For most children, this time of the year marks the end of book reports, homework, and multiplication tables. The transition from life at school to life at home is always a difficult one and leaves many mothers counting the days until Fall. The transition is even difficult for preschoolers who must contend with fighting for more attention from mom or the babysitter when older brothers and sisters are home.
Fun, family outings do not need to be expensive and can even be educational. (Gasp! Don't the let the kids know.) Here are a few ideas for inexpensive, summer fun for children:
Whatever you decide to do, plan ahead, relax, and have a great time!
- Check with your local library. Many libraries offer summer programs that include reading clubs or contests, special guest illustrators/authors, entertainers, craft time, or fairs. Most are free and open to the public, although some might require prior registration.
- Call the park district in your area. Do they offer free nature hikes? Canoe rides? Tours?
- Do you belong to a group organization for mothers with children (i.e. a playgroup or church group)? Contact the local fire station or police station. Most officers are more than welcome to provide free tours for children's groups with advance notice. The kids will love it, and it's free!
- If you are a chuch-goer, check out the local Bible Schools for the summer. Some are only one day (others more than that) but parents can attend as well, and children can particpate in wholesome activities and associate with other children of the same age.
- Visit a local museum. Is there a museum in your area you have been meaning to visit, but haven't? Some museums offer a "free day" where you can visit without paying admission. The same applies to some zoos.
- Call your local visitor's center. You just might be surprised what local attractions are available for little or no cost. Buy a map of your city or county and take a "day trip" to see the local attractions. Stop for a picnic lunch at the park.
- Have a swim day. Put on the kids' suits, some sunscreen, and your favorite flip flops, and head to a nearby lake, pond, or swimming pool for a day of fun. The kids will be tired when they get home, and MAY even take a nap.
- Have a cookie-baking day. Is it raining? Make cookies, but be sure to let your kids do most of the work (and the clean up too, of course). Freeze some cookies for later or hear them giggle when they deliver some to a neighbor.
Starla Ross is the founder of TightwadMoms.com -- a website dedicated to helping mothers learn more about saving, budgeting, reducing debt, and earning from home. You can subscribe to the TightwadMoms.com newsletter by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org