Family & Budget Friendly, Summer Fun

Posted on

Summer vacation is upon us. Okay so technically it’s not summer until June 21st, however for Educators in the Western Hemisphere, school’s out and we’re just easing into the long awaited phenomena that is summer vacation. Insert ‘woooooosah’ right here.

Summer for me as a child meant freedom, relaxation, exploration, discovery and making new memories. This still holds true in my adulthood, except that now that I am a mother, my focus is my children and their happiness. Ergo summer vacation is no longer all about me, but all about them. With a brood of 4, 1 of whom is an adult, 2 of whom live at home full time, and the youngest, my extra heartbeat, resides with us every other weekend… I’m seeking summer fun that is bound to be family & budget friendly. I was semi prepared for this entry as I’d already began to etch out a list of activities to do with the kiddos over the course of the next few weeks. After a little research and some careful thought, here is the list that I have compiled, 12 activities total, tweak, rearrange, edit to your liking. I suggest you check out local activities in your area and by all means do get as creative as possible. Have an amazing summer…

Have Fun? Will Travel! My hometown is pretty small as far as hometowns go. I cannot quote you the population by heart but there is 1 grocery store, 1 elementary, 1 traffic light/intersection. I’ve lived in larger cities, see Atlanta GA, Altamonte Springs FL, Fayetteville NC. If you’re lucky enough to live in a large city, your summer activities are sure to be plentiful. But if you’re like me, you’ll have to travel with the family. My top 6 activities require a bit of driving.

  1. The Zoo. This one’s easy, right? Well, here in Georgia, every library has this golden ticket. Really it’s a dvd titled, Zoo Atlanta Family Pass. And guess what that dvd gets you? You guessed it, a free pass to Zoo Atlanta! But not just 1 pass. Upon borrowing this cd from your local Georgia library and returning it unscathed (lol), you will receive 4 family passes to Zoo Atlanta. From my exact location, Atlanta is about a 3 hour drive. In comparison to having to purchase tickets for every single family member, I’ll take the drive time. Tip: Feed the family breakfast, fill up the tank, break out the cooler, pack a lunch & put it on ice. Then all that’s left to do is sit back & enjoy the ride. Admission for 4 FREE!!
  2. Beach Bum Lazy Hazy Summer Fun in the sun days! I live on the east coast of the United States, Georgia to be exact, and we just so happen to be 1 hour’s drive from the nearest beach, which is Tybee Island Beach. But get this, there are beaches running all up and down the east coast so depending upon the direction we choose to travel in, we could be lounging on a beach within 1 – 3 hours. Here they are: Tybee Island, Jekyll Island & St. Simon’s Island (Georgia), Amelia Island & Jacksonville Beach (Florida), Hilton Head Island & Myrtle Beach (South Carolina). Admission FREE!!
  3. Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge and Okefenokee Swamps. Local to Savannah. I didn’t fully research these. There’s an admission fee. I’m not exactly one with bugs and gators and creepy crawly things, so you’re on your own with this one. Lol.
  4. Noah’s Ark… Locust Grove Georgia, between Macon & Atlanta. My family & I absolutely adore this place. There is no admission fee, however upon entrance there are donation boxes posted. This location is an animal refuge. The peacocks are walking free. The wolves roam in expansive enclosures. There’s even a habitat that houses a lion, a tiger & a bear… Go ahead and say it, I know you wanna… Oh my!!! If you don’t do another thing this summer, go here, you’ll be glad you did. Not local, check out similar programs in your area.
  5. Library Movie Nights & Theater Matinee. Check local listings & websites, however my fave is just pick up the phone & call. Press 0, talk with a rep, get the deets (details). Does your local library host summer movie nights for the kiddos? What about your local movie theater? Is there a discount for noonday matinee? Do tell!
  6. Picnic at the park. We’re about a quick car ride from one of Georgia’s State Parks. Pack a picnic and after everyone has eaten, give the kiddos time to play.               That was round 1 which as you can see, required a little drive time, some near, some far. Now on to at home summer fun. Enjoy.
  7. Have a little back yard fun… Stargazing. Grab a blanket, a citronella candle, some insect repellent spray and wait for nightfall.
  8. Have a little front yard fun… DIY Slip & Slide! There are all kinds of videos and how to tutorials. Pick one and have a blast. Just add water!
  9. Get in the kitchen & cook up some memories. Whip up a family fave or create some new concoction. The point & the plan is to have fun. Make a mess. The bigger the mess, the bigger the memory.
  10. Go for a walk. It can be around your neighborhood, at your local park, or some other area you’d like to explore. Make it a nature hike. Bird watch. Whatever you do, just get out & get walking.
  11. Make a cool, sweet treat. Fruit juice, craft sticks (optional), paper cups, ice cube trays or invest in reusable popsicle maker, they come with cute, colorful plastic sticks.
  12. Last but not least, my favorite of this list of summer fun activities… Read a book! What was your favorite book as a child? What summer memories will you help to create for your family?
  13. BONUS ACTIVITY: Get creative & make some art. There’s a local rock painting group in my area, Tattnall County Rocks, and it well, it totally rocks!!

Enjoy your summer, Katandra Jackson Nunnally, CEO at FreedomInk Publishing

beach child enjoyment foam
Photo by Pixabay on




This Is Summer

Posted on

Late nights. Later mornings. Lazy days. Beach. Sun. Sand. Day trips. Extended trips. Cruising in the slow lane. Lounging. Laying. Outdoor playing. Enjoying a much deserved break. The kids are free from the rigors of school and I am once again in the highlight of my own childhood. This is summer. My husband heads off to work every morning at about 6 after kissing me goodbye for the day. It’s only see you later till later and somewhere layered beneath the sweetness that is his kiss, is the hint of something else, it tastes like jealousy. I know he’d much rather crawl back into bed beside me and nestle himself in the warmth of my presence, but instead he closes our bedroom door, makes his way down the hall, opens-locks-closes the front door. A few moments later I imagine he starts the engine and backs the car out of the driveway and in his rearview mirror, our sleepy neighborhood gets smaller and smaller until it is out of sight. But long before he puts the key in the ignition, somewhere in between his goodbye kiss and the front door, I’ve drifted back to sleep. This is summer. Reminiscent of my childhood days when school was out and my mom had to pull herself away from us daily. There she’d leave us slumbering as she went out into the world. No work for me though as the weeks of summer unfold, hot, sticky and much too fast at times. I’ve found myself in the education arena, which is to say I teach, well sort of, I’m employed as an Assistant Teacher. Sure there are things to loathe about every job, but hopefully there is something that you can find to love as well. For me it’s two things: 1) I love children & 2) I really, really, really love summer breaks. So this brings us to my very current situation of doing absolutely nothing at all. We’re about 3 weeks into the summer break and already I’m wishing that it would slow down. But nothing good lasts forever, right? This is summer…

CEO at FreedomInk Publishing, Katandra Jackson Nunnally