How to Entertain Your Kids Over Summer Vacation
When that last bell rings and class is dismissed for the final time this year, you’ll be faced with a new challenge: keeping your little one occupied for the next few months. The problem is, plopping him or her in front of the television isn’t an option and summer camp can be super expensive. The good news is, there are plenty of ways you can keep your child’s creative juices flowing all summer long without having to spend an arm and a leg in the process. Here a few awesome (and FREE) summer break activities to try.
Hit the Library
With instant access to just about anything we want to read on our mobile readers, it’s easy to forget how fun and engaging a visit to the library can be – especially for a curious little one. In addition to housing literature, the library is like a community hub – a great place to learn and interact with others. Most branches offer a variety of free summertime events designed to engage youngsters, from story time and crafts to family movie nights and more. Give your local branch a call or check their website for a calendar of upcoming events.
Go for a Hike
It’s important to keep little ones active during the summer months, and hiking gives them a chance to exercise, explore and enjoy some fresh air. Pack up a bag with plenty of snacks and water to stay hydrated. Head to a well-marked, family-friendly trail and set off on an outdoor adventure. While you’re hiking, encourage your child to look for certain plants or local wildlife. Make a game out of it by seeing who can spot natural objects of certain shapes and colors first. Gather items like sticks, leaves, and rocks to bring home so you can make a craft to remember your special day together.
One thing that doesn’t change when school lets out is the fact that everyone still has to eat. Why not turn an everyday chore into something fun and educational. Cooking together offers the perfect opportunity to bond with your child. It also gives you the chance to teach your little one about nutrition and the importance of eating healthy. And who knows – you may just spark a lifelong love of the culinary arts! Give a few creative, kid-friendly recipes a try, like our cauliflower breadsticks, broccoli pizza crust, or black bean brownies.
Create a Backyard Adventure
You don’t have to head to the campground or water park to give your kids a fun and memorable summer vacation. Set up a tent right in your backyard and fire up the grill for some hotdogs and toasted marshmallows. At night, look for shooting stars and try to spot the constellations. During the day, set up a sprinkler or Slip n’ Slide (or make your own with a plastic tarp secured with towel-padded rocks). Want to make it extra slippery? Add a dash of baby shampoo. Fun!
If you’re struggling to fill up that summer calendar with activities, volunteering is another great option. Not only will it keep your little ones active and busy, but volunteering as a family helps to instill important values, such as gratitude, empathy, and responsibility. There are probably dozens of different volunteer opportunities within your community. For example, you could visit a nearby nursing home and spend time with the residents, deliver meals to homebound citizens or serve food at a local soup kitchen. Not sure where to begin? VolunteerMatch should help you find opportunities in your area.
Who needs summer camp or pricey theme parks? With a little creativity, you can make your child’s summer vacation the best one yet without breaking the bank. Give the five free, fun-filled activities above a try and make lasting memories without all the crowds and costly admission tickets.