
"reading" - for ODS listening for YDS.
"gardening" - I do that, but most of the gardening work is done before summer even starts. After that it is mainly maintenance.
"caring for animals" - we did the hamster gig, but they were low maitennance. Won't do the dog thing unless I have more cooperation.
"Clubs, groups", around here most close down for the summer.
"Playing cards, computer games, video games, board games, " - we do these, but need to limit screen time.
"going on a walk, cook, exercise, sewing, tie dye" - we do these things, but they are not exclusively summer activities and the costs can add up.
" some VBS, some church music camps. " - I will not allow my children to go to a religious based school unless it is done by our own faith. Our Congregation does not have a vacation camp. They don't need any more hassle then they already experience in school.
Things we have around here for free (not everyone has them): Lots of museums, the zoo, the county nature preserves have free programs, Much of everything else costs $$. They go to 3-4 weeks of camps each year.
If you are going to count gas, then the only free things to do are to go outside and walk around and look at things.
Unless you want to count the clothes you wear & the shoes on your feet, of course.
"I just dont think ya have to have money not
>> who stays home and vegges in front of a compuer/TV all summer? <<
I have known several kids who did/have done/do this.
Why hide your light under a bushel of bears, I ask you?