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Summer on a budget: Keeping your child entertained without breaking the bank

Apr 29, 2023Apr 29, 2023

By John Shumway

June 7, 2023 / 6:04 AM / CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Yesterday we talked about healthy snacks for the kids this summer and today we'll turn our attention to keeping them entertained.

That is...without destroying your budget.

The last thing any parents want to see is a child transfixed for the summer on a video screen and the last thing any of us want to hear is the dreaded whining words...

"I'm bored!!"

Sure, you could go to the toy department of a local store and load up but rather than emptying your bank account, shop at home first.

"Go through your kids' toys and activities," said Amanda Mushro. "Maybe there's something from their birthday or the holidays that they didn't open up or they didn't really play with and you can bring those back out and repurpose them."

The kids might just be surprised at what they have.

"That may be something that they used last year and totally forgot about," Mushro added.

National parenting blogger, mother of three, and Uniontown native Mushro said to think about new ways to use what you have - like her son's water table.

"You can take dish soap, put a bunch of additions into the water table, and then he has a ton of bubbles," she explained.

You can even add small toys to the bubbly mix and she said if he's having fun, it's a win-win for everyone.

There's also a tried and true summer activity - get the kids outdoors.

"Dusting off those bikes, making sure they're going for bike rides, or you know, using those scooters," Mushro said.

Hoses and sprinklers can also fill hours and there's always the prospect of playdates.

"We're going to reach out to your friend down the street and maybe they can go out there and then they can come back here and everything is always more exciting at someone else's house," she said.

If you need something, a cost-saving way to find it according to Mushro is to check out a Facebook "buy nothing" group.

"You may have a neighbor that is giving up a bike or scooter or a board game that your kids have never played," she explained.

You get it for free and when you're done with it, you can offer it back to the buy nothing page for someone else to enjoy.

So, what if all they want to do is play with their electronics?

Establish a time limit, but make sure there are alternatives planned. Even set up a calendar so they have something to look forward to, especially time set aside to connect with friends.

John Shumway joined KDKA in October 1988 as a General Assignment Reporter. During his years at KDKA, he has anchored the morning and weekend news and is currently a featured General Assignment Reporter on the station's 4, 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.

First published on June 7, 2023 / 6:04 AM

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