Having the kids home all day every day in the summer can be overwhelming. To keep them occupied (and yourself from going crazy), here are 15 fun summer activities for kids so you can spend the time together as a family without spending any money.
1. Make regular trips to the library, then devote an hour each day to reading together. Helping your kids develop a summer reading habit now can keep them busy with something low-cost and educational in years to come.
2. Raid the pantries and fridge to find leftovers and snacks that can be turned into a picnic. Pack everything up and head to a nearby park to enjoy.
3. Create and decorate nature boxes. Throughout the summer, take nature walks to collect interesting items found in the yard, around the neighborhood, and at the local park.
4. Most museums have free days once a week or so. Research the museums in your area and take field trips on the days they're free.
5. Go geocaching. Encourage the kids to treat it like a treasure hunting adventure out of one of their books to add to the fun. It's a fun way to get outdoors and find something new without going too far from home.
6. Use old magazines to create collages together, or re-purpose the paper from them to try quilling.
7. Use any old boxes you have around to make cardboard cutouts of your favorite stories and book characters. Then use your cardboard characters to act out stories together.
8. Make paper fans. Do this one early in the summer so you have them around to take advantage of as it gets hotter. If you can also learn about another culture or country, bonus!
9. Find and write to international pen pals.
Learn new stuff
11. Teach your kids the most popular card games. Keep a running tournament going throughout the summer.
12. Look for kid-friendly volunteer opportunities in your town. The kids can learn about the importance of community service while meeting new people and having some fun at the same time.
14. Sign up for free bowling. Make it into a weekly routine.
15. Pick new areas of town to go for walks in each week. Encourage them to pay attention to the landmarks by creating Bingo cards based on the sights in each area for them to complete throughout the summer. (Hint: Include a splash park!)
Share what you've discovered
If Mom and Dad need a little break, partner with other parents to have a "Share what you've discovered" day when kids can teach each other what they've learned with each family taking a turn hosting.
Summer's a great opportunity to pursue activities that are fun and educational at the same time. You can help your kids gain new knowledge and experiences and avoid the constant pull of the TV to fill up the days.