- Family and Parenting
Affordable Activities for Kids!
Planning a schedule.
You wouldn't believe how lucky I am on this front! I am blessed with a wonderful granddaughter. She is beautiful in every way to me. I have been helping take care of her from the time she was born. Although my kids still laugh when they recall the time I watched her when they went out partying. She was about 6 months old. When they came home, I had baby blankets hung over all the lamps, my granddaughter was cradled in my elbow sweetly sleeping and I was hanging off the couch with my mouth wide open snoring like a freight train. That took about a week to get over. Another time they came home from work on a hot summer day and my little darling was asleep on the couch and grandpa was sleeping in the wading pool. Some guardian huh?
I digress. The child is that most amazing child you could imagine, smart, clever, laughs at grandpa's jokes, is caring, and up for most anything. We spend everyday together every summer, this will be our 4th summer, which usually goes from about June 20 to August 25. I have her on the weekdays. We have always had a schedule, but it was grandpa who made it up until last summer. That's when she started to participate in the planning.
Start With Research
This part is crucial to making good plans that will work.
Make a list of things you would like to do over the summer:
- Trail Walks/Hiking
- Bike Riding
- Library Programs
- Beaches/Wading/Combing/Collecting Little Crabs
- Attacking that hard hike several times
- Interesting Places to Visit
Now you have your list, spend some time researching the possibilities with your child. My granddaughter who is 9 this summer, has good computer skills and has spent quite a bit of time looking for parks and stuff in our area.
We are in the Seattle area and here are a couple of interesting things she came up with:
The Library System will have a summer program for her age group on every Wednesday. This is completely free and it is something that we have done for the past two summers. It is something that she really enjoys and looks forward to. The weekly events have a theme and we make a costume every week to match the theme. I chuckle, one time last summer we made a cat costume that she wore for 3 or 4 days afterward and her mother took her to dinner at the Olive Garden and let her keep it on. She was a big hit. This made up one of our days every week. This was for a one hour program. We just made an all day thing of it by making the costume and then spending time in the library checking out movies and books for the week.
Here's another great thing she found, the museums in Seattle almost all have a free day a month. Look for museums in your area by searching for free museums. In Seattle look for seattle moms but it works for grandpas, too. Oh another neat thing I found is that the museums have quite a few free days for seniors (that's me) and so I can take my granddaughter on those days and pay only for her admission which is still children's prices.
Search for parks in your area. Here we found a listing of 22 parks in our local area. We are indeed lucky since within a very short distance, there are hundreds of parks and open areas.
My granddaughter loves to swim so it is a no-brainer to include this. We found a local park that offers open swim every day so we will be going there and the prices are great. It is a 1 1/2 hour open swim for two dollars each, and such great exercise! The best part is that it is in a park, we can enjoy if we want to spend more time or have our lunch there.
Search for Bike trails. Most areas have postings by other bikers that rate the ride for easy, touring, scenic, safety, special trails for just bikes, and provide addresses and maps. We just find easy ones to go on that we can go for a couple miles and then turn back. These are very fun outings and sometimes we plan a picnic.
You can find almost any kind of information from your local area. Search first for free stuff, there is plenty. Then search for free admission to museums, aquariums, etc. We have found dozens of places to go and things to do that cost us either nothing or half price. We do not spend much money.
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You have your information, what next?
Now is the fun part and this is what we have planned for the summer this summer:
Monday is an open day and is meant to be for Parks, Beach, Exploring and doing whatever we want.
From experience, Tuesday is a good day for the swimming pool. It just
seems to be less busy on those days and we both go in. She goes off the
diving board and rope swing, I just paddle around keeping an eye on
her. This park also has a neat petting zoo with horses so we can do
that, too. Granddaughters never tire of horses. And a great outdoor water jets area for hot days.
Every Wednesday, we will make that a library day. We participate in the library program and the theme for the week. We will make a costume or craft that goes with the theme, after the program, we will spend some time in the library returning our checked out items and checking out some books, movies, and music for the week. The beauty of the library is that if you don't get to the stuff you checked out, it doesn't matter because it was free.
Thursday is a good day for museums because that is the day they mostly have the free days. We will do that once a month. The rest of the Thursdays will be split between hikes, bikes, and exploring parks.
Friday, my granddaughter insists is for laying around. She did that last summer and loved staying in her pajamas until 4 PM. She calls it her "Chill Day" That's when I make her take a shower and get dressed so she would be presentable when her dad got home from work.
We also manage to get in a couple of other activities as well. I know a great person who will give her horseback riding lessons for $25.00. We'll do that a couple of times at least, maybe more if I can get her parents to pay for a couple.
I like to send her to day camp out where we live for at least one week.
And, I take my granddaughter camping at least one time during the summer for a whole week.
Then before we know it, the summer is over.