A part of my summer entertainment for my kids is going to the mall. I think I’m the only person I know of, though, that doesn’t spend a dime when we go there!
Malls (both indoor and outodor) are a great way to beat the heat and keep the kids entertained during the summer months. But can you go without spending any money? Here are some tips:
1. Check your mall’s website. Many malls have free entertainment during the summer. One of our local malls has clowns, magicians and musicians performing shows in the afternoon.
2. Set the expectations with your kids. If you are not going to spend any money there, tell your kids before you go so that they are not disappointed. I still do this every time with my kids. If they see something they are dying to have, tell them you can write it down and they can add it to their birthday or Christmas wish list.
3. There’s more to entertain than just the mall playground. Book stores are a great place to visit–our mall has a Barnes & Noble which has a great kids section with a train table and many interactive displays. The Lego Store always has play tables available. Does your mall have an ice skating rink? We’ve gone to watch a hockey game and to watch some talented athletes train for an ice skating competition. Many of the outdoor lifestyle malls have upped their kid entertainment offerings too–our nearby outdoor mall has a splash pad and a big sand play area.
4. Plan your time so that you are not there during a meal time. That way, you won’t be tempted to give in to hunger and go out to eat. Mid-morning or mid-afternoon works best for us.
5. Bring snacks. Inevitably, your kids will get hungry. Bring snacks, find a nice place to sit and eat them. Then you won’t be tempted to stop at the cookie store.
6. Stick to your budget. If your goal was to not spend any money, stick to it! Don’t be tempted by any great deals or sales you see. Leave without buying it. Sleep on it, ask yourself the next day if you still need it.
7. Vary your destinations! Don’t visit the same mall all the time. Are there other nearby malls or outdoor malls nearby?
8. Meet up with friends. The kids will love meeting up with their other friends there for a playdate. Just make sure they don’t sabotage your spending goals!
***Note: Most malls have candy machines for 25 cents. Although this post is about not spending any money at the mall, the candy machines can be a cheap reward for kids.