By Carol Bainbridge
When we are on a tight budget, it can be hard to find interesting and challenging activities for our children. However, with a little thought and sometimes just a little planning, we can find plenty of summer fun activities. Here are just a few suggestions.
1. Plan a Picnic – You don’t have to travel far to have a picnic. In fact, you don’t have to travel any farther than your own backyard. The fun isn’t only in the picnic alone, but in the planning of it.
2. Plant a Garden – Gardens offer kids a perfect opportunity for learning about plant life. Have them keep a chart of the growth every day or two. They can even draw pictures of the plants as they grow. And be sure that your child waters the plants and gets rid of the weeds.
3. Visit the Library for Summer Fun – Libraries are wonderful sources of free fun for all kids. Libraries often have free fun and exciting programs for children.
4. Plan Some Family Fun Nights – Families don’t need to go on vacations or spend lots of money to enjoy some time together. All they need to do is plan some fun activities to share. Among the possibilities are watching movies or playing games together. Family nights can provide summer fun anytime, but especially on those rainy days when the kids can’t play outdoors.
5. Camp in the Backyard – You don’t need to travel any farther than your own backyard to plan a camping trip. Part of the fun is in the planning, so take your time to find the right spot to pitch a tent and decide on activities the whole family can enjoy.
6. Create a Backyard Waterpark – A waterpark in the backyard? Absolutely! If you don’t want to go with a playset, get a small backyard pool. All you have to do is set up some hoses to spray either over the pool or around it. You’re limited only by your imagination!
7. Plan a Scavenger Hunt – You can encourage your children to explore nature with a nature scavenger hunt which could include items as simple as different shaped stones and leaves. Or you can hide objects of your own around the yard and give your children clues that will help them find them!
8. Make Music – You can create music with just about anything that makes a sound. You can buy cheap kazoos or make your own. Empty jugs can be used, too, to make “music.” It’s easy for kids to get carried away with just making noise, so be sure to make this activity a musical one. Help your kids learn about music, while having fun.
9. Have a Yard Sale – This activity can have several goals. You can get your house cleaned of clutter, give your kids something to do, and make a little money! You can also take the opportunity to teach your children a little about economics!
10. Make a Map of the Neighborhood – This activity can provide a little exercise, too, since children have to walk around the neighborhood to make notes of what they see and determine what belongs where on a map.
11. Conduct Simple Experiments – Most of us don’t have a handy list of easy experiments to draw from, but libraries have plenty of books with experiments for children. Plan a trip to the library (another great activity) and find a book or two with experiments.
12. Put on a Play – The simplest way to put on a play is to act out a familiar story (like Little Red Riding Hood), using whatever you can find around the house for costumes. The more complex methods of play production would start with the children making up their own story, writing a script, planning the costumes, rehearsing, creating a flyer, and making tickets.