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The Coupon Lady: Inexpensive summer fun for kids

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With school out, I’ve spent the past two weeks trying to get accustomed to having my children at home every day. As a writer, a temporarily single mom with a husband overseas and caregiver to a sick father, I’m still struggling to balance everything.

The splash pad at the playground behind the Columbia County Library in Evans offers children a fun chance to cool off on hot summer days, and it's free.  FILE
FILE
The splash pad at the playground behind the Columbia County Library in Evans offers children a fun chance to cool off on hot summer days, and it's free.

With the summer break lasting 12 weeks, it can be a challenge to figure out fun things to do that don’t break the bank. I am always searching for things that keep the kids busy enough to prevent them from tearing up the house.

At the beginning of the month, I listed the first four showings of the Summer Movie Program at Regal Augusta Exchange Stadium 20 at 1144 Agerton Lane. If you get there by no later than 9:20 a.m., you can watch a 10 a.m. showing of a family-friendly movie for just a dollar per person. Concessions are also offered (at normal prices), so you can pick up a kid pack of a small serving of popcorn, gummies, and drink for about $5.

If you are looking for cheap evening movie entertainment, you might want to check out Masters Value Cinemas at 2824 Washington Road. All showings cost just $2.50. Current PG family-friendly choices include Oz: The Great and Powerful and Escape From Planet Earth. Although tickets are not available on Fandango, you can view movie offerings and times there.

Another good idea for inexpensive family fun is to take advantage of our local parks. There are several in the area with splash pads, so take some sunscreen, a towel and a change of clothes for your little one.

There is a splash pad at Wood Park on 1866 Highland Ave., but you can also take advantage of the fountains near the farmer’s market near the intersection of Eighth and Reynolds streets or Brookfield Park at 2740 Mayo Road, just off the intersection of Riverwood Parkway and Stevens Creek Road.

My family’s favorite water feature park is behind Columbia County Library. It has a few simple cannons and jets and shaded playgrounds.

While you are there, be sure to take advantage of the library. At 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., it boasts a capacity of 95,000 books for adults and 58,000 children’s books, along with DVDs, CDs, and other media. Parents can also join in on the reading fun. If you have a tablet, you can rent books electronically through their system.

There are many programs available for children at your local library. All area libraries are participating in the Summer Reading Challenge. Participants can earn a free prize pack once they have completed the age-appropriate required reading. If you have your Lexile or AR score for your child, the library can assist you in finding age-appropriate material for your child to stay on target.

In addition, there are several educational events at the library in Evans. On Tuesday, June 18, at 6:30 p.m., Larry’s Amazing Bird Show will give a talk about birds and show off the abilities of some feathered friends.

On Wednesday, June 19, at 2 p.m., the Savannah River Ecology Lab will be bringing reptiles. Come and give your child a chance to get up close and personal with wildlife.

One of the summertime activities I looked forward to the most as a child was Vacation Bible School. If you are looking for a nearby event, try the Augusta Chronicle’s online events calendar at events.augusta.com or the more faith-specific WAFJ 88.3’s site at wafj.com.

My children have friends who attend several churches in the area, so we get invited to join his friends when each church holds its VBS program. Although it is not required, I give a love offering to the church if we are not members. I choose to do so in order to cover the church’s materials and food costs for my children in gratitude.

The important thing is not to let your summer slip by!

The Augusta area provides plenty of opportunity for an adventure with your family. Maybe we’ll see you outside!


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