Inexpensive Summer Activities For Kids

Learn of some inexpensive summer activities to keep both you and your kids sane.

It's that time of year again. Summer has arrived and the kids are home from school. Children may look forward to summer vacation all year long, but two days won't pass before you start hearing the phrase, "I'm so bored!" You probably uttered the same phrase to your parents when you were a kid, but now times have changed and you, as the parent, are seen as the source of boredom. You don't have the money to send your kids to expensive summer camps for horseback riding, swimming, art and ballet, so what do you do?

Around the Town

Not many people realize this, but many museums often have free or reduced admission nights, usually between 5 to 7 pm. Check your local newspaper or call your local museum to see if and when events like this happen. Sometimes the YMCA will have free summer festivals where kids can come and makes arts and crafts and eat and play games. Also, around 4th of July, there will be tons of free events, especially fireworks displays. If you decide to have a day like this on the town, finish it up with a free kid's dinner. Most chain restaurants offer "kids eat free" nights.

Reading Club

If you live in a neighborhood with several children of the same age, talk with other parents about starting a book club. Have each of the kids check out the same book from the library, read it during the week and then meet up at one of the parent's houses to discuss what they felt the book meant. This will give the kids great comprehensive skills as well as demonstrate how different people can perceive literature in different ways. You can also create a similar kind of club with movies. Have a group of children watch an educational or classic children's movie together and then discuss it afterwards over punch and popcorn. Have a list of questions for the kids to ponder. It will be educational for the parents as well to see different children's perspectives on movies they may have watched when they were younger.

Summer Journal and Scrapbook

At the beginning of the summer, provide each child with an inexpensive 35 mm camera and a roll of film, as well as a journal. This will serve as their summer journal to document all of their adventures. Try to coax your children into writing in the journal each night. If your children are too young to write, have them detail their day to you while you write in their journal exactly what they are saying. Whenever you go on day trips, remind the kids to take their cameras to capture the day in their own eyes. You can limit the number of rolls of film you will buy for each child over the summer, so they don't waste all of the film in one day. Once the film is developed, the children can paste their photos into their journal and write journal entries next to each picture. If your children do this every summer, this will be fun for your kids to look back on when they get older.

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