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8 Ways Single Dads Can Have Affordable Fun with their Children This Summer

Dads’ Resource Center offers ways dads can make memories without busting the bank

With school out, many single dads will have a chance to spend more time with their children. As inflation pushes the cost of things higher, many people are looking for affordable ways to have fun with their kids this summer. The good news is that there are many cheap ways that dads can spend quality time with their kids and still keep the costs down. Creating memories doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny, especially when you have a list of fun, affordable activities to keep in mind.


“Most single dads are living on a tight budget,” said Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeffrey Steiner. “One of the benefits of good weather is that it provides endless opportunities for low-cost father-family adventures.”


Summer break is when kids get to unwind and have fun. It’s also that time when they enjoy being with their family more. Whether dad gets to spend weekends, a week, or a month with their kids over the summer, it’s essential to take the time to make memories.


Here are 8 ways single dads can have affordable fun with their children this summer:


  • Outdoor movie. Look for ones being held in the community or create one in the yard. Films can be projected onto the garage door, or a sheet hung between trees. Set up chairs and invite some friends for an outdoor movie experience.
  • Go camping. Staying at state parks to camp is usually affordable, but finding an opening can often be challenging. Look for a place with sites available, but if there are none, pitch the tent in the backyard and camp anyway. Backyard camping can be just as fun, and it’s free.
  • Have a picnic. Pack a lunch and head to a local park or city splash pad. This will create a fun afternoon with a way to cool off, leaving everyone ready for a nap when they get home. As a bonus to this, have the kids help prepare the picnic food.
  • Create an obstacle course. Turn the backyard into a giant obstacle course, giving everyone a chance to test their abilities. This can provide hours of fun and costs nothing but time to set it up.
  • Paint rocks. Gather up some stones and paint them with uplifting messages and images. Then go on a mission to place them around the community for others to find.
  • Spend time at the library. The library systems around the country are wonderful places to have a lot of summer fun. They offer weekly family-friendly activities and events that the whole family will enjoy, usually free.
  • Take bike rides. Whether it’s around the neighborhood, on a mountain, or paved bike trails, this is a great way to spend time. Most kids already have a bike, but if one is needed, dad can always look online to purchase a used one, helping to keep costs down.
  • Go hiking. Depending on the state dad lives in, it may be hiking season and a perfect time to hit the trails. Most hiking is free or comes with a small park admission fee. Be sure to keep the length of the hike age-appropriate for the kids, pack water and snacks, and take breaks as needed.


“You don’t need big trips to adventure parks every week to make memories with your children,” said Steiner. “They just need to know you want to spend time with them and get down to their level a bit. Creativity, flexibility, and spontaneity can do just as much as the credit card can do.”


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