Thrifty Tips

Great Memories Without Great Expense
Summer 2015: Great Memories Without Great Expense

I have always been a daddy’s girl. Now that I’m a little older, I really value all the time I spent with my dad during the summer. I learned how to use tools and build things. I could always count on an excuse to have fun and make a mess. The best thing about spending time with dad—it didn’t cost much.

Now that the kids are out of school and you have to keep them entertained all summer, here are some budget — and dad-friendly tips.

1 | Water Balloons

Do I have to say much more than this? You can get a package of water balloons from the dollar store for $1. It takes a little forethought but if you have some on hand, you can fill them up and surprise the kids with a water balloon war. What kid doesn’t love throwing water and getting chased by dad?

2 | Build Something

You know that honey-do list that you’ve got? Many kids are always itching to help. It may take you a little longer to complete the project but you can entertain a kid and teach them a new skill at the same time. It’s a win, win!

3 | Make a “Laser” Maze

All you need for this one is a big ball of yarn, twine or string, and some stuff to tie it to. Tie the string or “lasers” to objects then take turns seeing who can climb, crawl and jump through the “laser” maze without touching the “lasers” the fastest!

4 | Hot Wheels Race Track

This is another really simple activity. All you need is some tape and Hot Wheels cars. The blue tape you use for painting would work best. Tape a race track on the floor, up onto the couch, around to the table, back to the floor, or wherever you don’t mind tape and cars. Put a second line of tape a couple of inches away from the first to make a race track.

5 | Blanket Fort

Some of my favorite memories with my dad happened in a cozy blanket fort. All you need are blankets, chairs and something to hold down the blankets. We always found that books worked but if a tickle fight in the fort got out of hand, the books would tumble down. Rubber bands work best for tying blankets up.

When in doubt, the best thing dads have in their tool belt is their imagination. Grab a stack of books and read them with the awesome, hilarious voices that dads are known for. Get on the floor and offer “pony rides.” Go crazy in mom’s make-up drawer and play dress up. The possibilities are endless!


Cris Swaters
About author:

Cris Swaters is the communications coordinator at White River Valley Electric Co-op and a lover of extreme couponing, frugal living, social media and healthy home cooking. Get more tips and healthy eating recipes from Cris at

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