Skip to main content
Online Banking
Open Online Banking

Finance 101

Family Fun on a Shoestring Budget

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Cleo Haynes

During summer months, many parents struggle with keeping their children entertained because they fear it requires spending an arm and a leg. There’s good news; a little online searching or scouting the newspaper will help you find many family activities that are offered at little to no cost!


Museums – We have great museums in the Quad City area which offer workshops, programs and even special summer rates. Go on their websites and look at their calendars to pick out your favorite events to attend this summer. Some also have an e-mail link so you can receive their newsletters and stay up to date on exhibits.


Local Parks – Check schedules for free activities, tours and classes offered at parks, nature centers or even our local Niabi Zoo. There are also several water parks on both sides of the Mississippi River.


The Channel Cat Water Taxi is a fun inexpensive way to cross the river. One of their stops is at the Ben Butterworth Parkway where you can take a bike ride along the Great River Trail.


Homemade ice cream is a great way to end a day of leisure or exploring! Making your own ice cream is super easy and can be a really fun project to do. We’ve got the scoop on a way to make this treat at home with no special appliances.

What you’ll need:

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup milk or half & half

¼ teaspoon vanilla

6 tablespoons rock salt

1 pint-sized plastic food storage bag

1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag

Ice cubes

How to make it:


  1. Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.


  3. Put milk, vanilla and sugar into the small bag and seal it.


  5. Place the small bag inside the large one and seal it again carefully.


  7. Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.


  9. Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!


Tips: A 1/2 cup milk will make about 1 scoop of ice cream, so double the recipe if you want more. But don’t increase the proportions more than that – a large amount might be too big for kids to pick-up because the ice itself is heavy. If there is a milk allergy, try this with fruit juice. Use straight pineapple juice – it’s a great fruit sorbet, or rice/soy milk as the milk substitute.