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5 Affordable Family Summer Fun Activities

The summer months are usually busy with group activities like camps, concerts, festivals, fairs and vacations. While this summer may be a little different, there are still plenty of ways to fill your days with family fun while staying within your budget.

Here are five free or inexpensive summer activity ideas your whole family will enjoy:

#1: Sign up for a virtual summer camp

Since many summer camps were canceled this year, you might be looking for a way to prevent your kids from getting cabin fever. The good news is, some camps have rolled out digital versions of their programming for kids of all ages. From arts and crafts to STEM, there are tons of free online classes and camps​ to help keep your kids entertained this summer.

#2: Go geocaching

Geocaching is a fun, free way to spend time outside. Here's how it works: people around the world have hidden small containers called geocaches and filled them with small keychains, toys or trinkets. Using a smartphone or other device with GPS, players look for geocaches in nearby locations. Once you find a geocache, the idea is to replace or add an item and put the container back where you found it. It's like a real-life treasure hunt! Best of all, geocaching may take you to destinations you might not have otherwise known about, so you can be a tourist in your hometown.

#3: Stargaze like a pro

You don't have to be an astronomer to explore the twinkling night sky! With an inexpensive pair of binoculars and a printable sky map, you can get a good look at constellations, the moon and even some planets. There are also a few apps that can help you find your way around the sky. You can stargaze almost anywhere, as long as the area has low light. Your family might enjoy taking a camping trip to spend the night under the stars, even if it's in your own backyard.

#4: Try a photography challenge

Use smartphones (or disposable cameras for the kids) and challenge your family members to a photo scavenger hunt. You can find a list of items to photograph online or create your own based on themes like nature or local landmarks. Share your photos on social media or print them for a scrapbook of summer memories!

#5: Build a backyard obstacle course

A backyard obstacle course can help your kids beat boredom and get some exercise at the same time! Try using objects you already have on hand, such as balls, jump ropes, hula hoops, buckets, pool noodles or water balloons to make the course stations. For example, pool noodles can become arches to crawl under or balance beams to walk across. Use the hula hoops or jump ropes as a cardio station. Partner up and toss water balloons back and forth until one pops. After setting up different stations, challenge your family members to complete the course or make it a race to see who's the fastest.

There are so many ways to have fun without spending money! We hope these activities give you the inspiration to get creative and make this a summer to remember. Looking for more money-saving tips? Visit our online Education Center for helpful financial worksheets, educational videos, interactive learning modules and more.