Summer was made for being lazy. It’s pretty easy to fall into a pattern of staying up late, sleeping in, and not getting a lot done during June, July, and August.
A summer with nothing to do can hurt your kids academically when they go back to school. While there are plenty of camps and sports out there to fill the void, they can cost a lot of money.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do with your kids to keep their minds sharp without costing you much money.
Try these activities:
Head to the library. Libraries are a fabulous source for free entertainment. From special programs (our library has a series of puppet shows, comedians, and zoo animals) to summer reading programs, there is something for every kid. Many libraries even offer free passes to area museums. Check with your local library as to what programs they offer, and take advantage of these free activities.
Utilize technology. Many schools have subscriptions to math and reading computer programs. My son loves playing these educational games. Just contact your school to find out what’s available and how to log in. Search for fun free printable activities and check for free educational apps for your smartphone.
Free museum days. Many museums offer family nights or discounts. Target sponsors more than 2,000 free or reduced cost cultural activities across the country. Bank of America cardholders can get free admission to more than 150 cultural institutions on the first weekend of every month.
Check out your local stores. Lowe’s, Home Depot, Michaels, Pottery Barn Kids, Barnes & Noble, Bass Pro Shops, and many other stores offer free kids activities. Don’t forget to check out local food co-ops for cooking classes and greenhouses for beginning gardening classes. Take your kids with you when you go to the farmer’s market and talk about where food comes from.
Set up a lemonade stand. You’ll need to invest a little money in cups and lemonade supplies, but the lessons your child will learn from being an entrepreneur are priceless.
Plant a garden. Allow your kids to plant their own garden and share the lessons you learn from the experience.
Get creative. Teach your children to see the beauty in the natural world around them and encourage them to express themselves through art. Do a nature scavenger hunt or create art with items you find in your backyard. The messier, the better!
Experiment. Teach your child basic science concepts with fun activities you can do using items you have in your home. Check out 25 At-Home Science Experiments for some inspiration.
There are lessons everywhere – so be sure to relate everything you say and do to things they’ve read and learned. The best way to get kids excited about learning is to make it fun. You don’t have to have the structure and organization of a classroom teacher – simply an inquisitive mind and a bit of enthusiasm.
What activities do you do with your kids during the summer?