8 Affordable Summer Activities for Families

Do you want to have fun this summer with your family without breaking your budget? Or maybe you’d rather enjoy your summer at home?

As a working mom I can relate to both of these ideas. I live paycheck to paycheck, so I save money whenever I can. Since I have two small children, I stay close to the house as much as possible.

Even though I spend most of my time at home with my children, I always keep them entertained with fun activities.

Here are eight affordable and creative activities that can be enjoyed all from the comfort of home.


1. Blow Bubbles

Blowing bubbles is fun for people of all ages, especially for small children. Creating and popping bubbles can keep them occupied far longer than many other activities. You can have a contest to see who blows the largest bubbles, the most bubbles, or even triple plus bubbles-bubbles within bubbles! My five-year-old loves using her bubble shooter and can literally spend hours running around shooting bubbles everywhere.

While this activity can be done inside or outside, it’s best if done outdoors since dripping, soapy water can be messy and children tend to spill. If you don’t want to go to the store to buy bubbles, you can make your own with dish soap and water. A bubble wand can be crafted from a bread tie, or a pipe cleaner. If you want to have the best bubbles, try this great recipe at Home Science Tools.

2. Karaoke

Music is a fun way to let loose. You can stream music from YouTube through your TV or phone and while a microphone is nice, you don’t really need one. You can just pretend to have a mic, or you can craft a play mic. Check out this project at DIY with Ollie. Not only will your kids have a blast making the mic, they will probably love the video! The KARAOKE Channel at YouTube has these Karaoke for Kids songs you can try.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

3. Dance

Dancing is fun, and it won’t cost you a dime. There are plenty great dance songs for families. Classic songs like the Macarena, Electric Slide, Y.M.C.A., and Cha Cha Slide have easy dances moves that anyone can do. Some modern dance songs that are also easy to move to are Gangnam Style and Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).

You can buy a dance video game like Just Dance 2018 for PlayStation 4, which allows you to dance to many different songs. This game lets up to 4 people play at once. My family loves playing this game, because we can do it together.

4. Watch a movie

Watching a movie at home with your family can be a fun and relaxing way to spend time together. If you have small kids like me, there are plenty of family movies like Paddington 1 and 2, Coco, Finding Dory, and The Secret Life of Pets.

You can enjoy the movies on DVD, or movie sites like Netflix. Pop some popcorn and watch a movie from the comfort and safety of home. You can even have pre-movie trivia or a movie related game before the show, just like in the theatre.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

5. Make Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are not only fun, you can create lasting mementos of your summer with your family. You can make things like tin wind chimes, necklaces, bracelets, and much more. Finger painting is also a great activity to do outside with the family.

My daughter and I love to paint with watercolors and draw pictures with crayons. She also enjoys easy origami, like airplanes, cats, and cars. If you need more ideas for arts and crafts check out this video:  20 Summer Kids Crafts.

6. Board Games

Board games are an affordable fun activity that anyone can do. There are lots of great board games like Monopoly, Uno, The Game of Life, Scrabble, and Operation, just to name a few.

I like playing board games because they reduce our screen time. We focus on the games and interacting with each other rather than our phones.

7. Sports

Everyone can benefit from a little exercise. Sports are a fun way to burn calories and tone muscles. I try to play simple sports like basketball with my daughter since she is only five. Often we just shoot hoops into a miniature basketball goal.

Sports like tennis, volleyball, soccer, and baseball are great for families with older children. Playing sports is a great way get out of the house and get some exercise with the family–not to mention you can soak in Vitamin D.

If the weather or disability doesn’t allow for outdoors, there are m-sports video games like bowling, boxing, golf, and even darts.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

8. Exercise

If you are like me and like working out, you should consider exercising with your family as a summer activity. Often when my I do my kickboxing workouts my daughter will join along. She doesn’t do all the moves perfectly, but it is adorable to watch her punch and kick the air.

I also like taking walks with my husband around the neighborhood. Other great workouts for families are jogging, cycling, yoga, and Pilates.

Photo by Kent Pilcher on Unsplash

Try to take time to turn off your phones and have fun in the sun! Let me know which activity was your favorite in the comment section, or share an activity that you and your family like to do together.

Great Wolf Lodge Review

IMG_5240.JPG

As a working mom, I don’t usually get to enjoy expensive resorts.

We live in Lagrange, Georgia, and when the Great Wolf Lodge resort opened recently, my husband and I decided to spend our rare weekend getaway there with our two small children.

