Feeling uneasy about the hours your kids are spending sleeping or playing video games now that school’s out? Summer can be a hands-on, inexpensive, and delightful learning time for kids as they enjoy their time away from desks and worksheets. Whether you try these ideas, or suggest them to your sitter, your children will benefit as they remain actively engaged.
- Investigate nearby farms or orchards for pick-your-own produce. Compare prices for U-pick verses already picked. Sample your selections fresh from the vine and prepare recipes using your goodies.
- Check with local churches for their vacation Bible schools. Whatever your faith, everyone should know who Noah and Jonah and Adam were.
- Grow plants. If you don’t have much room for a garden, try containers. Seeds are really cheap at the dollar stores. Neighbors might pay your kids to weed their gardens.
- Volunteer. Could your child play the piano, dance or sing, or just chat at a nursing home? Could your kids groom dogs and cats at the humane society? Could they serve meals at a soup kitchen? Learn to be greeters or tour guides at the museum?
- Start a neighborhood newspaper. Reporters can spread the news about yard sales, new families, car pools, new babies, wanted-to-buy items, etc.
- Subscribe to the local paper and have kids circle upcoming family-friendly events. Mark the calendar when a circus, parade, concert, art show, rodeo, or exhibit is scheduled. Calculate the cost for the number of people who want to attend.
- Find the nearest biking/hiking trail to explore. Pack a picnic.
- Camp out in the backyard. No fancy equipment needed. Just toss a blanket over a clothesline and take a flashlight and sleeping bag. Check out the constellations before lights out.
- Check with arts and crafts stores such as Michael’s and Jo Ann Fabrics for kids’ classes. They offer cool projects, such as decorated flip flops, that are easy and fun.
- Set up a bake sale or lemonade stand, after calculating the cost of all supplies and the prices to charge to yield a profit.
- Set up tournaments with friends to find the champion at favorite board or card games (or ping pong).
- Take a walk or drive through your town to photograph interesting architecture, favorite spots, scenic vistas, statues, landmarks, pretty gardens, etc. Publish your best shots into a book with captions.
You can keep kids entertained and active without spending a fortune or parking them in front of the TV. It just takes a little planning and some conversation about what they’d like to try. Remember, school will be starting soon!