PART 1 of 4
Thanks to Savvy Spending for passing along these great ideas,
1) Visit the library: Most libraries have a summer reading program that will entice your kids to keep reading while school’s out. My kids already finished their requirements and are now waiting to pick out their last prize: a free book at the library in August. Aside from reading programs, libraries have fun and educational computer games for kids to play, magazines to look at, games and movies to rent, puzzles and puppets for the younger ones. We usually can easily spend 1-2 hours at our library each week.
2) Go to the Park: I am fortunate to live in a city with dozens of public parks that are fun and safe for my kids. Pack a picnic lunch or go early in the morning and have a picnic breakfast before the weather (and playground equipment) gets too hot. I have fond memories of going to a park as a child, eating Dunkin Donuts on a blanket with my mom and sisters, and making up games of tag and pirates.
3) Go on a treasure hunt: This could be one that you’ve pre-arranged with clues and prizes, or just go for a walk and see what you can find. My 5 year old has the sharpest eyes and will find a “treasure” no matter where we go. It may be a feather, a seed, a shell, or something that looks to you like garbage, but to a young child, it’s exciting to find something! For older kids, create clues to lead them around your house, neighborhood, or back yard and have the final prize be a coupon for a ice cream cone or something fun!
4) See a movie: What child doesn’t enjoy a trip to the movie theater? Many theaters offer $1 summer movies or free movies on select days. It may be a movie that has already been released on video, but it’s still fun to see it in the theater and get some popcorn!
5) Put up a tent: Even if you aren’t a camper, try putting a tent in your backyard and just watch your kids enjoy it! You could borrow one from a friend if you don’t have one.
6) Wash the car: Kids LOVE to play with water, so why not surprise Daddy with a clean car? You wash the inside and have the kids clean the outside. If there is still time, wash the bikes, or your neighbor’s car (if it’s okay with them). Water+ soap bubbles + kids is always a winning combination!
7) Go to the museum: Our library has passes you can check out to get free admittance to many museums. You can also check to see if your local museums have summer rates or days you can go for free.
8) Go feed the ducks: We actually save our state bread and buns for this very reason. There are many small ponds in our area with lots of ducks and the girls love to go feed them. If your city doesn’t have ponds, try looking for a local metropark.
9) Visit a local farmer’s market: Make a list of things your kids have to find while there. If they are able to find all the fruits and veggies on their list, let them pick out some treat to take home!
10) Pick your own fruit: This is a great family activity! For some reason, my girls love to pick fruit and “berries” (anything small they find on a tree is a “berry”). It’s great to support local farmers, learn how the fruit is grown, and take home a yummy treat. You can go here to find u-pick locations near you.