Summer Plans? 4 low-cost ideas to try with your kids

Cara Parenting 3 Comments

THE NEW YOU (2)Summer is officially upon most of us. The calendar is turning to July and that means school has been out awhile for most of us. It also means we need to fill the empty days that seem to be dragging on. Whether you homeschool or not, here are a few ideas to get you started. Then let me know what ideas you can pass on to the rest of us!

  1. Become a tourist in your own back yard. With just a little digging, I bet you’ll find some museums that you’ve never explored. I can think of an art museum in our hometown that the kids and I have only visited once. Then we’ve got the local university which I just learned has an Amelia Earhart collection. How about visiting all those parks you always mean to picnic at, but never actually go? Don’t forget water parks, state parks, and other places you can get outside and away from screen time. I’m sure there are resources like these in your hometown or nearby, too. With just a little searching we can create lots of inexpensive outings and day trips for our families.
  2. Keep a little school in the schedule. Math flashcards or workbooks can be a great way to keep the math skills sharp over the summer or focus on weaker areas. Summer is also a great time to enhance areas your kids enjoy but may not have time to focus on during the school year. For example, my older two children have had private art lessons in the summer. It’s a subject they love, but slips to the side during the school year. Enhance that reading list. Many libraries and bookstores have summer reading programs. Sign up and then read together or listen to audiobooks as a family. We love audiobooks when we’re traveling.
  3. Scour garage sales or thrift shops for things that will let their imaginations play. Everything from dress-up clothes to books and games can be found inexpensively. And no matter how many plans you make, rainy days will come. On those days your kids will be thrilled to have some new to them items to play with or read. And any time we can encourage them to tap into their imaginations it’s a good thing.
  4. Does your child have friends they don’t want to lose touch with over the summer? Then try something like an interest club. One summer, my oldest had a once a month bookclub for her friends. They had a lot of fun. We added things like pool parties and sleepovers, and it became a great way for her to spend time with her friends and mix her friends across groups. Other moms graciously sent snacks so it wasn’t even a drain for me. My oldest son attended a summer camp at Purdue, our local university, with a friend. The camp was free — it took a little digging to find, but not much — and he and his buddy enjoyed learning computer programming together.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. What do you do with your kids to fill the summer and minimize whining?

Comments 3

  1. Very nice family photo!
    School has let out for us too. I made a list of summer goals for each of my kids. two of them (I hope) will learn to ride a two wheel bike, two will learn to tie shoe laces. I hope to have sport camps with my kids this summer, teaching them to play baseball, soccer, kickball, etc…I can’t wait to start the summer. We are close to the Catoctin Mountains and the beach, not to mention a hop, skip and a jump away from DC and it’s fabulous museums. (particularly the air and space museum)But a nice picnic under our shade tree makes a great afternoon too!
    Thanks for sharing, Cara, have a great summer with your family!

  2. Love those ideas, Rachel! And you live in a great location. We lived in DC for 8 years, primarily before kids. I’ve always thought that would be a great place for a season with kids — there’s so much to do.

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