As the school year comes to an end, many parents go into panic mode. The realization hits you, junior will not be going to school this morning bright and early. Instead, he will be staying with you. As enjoyable as it is to have more time with the kiddos during the summer, the fact of the matter is they often get bored. Weekly visits to water parks, restaurants, festivals, carnivals, museums, and other fun outings can really start to add up.
We have complied a list of ideas for entertaining the kids during the summer months that won't take money away from their college funds. Oh, and trust us, Junior won't notice the price difference.
- Invest in some board games. Make sure they are age appropriate to avoid choking hazards.
- Print off coloring and activity pages.Freecoloringpages, The Coloring Spot, and DLTK's Coloring Pages all have free coloring pages you can print off and have children color in. Keep them and put them in a cute binder. Years later, your child can reminiscence about that summer.
- Rent popular VHS and DVD's from your local library for free, pop some popcorn, turn off the lights and VOILA! - Movie time at home!
- Go outside! Bicycling, tricycling, skateboarding, roller blading, and both fun and exercise.
- Host a cooking class using some kid-friendly recipes,
- Purchase a few inexpensive DVD rom software games. These will say the age group intended for on the package. Children as small as 12 months can use these games to virtually interact. Bonus- Many are educational, but fun. To save even more money, check out thrift stores, or the used section at Gamestop.
- Have children make scrapbooks about their daily activities using pictures, stickers, crayons, and markers.
- Go camping in the backyard.
- Make home made play dough
For additional tips on entertaining children at home, check out our article Entertaining Children for $2 or less
Excursions and adventures
- Get an annual or seasonal pass for a favorite zoo or museum. If you really use the pass, it will pay for itself in 2-3 visits.
- If you live near a beach, pack up some lunch, snacks, wattle bottles, towels, sand toys, goggles and a beach ball and head out for a day trip. People that live by the waterfront often forget to take advantage of the free and natural playground. To really spice things up, bury treasure and have a treasure hunt with inexpensive toys or small coins.
- Go to the Kids Workshop at Home Depot for some free fun! These workshops take place on the first Saturday of each month from 9:00 A.M.- 12:00 noon.
- Visit the park. Beyond the playground, encourage playtime on the volleyball and basketball courts.
- Take the city bus instead of the car for added adventure
- Many shopping malls have new indoor play areas made of foam. Give these a try on a really hot day when the outside playground just isn't an option.
- Visit a botanical garden and have everybody pick, and take a picture of their favorite plant. Compare and discuss at home
- Forgo the water park and try the public pool. Most of these have designated areas for small children, and large diving pools for teens. Admission is generally less than $5.00 for adults, and free for small children. (Compare this with rates upwards $40.00 at water parks!)
- Local museums: The admission is cheap(and sometimes free), and the exhibits change all the time.
- Many local and community colleges, and city recreation centers offer classes for children in the summertime. In general, they last a few weeks, and are inexpensive.
Interacting with other children and families
- Trade off "play dates" with a friend or neighbor that has children of a similar age. It gives both of you much-needed breaks and provides free entertainment if hosted in a home
- Visit Meetup.com. It's a wonderful website that connects you with other groups in your area. You can find parent groups on here and set up large or small play dates and outing
- Gather large groups of parents and children together for cheap day outings, such as going to a picnic at a park.
- Set up a day of the week for a group of children and parents to meet up and go out to eat, according to kids eat free day. Find restaurants at MyKidsEatFree
This article was featured at Why Homeschool's Carnival of Homeschooling...check it out for some pointers to other great blogs.