Parents who are spending the summer entertaining kids might find it expensive to choose movies or expensive activities like a trip to the Zoo. However, there are several options that don’t cost much money and could provide children with more learning opportunities than the traditional choices. Here are some of the best things to do with your kids this summer.
Children Up to Six Years Old
Via Flickr by USAG-Humphreys
Rent Free Videos
Most libraries have free movie rentals. Parents with a library card are able to check-out videos, including exercise films. Children will love to learn introductory Zumba or yoga with their parents, and babies are able to participate in mommy & me yoga workouts. This activity is fun, free, and great for kids who need to learn healthy habits. You can also take this as an opportunity to teach your child about animals. Most libraries have an extensive collection of biology related documentaries that are absolutely great for a budding little biologist.
Visit With Seniors
Most senior centers welcome visitors and volunteers. Take your young children with you for a game of bingo or a pleasant conversation. Seniors will love to hold your baby or to hear your child’s story about painting in preschool. This teaches children to embrace the spirit of volunteerism at a young age and is something they are sure to carry with them into adulthood. Be sure to discuss proper etiquette with your child before planning a trip like this, as there are many situations that could arise like uncomfortable questions. Make sure your child understands the situation beforehand.
Children Over Six Years Old
Via Flickr by Melissa Hiller
Create a Scavenger Hunt
For those lucky parents who have a lot of extra time, creating a scavenger hunt is a great way to get shy kids out of their shells. Lead the children on a safe path around the neighborhood or yard, teaching them things as they go. For example, one clue could be hidden in the first chapter of a new book so that your kid has to read to find it. Make sure the prize at the end keeps your child interested during the harder clues and tasks. Prizes can vary from simple things like a new book or toy to a family vacation. You’ll likely find your child creating their own scavenger hunts with friends after they’ve enjoyed their time with you.
Make a Family Blog
You and your child could create a blog that focuses on your favorite hobbies. Here are a few great ideas:
- Travel Blog: Write about your trips and experiences.
- Baking Blog: Blog about each recipe you try together.
- Faith Blog: Share religious experiences and thoughts.
A blog is easy to start and requires a bit of knowledge on different topics or can have a broad focus. Be sure to show your child examples of similar blogs in your theme, such as Ed Young Fellowship for a faith blog. Let your kid help you pick the color scheme and template to make it more interesting for him or her. This can be a great long-term project you can both share.
Make a Photo Album
Give your child an old camera with a digital card that he or she can use all summer. Download pictures together and print the best ones. Create an album of the summer or a scrapbook. You could even start a Facebook page for your kid to share photographs with family members. If you go this route, make sure to go through the settings and adjust privacy settings so the page will only be visible to those that you want to see it. Scrap booking is a great activity that your child will appreciate well into their future.
It’s easy to keep your kids busy this summer so that they don’t pester you or get into trouble. These free and cheap activities are a great place to start, but there are thousands of ideas you can find by searching online. Remember to ask other parents for advice; too, they might have fun ideas that apply to your entire neighborhood.