Cheap and Free Summer Activities for Kids

It’s officially summer time so that means every parent is going to hear these old faithful words:

“I’m bored.”

I can honestly say as a child, I said those words. As a teen, I said those words. Hell, even as an adult, I said those words.

But never fear! Here is a small list of cheap and free summer activities for everyone to enjoy. Yes, cheap and free. This is part one of a two-part series. The second part will focus on cheap and free activities to do in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

But first, the free part:

  1. Summer Reading Club. Every library has one and they offer prizes for the most hours or books read during a timeframe. Check your local library.
  2. Going to the watering hole. Some parks have watering holes where the kids can play in them.
  3. Going on a neighborhood walk. I often have Bear take out his scooter and we just go around the neighborhood. We both get exercise and it’s a great source of entertainment that’s not a tablet.
  4. Going to the park. Always free and great exercise for the kids. When Bear was younger, I tried to take him to a different park most days of the week so he never got used to just one park. This method has worked because Bear has a variety of favorite parks he goes to.
  5. Backyard camping. So, if you don’t have a backyard, why not set up camp in your living room or your child’s room? Be creative!
  6. Going to a free museum. In Los Angeles, there are a few museums that have free admissions. Some museums might offer special summer hours where you can go for free. Check your local museum.
  7. Home Depot building workshops. Every 1st or 2nd Saturday, Home Depot offers free building workshops for the family. Yes, FREE. Check your local Home Depot.
  8. Playdates. Why not? Have the parents get some adult interaction and leave the children to their devices. My only rule is when there’s a playdate, no tablets are played.
  9. Lego building. Sometimes when Bear doesn’t want to play with his hundreds of Legos at home, I take him to the Lego store so he can build there.
  10. Walking the dog. Now we don’t have a dog (yet), but here’s another free activity that will get exercise for everyone.

Now, the cheap part:

Making stovetop S’mores. You haven’t lived until you’ve made S’mores over a stove. Buying all of the ingredients will be less than $10.

Fingerpainting. Every kid and even some adults love to do this. Paints are relatively inexpensive and won’t cost you more than $10, if that.

Flying a kite. I haven’t flown a kite in years but why not start now?

Water balloon fight. Easy peasy. Less than $10.

Gardening. Most plants will cost only a few bucks and it’s something even children really enjoy to see what they’ve planted grow. Prices vary.

Putting together a puzzle. Bear loves puzzles and he’s become quite good at them.

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Playing board games. Most are less than $10.

Sidewalk chalk art. You can a nice set of chalk anywhere for less than $10.

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Visiting the Zoo. The L.A. Zoo has admission for under $40, but that does not include price of food and goodies.

Silly string fight! Yeah, it’s messy but oh-so fun. Two cans will cost you around $10.

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Water ballon fight! Again, messy but a lot of fun. Under $10.

Washing the car. If you have the luxury of washing your car, try it with the kids. I used to love washing the car with my siblings. I still enjoy washing the car now.

Homemade science experiments. Bear and I love to do these because how creative we can get. Sometimes all you need is a bottle of Diet Coke and a few Mentos.

Indoor Playgrounds. I know a lot of people have so-so feelings about playing to play inside a playground, but indoor playgrounds are nice for this very reason. You can often sit down and relax, while your kid goes HAM. Prices vary.

Visiting a farm. Some farms have very cheap admission, but you do have to pay for whatever you pick. Check your local farms.

Confetti fight. Messy but fun. Under $10 for two cannons.

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Museum family sleepovers. Some museums offer sleepovers for the entire family to enjoy! Check your local museum.

Going to the beach. I put this under cheap, though it can get pricey depending on what beach you go to. However, if you bring your own food and drink, it’s very cheap and all you have to pay for is parking, if that.

Chuck E. Cheese’s. I say this is cheap, though it can get pricey. However, on Wednesdays, kids can have an unlimited amount of plays for an hour and trust me, this is so worth it. Prices vary.

Window painting with shaving cream, paint, and food coloring. Super fun and super easy. And very cheap! Prices vary but expect everything to cost under $15 total.

