SUMMER FUN FOR KIDS
SUMMER FUNClick thumbnail to view full-size
CHEAP AND FUN SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
The more children a person has, the more they know about the available activities in the area for children to do. Usually, when you have a great deal of money, finding those activities that cost a great deal of money is easy. But if you are a single parent, or a might-as-well-be-a-single parent, you tend to want to find as many ideas as possible to occupy your children's time, especially as summer nears. Here are some ideas I have come to know as a mother of three.
1. ZOO PASSES. Usually, the zoos have annual passes which are affordable. Although there may be "blackout dates" when you can't enjoy the zoo because of special functions, you can still spend a great deal of time there. Usually, they let you bring a cooler or packed meals so that you can spend more time there. But be sure to call ahead and make sure the day is available, as you don't want to get there and find out you have to pay that day. It happened to me.
2. CERAMICS. This is a fun way to unwind for adults as well. Painting ceramics is a relaxing experience, a great way to destress. Your children can do it at the same time. If you luck into a really good ceramics place, the teacher will direct your children while you are able to relax and paint as well. Call around for different prices. Sometimes they only charge a nominal amount and many even offer summer camps.
3. FEEDING THE FISH. I used to take my son to feed the birds at the library, but then that whole bird flu thing came along, and now we feed the fish. If you choose to feed the birds, use bird seed. You can feed fish your stale bread, crackers, etc. And children LOVE watching the fish swarm on the food. However, this may not be a good activity for children who don't know how to swim. You also may want to make sure you go to a place that has a good, sturdy railing. And be sure to dispose of your bread wrappers and other garbage properly, as not doing so can be detrimental to the environment. I have seen many people litter while doing this activity.
4. PUBLIC OR COMMUNITY POOLS. Many of these have slides and water sprays that children can enjoy for hours. In the summertime, they usually teach inexpensive swimming classes as well. Be sure to bring a Coast Guard approved life jacket for children who cannot swim, and stay very close to them. You can also just hose 'em down in the backyard or let them play in the sprinklers, if you don't have a pool.
5. VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL. The summer savior. If you look for these in your area, you can sometimes schedule the children for three hour days at vacation bible school. They usually have a theme, the children have fun, and you get a break. If you can't find any online, ask at your church. If your church is not offering one, other churches may. Each church usually has a vbs that lasts a week.
6. ARTS AND CRAFTS. There are a multitude of art and craft ideas, but none so great as those formed by a youngster who has tools as simple as paper, crayons, glue, buttons, pieces of yarn, safety scissors, etc. Empty paper towel rolls make great telescopes, too, which can be decorated. You can also buy colored clay, which can be baked in the oven and immortalized with glaze. With popsicle sticks and magic markers, they can make totem poles.
7. FAMILY FUN NIGHTS. It doesn't have to be an expensive night at a family restaurant. It can be pizza from the oven and a game of Crazy Eights. Most kids love games of any kind, and it is even more fun if you let them make up the rules.You can also bake a cake. Boys and girls alike enjoy this project. It can get messy, but it creates family memories that will last a lifetime. Even washing the car together can be fun, if it is done the right way.
8. PARENTING CLASSES. Although designed for people in crisis, these can be helpful to any family. A good parenting class will give you a small break from your children while teaching you about good parenting skills. Then they will watch you interact with your children and give you pointers. The one we went to (THREE TIMES) has actually become a happy memory for my children and I. The first hour, the children would go to their own counselors, and I would be in a class during this time. The second hour, the children would come in, and we would play games or do scheduled activities. There was never a time we left those classes feeling anything but closer as a family. It does help if both parents attend, however, as if only one parent is going, it can lead to inconsistency in parenting, which can also cause problems. If you are having any kind of trouble with your children, I strongly suggest parenting classes. Usually, they are offered in more than one place. Take all the classes you can. You can get more ideas for inexpensive activities in your area there as well as any kind of counseling you may need for your current situation or crisis. Sometimes this can be a great way to get indispensable advice.
9. PARK HOPPING. Get out a map. Plan your route. Pack lunches. Drive them to the park and let them play until they are bored with one park, and then head for the next one. One thing to be careful of is ant hills, and another is rough play. Children should always observe safety rules and not climb on the outsides of slides or go up the slide, as someone else may be coming down the slide and hurt them. A sentence my children have always known is, "UP the STAIRS, DOWN the SLIDE."
10. VISITING. I remember as a child going from house to house in the neighborhood "visiting" the neighbors. Now, I visit friends and relatives. More often, we have visitors at our home, and the children play together.
11. THE LIBRARY. Self-explanatory. You can read books and check out movies. You can let them play there with the toys the library may have. You can sign them up for various arts and crafts activities and summer programs.
12. BALLOON PLAY. You can blow up balloons and make them into animals with a marker (ie make the pink ones into pigs, make the yellow ones into ducks, make the green ones into turtles, etc.) and then let the children bat them around with fly swatters. That gets some energy out, and the kids have a blast!
There are many more ideas, to be sure, but you can start with these and collect information for your town from churches and schools and other child-related people and places close to you.
Have an awesome summer!
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