Georgia’s first Great Wolf Lodge, which includes 456 guest suites, opened May 30, 2018. The resort includes a gigantic indoor water park that is 93,000 square feet.

It has opened 600 job opportunities in Lagrange and is expected to have 500,000 guests annually.

IMG_5247

My jaw dropped in amazement when we first walked into the lobby.

The grand lobby had a cabin style look. Guests were lounging and chatting in a variety of brown leather sofas and wooden rocking chairs. I couldn’t wait to join them!

There were even leather toddler-sized sofas. A big rug with shapes triangular and square shapes covered the wood plank porcelain floor.

Chandeliers hung from the ceiling and a brick fireplace was centered in the lobby. The furniture sat facing the fireplace which, made me feel like I was in a warm log cabin.

Exquisite pictures of dark and light green trees decorated the upper part of the wooden walls. I liked the look of the lobby, it made me feel like I was at home.

20180630_160150

The staff warmly greeted us when we first came in. A young front-desk agent complimented my daughter and gave her furry gray wolf ears to wear.

We did have a slight problem checking in.  My husband had to be identified by his credit card before we could access our suite. He lost his original credit card the day before.

However, the staff manager quickly resolved the problem by charging our replacement card and refunding us the money charged previously.

After we checked-in, the staff gave us an itinerary that listed a map of the hotel, a list of available daily activities, and restaurants and shops in the resort. We received purple wrist bands that allowed us to access to our suite and make purchases.

20180520_195500(1)

We ordered the least expensive option online (the Great Wolf  Lodge website), the Queen Deluxe, which included two full-sized beds, full bath, twin size sofa sleeper, mini-fridge, TV,  coffee maker, and a hair dryer.

Other options were Family Suite, Wolf Den Suite, Kid Cabin, Deluxe Wolf Den, and the Grizzly Bear suite. These suites include the similar amenities as the Queen Deluxe suite except they have more space, a cabin or cave theme, high-speed internet, and bunk beds.

The room we ordered was clean and beautiful. It had a simple unadorned modern style with an outdoors theme.  The furniture included a green, round dining table with two red wooden chairs , a comfortable oversized dark-brown leather loveseat, and there was even a toy chest for the kids.

All the furniture was modern and  perfectly shaped with clean straight lines. I like walking on the soft carpet floor.

A wallpaper of a forest decorated the wall behind the beds. It made me feel like I was outside camping. In the mini-fridge, two complimentary bottles of Dasani water waited for us.

We were able to relax anywhere in the room and view our favorite programs on the flat-screen TV.

20180520_195513

We were given a choice of a shower or a bathtub when we ordered the room. We wanted a bathtub for the kids.

I didn’t think I could love a bathroom, but I did! It had a classic white soaking tub. The bathtub’s spa-like shower head created steam during the shower. The floor was a wood plank porcelain like the floor in the lobby.

The fluffy, white-cotton towels felt amazing on my skin.

Also, the room included a line of Great Wolf Lodge personal items such as lemon ginger body soap and shampoo/conditioner, Aloe Vera body lotion, and a lemon ginger facial bar. But we did have to bring our own toothpaste.

20180522_100335

The resort’s water park is really why we decided to vacation at Great Wolf Lodge. Towels were provided by staff and there were lockers available for rent. There are showers and changing rooms.

water slidePhoto from Great Wolf Lodge media kit.

The Great Wolf Lodge has more than seven different, breathtaking water slides! Triple Thunder, River Canyon Run, and Rapid Racer allow multiple sliders to go down all at once.

The slides are enormous and once at the top, you are given a blow up float or small plastic round boat for sliding down. The trip down was a adrenaline rush that ended with a big splash.

These slides are perfect for larger families or couples, but they aren’t the safest option for children younger than seven. I rode down alone because while our four-year-old stayed with my husband.

Otter Run and Wolf Trail are for solo sliders, and while The Otter has slower slide motion making it more kid friendly, it still took my breath away. I had to lay flat on my back with my arms crossed in front of my chest while sliding down. I held my nose, because you land in a pool at the end and I hate getting water up my nose.

On Wolf Trail, you must stand in an enclosed tube. The attendant instructs you to cross your arms across your chest, and when they press a button, the floor drops out. Make sure you hold your nose here, too, because the water spews as you jet down this gigantic slide.
20180520_145326

Fort Mackenzie is a great water playground for kids of all ages. Children can use fun devices to spray their friends and family with water and there are many small water slides.

