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Kicking off summertime with FOUR affordable activities

Seasonal Fun/Resources
By Summer Lane

Photo: Deposit

Summertime is just around the corner! School is wrapping up for the year and the days of fun in the sun and extra free time (hopefully) have rolled around yet again. If you’re like me, it can be hard to come up with ideas to entertain your little ones during the dog days of summer, but this year, I have a new strategy: keep it as simple as possible!

With prices spiking upward and rising crime in the cities, I’ll admit that I’m trying to be extra careful about where to take my kids this summer. Living in California, the options are plentiful. Here are my top four recommendations for summertime activities that are simple, fun, and affordable!


Now that my kiddo is five years old, she is big enough to start tackling hiking trails with me. It’s a wonderful experience for both of us. We get to be outside, we get to exercise, and we get to spend time together without the distraction of computers or cellphones, or tech. Plus, it’s one of the most affordable activities in the world!

Last week, my daughter and I conquered a steep 6.2-mile hike to Ella Falls in Kings Canyon National Park. It was a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience. We brought our own lunches and stopped to admire the scenery. Plus, we had some great conversations about life along the way.

If you don’t live near a location where you can hike, plan some outings to the local park. Bring a picnic! Get outside and get moving – you will never regret spending time in God’s creation! It’s just good for the soul!

Commit to perimeters around screen time – read instead!

Watching too much television and playing too many video games is a good way to mire down a bright and bursting summer season with grumpy attitudes and end-of-the-day headaches. Establish firm boundaries around screen time at the beginning of the summer and stick to it!

If you’re an 80s or 90s child like I am, you probably remember the Pizza Hut reading challenges or the local library reading challenges over the summer. I eagerly participated in these types of competitions and read my troubles away every summer as a kid.

Set up your own reading program at home if you can’t find a local reading program to get your kids involved in. Offer them incentives – one pizza party for every ten books? One special trip to the ice cream shop for every 15 with your friends? Make it work for YOU!

 Water play dates

One of the easiest activities you can embrace this year is simple play dates with friends. Try to round up one of your kids’ friends and their parents once a week and meet for some quality time together. Set up a sprinkler in the backyard, bring out the popsicles, play some fun music, and haul out the plastic pool (if you don’t have a pool). Some of my BEST memories from my childhood are the simple days spent poolside at my grandparents’ house with cousins, hanging out with popsicles, and watching a fun movie with my grandpa in the evening.

The best days are the simplest days – and the ones that we spend with the people we love.

At-home art classes

I live in the middle of nowhere, so committing to daily or even weekly swim classes or extracurricular summertime activities can be overwhelming. One idea that I have embraced this year is the concept of at-home art classes.

My daughter is WILD about creating pictures, painting, crafting, and learning how to sew. I’m not a craft person, so it can be difficult for me to keep up with her. To counter this, I have come up with the idea of setting up an “art class” with her this year, where we utilize online resources to learn together about watercolors and drawing.

There are MANY free videos that you can use on YouTube, or you can purchase online curriculum at places like Outschool. The only investment you REALLY need to start is paper, pencils, and watercolors!






The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team. This specific article was written by Summer Lane, and may not be reproduced, except to quote for reviews or interviews, without the express permission of the author. 



Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 30 books, including the hit Collapse Series. She is an experienced journalist and columnist who reports on news within the U.S. and abroad. She is the Associate Editor for Right Side Broadcasting Network. Additionally, she owns Write Revolution News, where she provides a rapid-fire feed of the nation’s most important America First news and events.

Summer is also a mom and wife who enjoys rural country living, herding cats and ducks, and reading fiction. She is passionate about writing on women’s issues, parenting, and politics from a theologically-grounded perspective that points readers to the good news of the gospel.

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