Are you trying to stay cool and keep the kids busy? Let’s face it, Columbia is famously hot! And parenting can be infamously expensive. So, here are five ways to stay cool this summer without overspending. All these tips are just $5 or less!
Hit the library
Not only is it FREE, well air conditioned, and a great place to hang out, but it’s also got activities and classes at no cost to you! This includes arts and crafts, yoga, writing, anime, legos, plays, and more! Many branches have educational games, puzzles, and such for kids to play with as well. And, of course, there are hundreds of great children’s books, movies, games and more to take home! Tired of your local branch? Check out other branches just a short drive away. Richland county has 12 branches itself, and Lexington also has awesome programs. Here is a list of upcoming Richland county library events.
Use your Freezer
Want to stay home? No problem! There is lots you can do at home to stay cool. Let your child help you make popsicles out of juice or water and fruit then enjoy. For teething children, frozen pees or fruit in a mesh teether can be a miracle! Likewise, ice in a sippy cup becomes a refreshing rattle. Younger kids can freeze large wet sponge pieces, each scrunched into a rubber band. Next, take them out to throw around, so they bounce and spray cold water. For older kids, hide small toys inside a block of ice by putting them in water in some kind of container in your freezer at night. Then, surprise them with it and something to free the toys with. Let them at it!
Hit the Water
At home, extended bath time with bubbles or toys and playing in the rain can be fun for all ages. For handmade water tables, use a highchair and spot of food coloring in some water. Homemade sprinklers can be fashioned with an empty plastic bottle (poked with holes) and some tape at the end of your garden hose. For bigger kids, make a game with a pack of water balloons or squirt guns from the dollar store, look up water experiments, or grow something! There are so many ideas out there!
Or, if you want to get out, Maxcy Gregg and Greenview are public pools in Columbia with just $3-$4 admission. Plus, entrance to parks with splash pads, such as Sesquisentenial State Park, is just a couple dollars per person as well. And city spray pools and splash pads are free too.
Did you know Home Depot offers free workshops for kids where they can build something? This includes supplies! Michaels is another Columbia store that offers fun classes from just $2-$5 all this summer where you kid can show up and make something such as a planter or back pack tag. Check for your nearest location online and sign up!
Go See a Movie
For just $5? How? Spotlight Cinemas features all the movies you may have missed. Kill a couple hours by going to see a movie for just $3 in a dark, cool theater. This theater has been around since I was a kid (the former St. Andrew’s Cinemas), so I have loads of great memories with my dad there, including seeing The Lion King. Or take advantage of Regal’s Summer Movie Express through August 2 where tickets are only $1!
If you aren’t afraid of being tempting to spend more, there are play areas at Barnes and Noble, indoor playgrounds at several local McDonald’s and other areas around town, as well as an indoor carousel and play area at Columbiana Centre Mall.