How to: keep kids entertained in the summer -- for less

How to: keep kids entertained in the summer — for less

July 1st, 2013

By Aimee Heckel

The novelty of summer vacation is quickly wearing off. Chances are, you’re starting to hear the familiar whine coming from your kids’ foodholes: “I’m borrrreeed.”

Before they utter that torturous phrase again (because what wouldn’t any parent give to experience that ancient sensation of boredom again?), check out these ideas: four easy ways to keep your kids entertained this summer — for less.

1. Help your kids plant a “mobile garden,” according to Plant beans, tomato plants, sunflowers — let your kids pick — in an old wheelbarrow or wagon. Drill holes in the bottom for drainage.

Don’t have an old wheely-dealy lying around? Pick up a cheap red junior-sized wheelbarrow at Walmart for $32. Or embark on a repurposing project: attach wheels from your kid’s old bike to a wooden crate.

enhanced-buzz-22047-1369075044-32. Make art out of nature, like these beautiful painted rocks from Geninne’s Art Blog (see photo). Let your kids pick out rocks of a certain shape, color or size.

Tip: Paint with a stencil, like this brass embossing bird and flower stencil from Newegg for $2.49.

Here is a helpful guide to painting rocks.

3. Do some crazy stuff with pool noodles. Cut them in half and they make perfect race car ramps. Check out this Pinterest board featuring tons of ways to revamp pool noodles. Make light sabres, fishing poles, arches, basketball hoops — the list goes on. Here is another blog, Debbiedoo’s, featuring 40 ways to reuse pool noodles.

Buy a stack of 20 pool noodles at Walmart for $60.97.

4. Set up a backyard camp, according to Summer camp can cost hundreds of dollars per week. Instead, join together with friends or neighbors to create your own camp.

Organize activities — hosted by a different family each day. Make sure you set the tone that it’s different than just another play date.

Set up an outdoor canopy or tent to provide shade and designate a space in your backyard for the activities. Dicks Sporting Goods has a variety of different kinds of canopies for reasonable prices. Check out the special discounts and coupons for Dicks Sporting Goods on

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Aimee's passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning news articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University. When she's not writing stories for a Colorado newspaper, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family's nonprofit that helps refugees and disadvantaged people in Africa. She's also a mom, a wife and a furious bargain-hunter. Reach out to her at, find her travel board on Pinterest, follow her on Twitter, or ping her on Google+.

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