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Have a picnic. You don’t even need to go to the park. Heck, you don’t even need to leave home. Set up shop at home and have a nice picnic.

Visiting an aquarium. This is cheap but can get pricey. Admission is usually under $40 for two. Bring snacks!

How do you like to kill time during the summer?

 

 

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Father’s Day Beauty Gifts That Don’t Suck

I think as a society, we have evolved in just giving coffee mugs and ridiculous ties to the fathers in our lives. I have to admit, I used to be guilty of just that. After all, I knew my dad liked coffee and he sometimes wore a tie.

Now, while I will include the aforementioned gifts in this post, I think we should explore other things for our special men. Let’s go!

Jack Black’s Beard Grooming Kit

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My hubby has a beard and while it’s easy for him to take care of because it’s rather small, some men might need a bit more work with theirs. I bought this for Maks a few years ago and not only does it last a long time, but it’s made his beard very soft and manageable.

You can get Jack Black’s beard care at Amazon, Sephora, Ulta, and Target. The retail price is $35.00.

Oyin Handmade’s Smooth Operator

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So let’s say the special man in your life does have detangling issues with his beard and he’ll need a little more help. Oyin Handmade has a solution for you. This works on all beard types and will leave your man looking smoother than a Barry White record.

Oyin Handmade is available on Amazon and it’s retail site. It’s a black-owned company.

Barber’s Pro Gentleman’s Sheet Mask Duo

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Men wearing masks have become all of the Instagram rage. Whether they’re actually taking care of their skin or they’re just doing it for the ‘Gram, remains to be seen. However, if the man in your life is serious about having great skin, a good option is Gentleman’s Sheet Mask.

Not only is it formulated to take care of a man’s needs (not sure what that means but I digress), but it’s also facial hair friendly. Don’t let the price fool you – this is a splurge as many facial masks are under $5.00.

At Nordstrom, for two, you’ll pay $17.00 without tax. At Amazon, you’ll pay under $10.00 without tax.

Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme – Giorgio Armani

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This is one of my favorite scents that Maks wears and by the high ratings of it, a lot of other women love that scent as well. Its woodsy scent is a guaranteed heartbreaker for any man who wears it. It will also guarantee any woman to become full aware of a man who smells wonderful.

Available at Target, WalMart, Amazon, Ulta, Sephora, and Macy’s.

Connaisseur Paris

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You probably never heard of this brand and they’ve been around for a while, though they’re relatively new to me. They’re also black-owned.

They have a wide range of luxury items for any man to wear, regardless of race. I personally like their tie collection (but no men I personally know wear ties!). Check them out and give them a browse (and your dollars!)

Dapper Black Box

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What if your man is into subscription boxes but is trying to find the right one for him? Dapper Black Box will guarantee your man will love what he gets every month and even if he doesn’t love it, he can always share with some friends or family members. Dapper Black Box is also black-owned.

 

Now let’s just say the man in your life is very much a minimalist. He doesn’t do cufflinks, he doesn’t do high-end beauty products. In fact, you’re not sure when’s the last time he actually bought more clothing.

In that case, a gift card will just suffice. Seriously. Why go through all of the headache of trying to figure out what he wants when a gift card will just do the same thing.

I hope all of the fathers have an amazing Father’s Day! xoxoxo

 

Styling a Biracial Child’s Hair in the Summertime!

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It’s unofficially summertime and if your child has curly hair, it’s a trying time! While our hair (Type 3 and Type 4) is rather resilient, it can also be rather problematic at times.

Here are some tips to keep your (and your child’s!)  hair looking fresh this summer, no matter what your hair type is:

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!

I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your child’s hair moisturized. I have seen one too many biracial children with bird’s nest on top of their heads to realize it’s not a child’s hair issue but a parent’s timing issue.

There are a ton (and I do mean a ton) of products out there to keep your child’s hair moisturized. I have to recommend (of course), Shea Moisture’s Curl Milk. Another great choice is Mielle’s Curling Milk as well.

