Summertime is here and you can hear the kids cheering! But to some parents this can mean stressful weeks ahead as entertaining kids every day for three months can be exhausting and expensive. Whether you work or stay home, here are some summer activities you can do with your kids to have a stress-free and exciting summer on a budget.
No matter your child’s age you can start a kid’s book club and exchange. Meet at the library or your home and start by reading age appropriate books. Pull out some costumes or snacks that may tie the theme of the book together. Be sure to keep a chart of the number of books or pages read to see your family’s accomplishment at the end of the summer. Reward goals along the way with ice cream or pizza night in the theme of a book. A big favorite chapter book is Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. After reading the book have a chocolate party and watch the original movie and the remake.
For some typical outdoor ideas that may be new to your children, open a lemonade or fruit cup stand. Round up the neighborhood kids, mix lemonade or cut fruit, paint signs, and set up supplies. Find a spot and set up shop. Be sure to choose a safe location away from a busy street. Consider putting an umbrella over the stand to keep the kids cool. Any money made can go to the summer fund for activities.
Teach your children the value of community service by volunteering at a local food bank, homeless shelter, or humane society. If you don’t have the ability to do that, then simply bake some cookies together and drop off at the centers. This is also a good time to clean out the closest of clothes and toys and donate them to an organization. The experience of giving of time and self will be invaluable. Log how many hours your kids volunteer so they can be rewarded for their goals.
Schedule a field trip on days you have together. Some ideas are to visit the museum, zoo, park, beach, farm, bowling alley, carnival, science center, etc. You could also make a special trip to go visit a family member or friend your children may not usually be able to see during the school year. Be sure to pack a bag in case they offer an overnight invitation for your children to stay and play!
With technology on smart phones and computers these days so easily accessible, making home videos can be a way to get in touch with both you and your children’s creative side. Write scripts together, pick out costumes, put on make up, and start acting! And if you are really brave, post that video to youtube! These are priceless memories you will treasure forever!
A few summertime classics you may have forgotten about are building forts, dress-up, board games or cards, flying a kite, washing the car, and firefly collecting. By throwing these into the mix your kids are sure to be entertained for hours.
Put aside the mommy guilt if your children are sitting on the couch to watch a movie or play video games here and there. It is important to give children and kids down time where there are no activities scheduled, and these are things children love to do with their friends. Just be sure the games and movies are age appropriate and limit the activity to only an hour a day. Also be sure to provide healthy snacks.
Lastly, many communities offer day and overnight camps providing meals and activates for children of all ages. Many are free or low cost. You can check local Boys and Girls clubs for sports camps, and also check local churches for Vacation Bible Schools. These are great places for your children to make new friends and develop skills beyond what they learn in school.
Letting children play outdoors, explore, and be creative is as vital in their growth and development. You don’t have to spend a lot of money this summer to keep them entertained. Don’t wait to hear “I’m bored!” Make a plan now and get started with some quality time together this summer.
Article by Nicole Hoff