NDSU Extension - Mercer County


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Entertain Your Child on a Budget This Summer

low cost summer activities for children

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Consumer Sciences

School is out for the summer, which means you may hear your children saying, “I’m bored” or “There’s nothing to do.”

Wherever you live, you likely can find some low-cost activities to keep your child or children entertained.

Libraries are a great place to take your children this summer. Look for summer reading programs available in both Beulah and Hazen. Your library may also offer free movie rentals with library membership. 

The cost of going to the movies at a movie theater can add up quickly, especially if you have more than one child. As an alternative, hang a sheet in the backyard, and use a projector and laptop to host an outdoor show – just bring a blanket and the bug spray!

Putting your children in summer sporting activities is a great way to keep them active. However, the cost of these sports can become overwhelming. Teach your child or children outdoor games from your childhood.

Don’t have the time or money to take your kids to the city pool every day? Then let them have a water balloon fight or run through the sprinkler in your backyard.

If you decide the pool is the best place for your kids to cool off this summer, look at the costs and see what you really “need.” If you have a large family, a family pass may get you the best bang for your buck. But with one child who goes to the pool alone, a single summer pass may be what you need. If your child goes only a few times throughout the summer, see if the pool operators offer a punch card option. You may find that paying per trip to the pool is the least expensive choice.

Check with city parks and recreation services to see if they offer no- or low-cost activities in your community.

Locally, there are many other opportunities for fun!

  • Heritage Park Market (HPM) is a gathering place for community friends and family. The markets run from Memorial Day – Labor Day every Tuesday evening from 5-9 p.m. located at Heritage Park, just south of Hedahl’s & Bronson’s Marketplace. Market goers can enjoy food, music and shopping with the vendors.
  • Music in the Park on Main Street in Hazen. Every Wednesday now through August from 5-7 p.m.
  • The Mercer County Museum in Beulah.
  • There are great parks and recreation areas in Mercer County!
  • Don’t forget Knife River Indian Villages and Lake Sakakawea State Park.

Source: Carrie Johnson, NDSU Extension Service personal and family finance specialist

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