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10 Cheap, Educational, and Fun Summer Activities for Kids.

Updated on May 6, 2014
No more teachers No more books
No more teachers No more books | Source

Educational and Fun Summer Activities

Every summer children look forward to having a break, and while kids long for freedom, parents fear they will spend too much time behind the television, on the computer, playing video games, or getting into trouble.

In most American families, both parents work, so some form of child care isnecessary. For those who do not have a family member they can count on to fill this gap, it’s necessary to find a program that both parents and children can agree on.The more advanced the child’s interests, the less likely they want to attend something even remotely akin to “day care”.

There are programs and activities available that cover a wide range of interests and budgets, and since “cheep” is in the eye of the checkbook holder, I have included some programs and places that most certainly have a price tag attached while others are free.

1. Community College Summer Youth Programs

Most local Community Colleges offer programs throughout the summer months that encourage students to keep their thinking skills sharp. From hands on science experiments for kindergarteners to financial fitness classes for teens, a wide range of courses are usually offered. Some sessions are as short as a week, while others may be offered for longer periods.

One of the common offerings is various sports camps. Football, baseball ,soccer and cheerleading to name a few. Depending on your area, and the interests of the community, some may offer swim, tennis, and golf instruction.

Some of the appealing course offerings I have seen are Cartooning, Poetry Writing, Adventures in Robotics, Secret Agent Lab, and Food as Art.

Prices vary according to course length, equipment fees, transportation and meals (if offered).

Check out your local Community College and see what they have to offer!

2. Summer Youth Programs Throughout the Community

Organizations throughout many communities such as the YMCA, local Community Centers, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America offer summer youth activities. These can vary from location to location, but most offer a variety of activities to keep kids psychically active and their minds sharp.

Sports, such as swimming lessons, tennis lessons, cheering clinics, and gymnastics classes are just a few activities that may be offered.

Many of these organizations work with other community organizations such as the local library, parks, museums, and movie theaters to facilitate fun field trips for students.

Additional programs may be offered to help students stay on course with reading skills and help those who struggle with math or other concepts.

Although there is a tuition cost to attend these programs, they are less expensive than their Community College counter parts.

Learn to Play Golf
Learn to Play Golf | Source

3. Sport Lessons

For the stay-at-home parent looking for activities to keep the kids busy, and offer some adult sanity time as well, there are numerous sport lessons that can be taken advantage of.

The YMCA, or your local Community Services / Leisure Services may offer swim, tennis, and golf lessons, as well as, summer gymnastics,cheernastics, and exercise classes for kids.

These programs have some costs associated with them, but they are usually minimal. Check out the US Kids Golf Link below.

4. Library Reading Programs

Local Libraries have some fantastic reading programs throughout the summer months. Some include a time when a local children’s author comes and reads a book during story time. Other groups put on puppet shows, have craft projects, and the library offers a movie day that coincides with a story or theme.

Reading competitions to keep kids interested in books throughout the summer, with prizes for the most books, and /or, most pages read.

These programs are almost always free and lots of fun for kid. The bonus is, while your children are enjoying the program, you can find a delightful book and a comfy chair for your own reading pleasure.

There is nothing like getting your hands dirty learning to grow something.
There is nothing like getting your hands dirty learning to grow something. | Source

5. Botanical Gardens

Most local Botanical Gardens are free and open to the public. They are staffed by volunteers who take care of the grounds and maintenance on buildings.

Check and see if you’re local Botanical Gardens offer summer classes on plant recognition, plant care, potting plants, and a number of free classes for kids and adults.

Who knows, you might discover your children have a green thumb and a desire to start your own vegetable garden.

6. Historic Parks and Museums

Every town or city has a history and you can enjoy an adventure with your children as you discover what yours is.

Start your journey at the local library, or historical society to find places of interest to visit. You may be surprised at the hidden parks and historical sites in your community. Some places may offer tours and projects, or activities that make history come to life.

In my community, in Southeastern Alabama, there is a working farm from the 1800’s. Visitors can watch cows being milked by hand, help gather eggs from chicken coops, churn butter, and experience the production of cane syrup in the fall.

