Summer is just beginning (though it totally feels exactly like the last three months, minus the home-schooling). While parents likely had a pre-pandemic line-up of activities ready to go to keep kids busy, not only are camps cancelled, but pricey day-camps and caregivers can squeeze an already tight budget. International and Canada-US travel is likely a no-go. Some provinces are still locked down, some require quarantine for 14 days when you get there, and others simply don’t want your ‘foreign’ license plate traipsing around their roads. Here’s the Canadian Government site on COVID, so you know where your province stands. And here are a few ideas for sticking closer to home, getting out in nature and saving some precious cash.
1. Check your credit card rewards balance – redeem some of your loyalty rewards, such as points to help fund activities and travel. You can use your loyalty rewards to redeem certain museum passes or tours and excursions, or even fund some home renovation and upgrade projects. After all, deck-building is a great skill to teach the kids, and a new stand mixer could spark some creative baking.
2. Think seasonal. Have you been strawberry picking near home? (Jam and pie-making is a hoot!) Ever had an instagram photoshoot with the kids in sunflower fields? Local bloggers’ sites are filled with fun activities in your backyard, and clicking on them supports small business.
3. Quaint nearby towns are starving for business, and with the shift to take-out and patio spaces, you can make a day of it. You can even grab the local history off Wikipedia or a local book beforehand and give them some edu-ma-cation at the same time. Think gold rush Barkerville in BC or Mahone Bay in Nova Scotia.
4. Shop around – municipally run activities through community centres or the parks and recreation department often offer lower cost programming. Now, certain activities like tennis, day camps and sailing are starting to open up with reduced numbers.
5. We have an amazing list of family activities for Vancouver here, and lots of ideas for Victoria, Halifax, Calgary, Fredricton, Toronto, Winnipeg, St. John’s, Kelowna, Edmonton, and Montreal as well.
6. Have you checked out RV’s? They are a great way to explore at your own pace, save on eating out, and facilitate fun family game nights.
7. What about those friends with pools or cottages? Group swimming lessons with a certified instructor could be split several ways, a talented parent could lead an outdoor activity in their craft. The cool thing about COVID (we are digging deep too…) is that parents need to get creative, and kids learn some resilience and creativity.
Do you have other ideas to add? We’d love to hear how you and the family are spending your summer, coping with COVID and saving money while reducing stress! Stay safe out there.
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