My kids loved to watch the huge bucket hanging above the playground that slowly filled up with water. When the water reached the brim, the bucket tipped and splashed everyone in the playground.

There are water sprouts in front of the playground and children love to stick their hands in the water or walk through the streams.

If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, there is a large swimming pool outside of the water park with beach chairs.

A warm, bubbly Jacuzzi waits for those 21 and older that includes massaging jets to help you relax.

FACE_SC_1529686485953
The resort features an exciting arcade called Northern Lights that has many different, fun games.

There are racing games, challenges of strength, and old favorites like Galaga and air hockey. Children love the mini-carousel and whacking Krabby Patties in the SpongeBob whack-a-mole style game.

We loved the zombie shooter that had a real water gun! Also, there were games of dexterity where you can toss balls at funny clown pins, or bean bags into holes. Our children loved these.

IMG_5242

The Wolf Lodge has 10 delicious restaurants to choose from.

They have fast-food restaurants like Dunkin Donuts, Hungry as a Wolf pizza parlor, Buckets Incredible Craveables, and Timber Tacos and the Campfire Kitchen buffet.

Adults enjoy sipping alcoholic beverages at The Watering Hole and The Outpost. I brought my own food but me and my family liked eating cinnamon powdered donuts from Dunkin Donuts.

IMG_5246

If you forgot your swimsuit or need any extra clothing, there are a variety of shops.

Paddle Bay Outfitters offer a nice selection of swimwear and other water-related goods.

Buckhorn Exchange Gift Shop has souvenirs and Camp H.O.W.L Kids Store is a store that caters to children and has teddy bears, clothing, hats, and other child-sized items.

Visit the Great Wolf Candy Company for sweet treats. You can buy items for your trip before you arrive from Great Wolf Lodge online store.

20180520_182629
We loved that the Lodge had so many fun-filled activities for small children. Most activities were free, but some did have a cost; however, we thought the free activities were more fun.

Yoga trails

Yoga trails involves a yoga instructor teaching young children several different yoga poses. It is a great way to get your child active in a fun way.

This activity only happens early in the morning around 8:30 a.m. So make sure you set your alarm clocks so you don’t miss it.

20180520_164639

Character Appearance

This activity can be fun for children of any age. The Wolf Lode has 10  fuzzy characters that include a Wiley wolf, Violet wolf, Oliver raccoon, Rachel raccoon, Sammy squirrel, Brinley bear, Spec the owl, Sprinkles the bear, and the beaver brothers Tooth and Nail.

Currently, you can only see Wiley the wolf and Violet at Georgia’s Great Wolf. These fuzzy creatures come out to play around 4:30 in the afternoon.

My daughter met Violet the wolf and violet was shy but friendly. She loved Violet so much she got her face painted like her.

Great Games Bingo

The Great Game Bingo starts at 6 in the evening and lasts about 30 minutes.

At this event, the employees play fun games for children in the lobby that involves hula hooping, limbo, and dancing. My daughter had a blast playing with children and making new friends.
20180520_191638

Jammie Jamborie

The Jammie Jamborie was my daughter’s favorite activity.

Wolf Lodge employees would play classic songs and dance to them, while getting parents and children to follow along. They play songs like the Electric Slide, Cha Cha Slide, and La Macarena.

This is an activity adults and children can take part in. It’s a great time to show your children your dance moves. I recorded my daughter with my phone as she danced with children and employees.
20180521_183109

Fun room

Small children will enjoy the fun room  because it has several fun activities and toys.

In the fun room your children can get their face painted by artist as whatever animal they want. My daughter got her face painted like a wolf and she loved it.

Children can enjoy decorating their wolf ears with stickers made like dinosaurs, diamonds, flowers, hearts and more. Additionally, there is a dollhouse made like a log that children can play in.

Conveniently, there is a playground outside of the fun room that is appropriate for elementary aged children.

They have fun worksheets such as word puzzles, word crosses, coloring sheets, and connect the dots.
20180520_201658

So, if you are looking for an affordable resort for your family, check out Great Wolf Lodge. We enjoyed every minute of our weekend stay.

The Lodge made it easy by providing everything we needed to relax (except toothpaste).

The water park had something for everyone and our small children had more than enough fun activities that were also educational.

We give the Great Wolf Lodge a 10 out of 10 rating and plan to go back the next chance we get.