There is an entire village from the same era consisting of a church, school, general store, blacksmith shop, and many other original buildings. There are live demonstrations of blacksmithing, yarn spinning, weaving, and candle making to show what life was like for early settlers.

Most cities have museums of various interests. Everything from a Museum of Natural History, Railway Museums, Car and Vehicle Museums, Art Museums (some of these offer inexpensive or free summer art lessons), Toy Museums, and hands on Science Museums.

Museums normally require a nominal entrance fee, or donation. However, for a day of wonder and amazement, the price is well worth it.

Reach for the stars!
Reach for the stars! | Source

7. Visit a Planetarium or Go to the Zoo

Summer is a terrific time to visit your local Planetarium to learn about stars and the solar system. What you are able to see at the planetarium, you can look for from your own back yard when the sun goes down. This is an excellent way to get the whole family involved in star gazing.

A trip to the zoo is always entertaining. Whether it’s filled with exotic animals from around the world, or a local petting zoo with animals native to the area. There is always something new to learn about animals.

Again, a visit to a Planetarium or a Zoo may have some cost, but it’s usually reasonable.

8. Discover Local Parks

Parks can be an exciting adventure. Most cities and towns offer a variety of parks and park activities. Some include interactive water fountains where visitors of all ages can cool off from the hot summer weather, as well as, interactive art displays.

How about a game of basket ball, tennis or hand ball? Most parks offer one, if not all, of these outdoor activities.

Walking or bike paths are offered in some parks that take visitors through engaging and natural terrain.

Interesting and imaginative play grounds are normally the focal point of any park, with restful places for adults to observe and maybe even take in a delightful book.

Take a picnic, play Frisbee, catch, or soccer in the park. The best thing about parks is the opportunity for your imagination to come alive. Who knew playing outdoors could be so much fun?

Exercise Paths are fun for the whole family
Exercise Paths are fun for the whole family

9. Walking, Biking and Exercise Circuits

Many places, either in conjunction with your local park, leisure services or a local gym offer walking tracks, hiking and bike trails, and exercise circuits.

Tracks and trails can be either natural or paved surfaces through various terrains and distances. Some even offer inside walking tracks.

Exercise circuits can be a fun way to get the entire family on a healthy routine. The circuit is normally a standard walking trail with various stops where specific exercises are done; starting with stretching, and working up to more difficult and challenging exercises.

10. Vacation Bible School

An inexpensive and fun activity for children in the summer is the local Vacation Bible School. Many Churches coordinate their VBS schedules with each other so children can enjoy several weeks of VBS.

Vacation Bible School is designed to be non-denominational and simply good clean fun. Most kids already know and love the Bible stories that are shared, but they genuinely enjoy the music, activities, and craft projects they make and take home.

Some VBS programs receive offerings and even have offering contests, but this is not a profit making project for the church, but merely an outreach for community children.


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    • miss_jkim profile image

      miss_jkim 5 years ago

      Indeed you should not! What a blessing to have this opportunity, I hope he enjoyed the class and learned a lot.

    • houseofjcjee profile image

      houseofjcjee 5 years ago from Philippines

      miss_jkim, I don't think I should say no on this kind of opportunity. It is FREE and he will learn to play an instrument, make himself busy while school is out, and develop his confidence. So, when he said he wanted to enroll and join the class, I immediately enrolled him.

    • miss_jkim profile image

      miss_jkim 5 years ago

      Outstanding, houseofjcjee, any time you can find free activities that's a plus. And, to find someone willing to give of their time and talent to teach a music class is a rare treasure.

    • houseofjcjee profile image

      houseofjcjee 5 years ago from Philippines

      Summer is usually the time for my kids to develop their talents and skills. Since they are into drawing and painting, I enrolled them in an art class last summer. My eldest child also attended flute class, which is actually free as it is held in our parish and a volunteer teaches them.

    • miss_jkim profile image

      miss_jkim 5 years ago

      Thanks dilipchandra12, when my children were young and I was a stay-at-home mom, I looked for every opportunity to keep their minds and bodies busy during the summer. I found a lot of opportunities out there and am happy to share.

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 5 years ago from India

      Great hub, it has lot of useful information in it. Thanks for sharing.