For a biracial child, you don’t want to use any oils for it will bog down the child’s hair. Oil is great for Type 4, but I would not recommend it for Type 3.

Co-washing is your best friend.

Ever since I discovered co-washing when I went natural, my hair wondered what took me so long to do it. I try to co-wash every other day or every two days. With Bear, I try to co-wash his hair every other day. He’s a lot more active than I am so he will get into a bit more mess than I do.

If you want to splurge, you can’t get any better than Bumble and Bumble co-wash. Not only is it a conditioner, but it also detangles the ever-loving fack out of your child’s curly hair. It’s also great for all hair types.

If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend As I Am co-wash or Pantene’s co-wash. Another great choice that is not readily available in stores is Head & Shoulders.

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Stick it in the fridge.

It’s hot outside, yo! And your scalp is going to need something cool for it. Put your products in the fridge to cool them down. It won’t harm them and your scalp will appreciate it.

Heat is NOT your best friend.

If you normally straighten your child’s hair, lay off the heat this summer. There is no point of using heat only for the humidity to make your child’s hair poof like a mushroom cloud. For Bear, I usually have his hair air dry.

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Ain’t Nothing Wrong with DIY.

Some of the best products I’ve made were just going into my kitchen or bathroom and see what works. In another post, I’ll share a few recipes, but there is nothing wrong in saving money (and most importantly, saving your child’s hair) by making your own. Heck, some of your products might turn out better than the store bought ones!

Finally, experiment!

I recommended some great products but there are a ton more on the market and they are catered specifically to curly hair. Some of them are very cheap and do just as a great job as the premium ones.

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Why Sweet Potatoes Are Amazeballs

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I recently had mashed sweet potatoes. Well, let’s backtrack just a tad. It’s not the first time I’ve had it, but it was a first time in a long while I realized just how freakin’ amazing they were.

Despite my newfound sent home to glory moment in the kitchen, I had to wonder why sweet potatoes and its various forms (my favorite being the sweet potato pie) was so good for you.

And it turns out there are a ton of reasons.

I’ll list a few but I do encourage you to click the link above. Let’s gooooooooooo!

  • They’re good for your hair and skin, yo.

They’re chalkfull of Vitamins A, C, E, which help nourish your hair and skin from the inside out. They also promote hair growth. So put down the potions and toupees, and pick up some sweet potatoes.

  •  They’re good for digestion.

If you need help going potty (sorry, I’m stuck on Mommy mode), you don’t need to take a laxative. Just eat a sweet potato. It has so much fiber, your stomach might start doing backflips because it’s being taken care of. That also leads to my next point:

  • They’re good for weight loss.

Because let’s face it: with all of that newfound fiber you’re consuming, you’re probably going to be going a whole lot more.

  • They’re good for fertility.

I’m not currently pregnant but I do plan to start trying again very soon (and I’ll only announce when I’m pregnant). Sweet potatoes have a healthy dose of iron, which is essential getting pregnant. Like I mentioned earlier, they’re also full of vitamin A, which is also super important in getting knocked up, y’all!

  • They’re super good for reducing stress, including insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

So, check it: if you eat a sweet potato, it has so much magnesium in it, you’re whole body will be at ease (and I imagine with all of those trips to the bathroom, that’s a part of it, lmaoooo). But eating sweet potatoes help alleviate depression and make you happier.

So, go ahead! Try a sweet potato. I even have a recipe you can try that I just used yesterday!

 

Mom’s Garage Podcast

Recently, all three of us (really, Maks and Bear) went to see our great friends, Ian and Josh, as they did their new podcast adventure, Mom’s Garage. The focus was on Maks as he spoke about his photography. He also touched on how he dealt with Ethan’s death, and how photography really helped me become a better man.

Bear clearly stole the show and he gets an interview as well! I also make a special guest appearance at the end.

A special shout-out to Ian (Chamo) and Josh, for being gracious hosts. Also, a shout-out to Ian’s mother, who was just so sweet and offered food. I honestly should’ve taken her up on that offer. Next time I will!

Underneath the interview are behind the scenes shots I took!

I hope you enjoy!

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