Things for Kids to Do This Summer
If you are like you, you view the summer with a mixture of excitement and dread. Before they even come, you can just hear the comments of boredom and laziness from your children. So what is a parent to do? Arm yourself with a list of things for these bored kids to do or participate in before the couch permanently fuses to their behinds. With things to do and things to look forward to, the summer won’t be nearly as loooong as usual. Even if you have planned an expensive vacation, the rest of the summer looms ahead. However, there are plenty of inexpensive, healthy and even educational activities to keep your children occupied all summer. Here are only a few.
Local Public Library
One of my favorite places is the Public Library. Yes, I’m one of those. I love reading and hopefully, I passed that love onto my children. One thing my constant haunting of the local library taught me was that the libraries like to have activities for children during the long summer months.
Local libraries usually have scheduled things happening all summer knowing that kids are out of school and looking for something to do. Most have a reading program to encourage reading among children and give points and prizes (free ice cream cones and other treats, sports tickets, free kids meals, etc.) for the most books read. Check with your local library to find what incentives and programs they have for your children this summer. In my area, they are offering free summer lunch for children all summer regardless of family income. No registration or paperwork involved. What a great deal. The kids can spend the morning at the library and even get a free nutritious lunch. The website even features a coloring page to be printed out and colored each week.
Music in the Park
Music and Drama
Many parks and theatrical groups offer free concerts and plays throughout the summer months. They are performing Hamlet in my area next week. They perform in an open Amphitheater in one of our larger parks in the city. We bring our own popcorn and blankets and pillows to get comfortable on the stone benches and enjoy. Check with your local parks and theatrical groups for times and places. A great way to add some culture and drama in your summer.
Do you absolutely love it when September comes and kids are back in school?
Speaking of reading, Barnes and Nobles offer free storytimes each week during the summer. Barnes and Nobles also offers a free book to kids who read 8 books and keep the names in their Reading Journal throughout the Summer. The journals can be found in pdf version online and the Barnes and Nobles web site. They also have ways kids can earn rewards by joining the Barnes and Nobles Kids' Club. Check them out.
The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge offers incentives and rewards for the number of minutes children read from May through September. You have to log on to their website to find out more information and learn about the prizes offered.
If you have a Cinema Showcase near you, they offer a Bookworm Wednesday where the price of admission to the movie is a child’s brief book report on any book read by the child in July only. This really would have encouraged me to read… too bad they didn’t have that 40 years ago. Check for locations near you and times.
Even Pizza Hut and Chuck E. Cheese have reading programs this summer with incentives the children can earn. Check them out for rules and requirements.
Places like Home Depot and Lowes have free workshops for kids. Home Depot is reported to have workshops on the first Saturday of each month during the Summer months but when I checked my local store they didn’t have any scheduled just now. Lowes, on the other hand, has two workshops for kids scheduled for June on selected Saturdays. Check with your local store to find out what the theme is for the month and when the kids should be there.
My Dad used to have us outside working on projects in the summer. We had a running contest on things like building a birdhouse out of whatever we could find. Sometimes using scrap wood from a building project, sometimes Popsicle sticks, or even twigs from a tree. We came up with some pretty clever and creative projects. The winner, judged by Dad, got to go out for ice cream Sundays.
Register your children at Kids Bowl Free and receive 2 games free daily for the summer. The ages are regulated by the local participating bowling centers. Check out times and regulations at your local bowling center. This will keep kids off the couch all summer. A fun way to get some exercise too.
Go to the Movies
I don’t know that I care to encourage my children to spend a lot of time in the movie theater instead of the open air, but when the days get really hot, going to the nice cool air-conditioned movie theater is a great idea.
Many chain theaters offer free movie days (usually in the mornings) throughout the summer months. Check the theaters near you to find ones participating.
MuseumsClick thumbnail to view full-size
I remember when museums and National Parks were free but not so anymore. However, most museums have a night (or day) per week where the admission is free to encourage more participation. This would be a great time to visit and get some culture. Check for the times and days at a museum near you.
This is one of the long-term projects that never ceases to amaze my family and me. You stick a seed in the ground and it grows! Every summer we planned a family garden and grew vegetables and even some fruits like strawberries. The children got the benefit of seeing nature up close, as well as the healthy, delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. Start early and see where it goes. Check the local Agricultural Extension in your area for vegetables that grow well in your climate and soil, and when to plant if you don’t already know about those things. They love to help people.