Suffering From Summer Blues? Check Out These Penny-Pinching Boredom Busters

Looking for a cheap alternative to camp this summer? Here's my summer to-do list for less than the cost of one week at camp!

When you’re a kid, nothing compares to that feeling of the last day of school. It’s like you have a lifetime of Summer before you with mornings of sleeping in, late nights playing, and days spent at the pool or beach soaking in the sunshine.

But parents, reality will set in after a few days, and then what are you going to do with the kids while they are out of school for the next nine weeks?

I don’t know about you but have you checked out the price of summer camp? Sending my kids to one week of summer camp for just 3 hours a day in Sonoma, can run well over $200. So,  I decided I would take that $200 and show you what can get you for an entire summer in Sonoma!

  • Make a Summer Care Package for $20 from the Dollar Store. Stock up on some new beach pails, water balloons, kites, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, bug catchers, beach balls and popsicle molds. Everything kids need for a summer of fun! You can even give them their own envelope or gift card loaded with $10 for each child and let them pick out what they would like. Just a little something to say “You had a great year of first grade and welcome to Summer” .

        Total: $20.00

  • Sign-up for the Sonoma Library Summer Reading Program. Every year our library holds a wonderful Summer Reading program that my kids love. This year the theme is “Dream Big:Read”. They will be having special performances on Wednesday’s at 11:00 through June and July and also have prizes and free books for kids that read each week through the summer. Sign-up starts June 5th at the library.

        Total: Free

  • Take a free tennis class. Every summer the Sonoma Valley Tennis Associationhere and send in your registration form. Total-Free and  Sonoma Rotary offer a free summer tennis clinic for all kids ages 6-15. This year it will be held on Thursday’s from 4:00-5:30 at Maxwell Tennis Courts from June 14th-August 2nd.  They even have rackets if you don’t have one. Just bring water. Be sure to sign-up
  • Take Tae Kwon Do: Sonoma Taekwondo offers a $59 five week introductory class. You can take as many classes as you would like for five full weeks and it even includes a uniform  to  find out how Tae Kwon Do can benefit your child. Classes are offered throughout the week and on Saturday’s at 10:00am. Located in the Palm’s Restaurant Shopping Center, across from McDonald’s.

        Total: $116 for two kids, with uniforms

  • Go to the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. Take a walk through on Wednesday’s for free. Of course if you are coming from the square, you will have to pass by the yogurt shop but that is up to you!

        Total: Free

  • Sign-up for a movie marathon at Blockbuster. I just popped into Blockbuster to pick up a movie and I and didn’t realize that they had such a great kids section. Unlimited kids rentals including kids video games are only $4.99 per month! You can check out one rental of any kind at a time (in the family or kids section) but what a fun way to try a new game (before shelling out $29.99) or movie and you can keep them as long as you would like. 

       Total: $4.99 per month ($14.97 for the entire summer)

  • Of course, hitting one of the great trails or having a picnic are two of my favorite activities in Sonoma that are both free and go nicely with a book from the library or kite from the Dollar Store.

Total spent for a fun-filled summer for two kids: Just over $150.00.  For that price, you can even hit Train Town a few times!

Carol Page May 23, 2012 at 03:35 PM
All good ideas to keep one busy. What about packing a picnic lunch, eating in the Plaza or Depot Park, then visit the Barracks or Mission (for a small fee), or Joseph Hooker house or the Depot Park museum for free? If history isn't on the agenda, playing ball, playing on the playground or walking along the bike path will burn up some of that energy. Finish up with ice cream from the shops on the Plaza.
Alexandra Charsley May 24, 2012 at 05:51 PM
These are great ideas! With the help of the library, we are going to work on our own summer project learning about how the government works (since it's an election year). I also thought it would be good for the kids to start a container garden on the cheap! Picking up some planters at the Church Mouse and then either starting seeds or buying plants, but you might have to give me some suggestions as to what's best to plant.
Michelle Rulmont May 25, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Carol and Alexandra, love all of your ideas! And yes, I can definitely help with planting ideas on the cheap!


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