We’re sitting smack dab in the middle of summer. If you’re like me, you’re about ready to pull your hair out by now – but you don’t have to! There are plenty of free activities to keep your child busy this summer, no matter where you live! Don’t believe me? Give these 10 activities a try.
Visit Your Local Library
Exercise is important for the body, and the brain! Help your child’s brain grow by encouraging them to read. Give them regular access to an entire library of new-to-them books. Let them browse and find the one that excites them – even if it’s a comic book. Just something that they can spend five minutes with each day.
Studies also suggest we should read to our kids for as long as possible – and read above their grade level. Share your favorite childhood stories with them. Use this opportunity to refresh your own mind on the magic of classic childhood favorites, like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. Read them a little bit of silly, too. (I personally recommend Dr. Seuss.)
Get them to enjoy reading by making it fun, and you’ll foster a life-long habit.
Plus, the library often hosts additional programs like science days, local performers and game nights. Our library offers craft seminars, mommy and baby(toddler) classes and drama club. There are free programs for kids of all ages!
Go for a Walk (Or Ride) Around the Neighborhood
Everyone’s a little mopey and irritable. The kids are spending too much time in their rooms or on their devices. I’m feeling a little worn out and sluggish myself. t’s the classic signs of mid-summer slump. We go through it every single year.
Our remedy for this mid-summer sag is to go out for a walk and grab a few rays of sunshine. Even if it’s only 15 minutes. Sometimes we cheat a little; we go for a drive instead. (The mosquitos are killer out here!)
Either way – walk or drive – we use the opportunity to connect with our kids. We turn it into an adventure and discover new places. We remind ourselves that there are so many things we still haven’t had the chance to do. (And now we can make more plans!)
Take a Trip to the Nearest National Park
This one isn’t entirely free; some parks do charge, but if they do, the fee is usually pretty nominal. You may also need to drive for a while to get there, depending on where you live.
If it’s a long trip, you’ll need to account for lunch (I suggest packing one, as it saves you money and gives you the best overall experience). But what you’ll gain for anything that you do spend is an amazing adventure – perhaps one you wouldn’t have considered if you’d planned to spend money.
Some parks truly are once-in-a-lifetime experiences, yet just a short drive away.
On five days in 2019, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. Mark your calendar for these entrance
- January 21: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- April 20: First day of National Park Week
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 28: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Visit a Local Farm
Recent food shortages have gotten a lot of people thinking about their food chain; some aren’t liking what they’re learning. A few are even taking it upon themselves to join the local food chain movement, even if only in a small way (shopping more locally, shopping at farmers’ markets, etc.).
Whether you’re new to the movement, still learning, or an absolute fan, a trip to the local farm could be both fun and enriching for the whole family.
It also gives kids a chance to meet the people in their community who run the farms and allows them to ask questions and learn one on one. Seeing how a farm is run can give them a better appreciation of the process involved with getting their favorite foods to the table.
Often a trip to a local farm is free or less than the cost of visiting a zoo, and there is so much for kids to see and learn!
Go On a Scavenger Hunt
Most kids love a good scavenger hunt, and the internet has a treasure trove of them! Whether you’re going to the beach or on a hike, you can tailor the scavenger hike to the adventure and have kids look for various items related to your destination.
You can also put together a list of things kids can look for during a road trip. ie, certain types of animals, specific cars, landmarks.
Your kids will have a blast!
Bake Cookies for Your Neighbors
I’ve had some good neighbors, but I’ve also had some that challenged me. Either way, we baked things for them. It’s good practice in community involvement.
It also teaches your children that we all have to work together to make the world a better place – and that the journey usually starts with us.
What I’ve learned is this: Our first judgment call of a neighbor isn’t always accurate. Sometimes, paying just the smallest kindness can open you up to a whole new perspective and way of life.
Arrange a Play-Date
Play-dates can happen anywhere – the park, a friend’s, even the local mall. During the Summer months, kids can lose contact with their friends. Hanging out outside of school is important because kids aren’t bound to a certain time frame or narrative and can play more naturally.
Plus, you host today and you may end of with a free afternoon if the other parent reciprocates down the road.
It really is a win-win.
Summer is the perfect time for planting! Give your kids the gift of growing something, even if it’s small. The garden teaches us a lot about life.
The importance of caring for a thing (compassion and responsibility). The way that different elements come together to create life (eco-systems). Even the natural process of life – seasons, living and dying – they’re reflected in gardening as well.
You don’t have to go that deep, of course. You don’t even have to talk about it. Just being there, planting something, watching it grow – it teaches in a silent sort of way, all on its own.
As an added bonus – having your children assist you in the garden can increase the chance that they will eat more of the fruits and vegetables they have helped to grow!
Try Something from Your Pinterest Board
We all have them…those neatly organized Pin Boards. All those wonderful ideas, just a click away. Commit to doing one this summer. That’s it. Just the one. I’ve already done mine, so I’m on the “other side.” Let me tell you, flop or flare, it’s still just as empowering to have tried.
Build a Fort
What’s more fun during childhood than a fort? Odds are, you have a few spare sheets and blankets laying around. Perhaps some rope, fishing wire, or even yarn? Maybe a few chairs, or a
Not only will it foster your family’s teamwork, building their own special structure gives them a place to read, color or just hang out with friends!