A reader asked for suggestions on how she could entertain her kids this summer on the cheap. I’m not a parent but I did spend many high school summers babysitting and tutoring my younger brothers and sisters. I’m afraid what we did is terribly old fashioned: swim at the local pool, tromp through neighborhood stream, design forts, etc.
So I need your help! What are low-budget or free activities you are planning for your child this summer? Are there online resources you are turning to for ideas? Please leave a comment!
Here are ideas to get your started, including a few from Jen’s List, a daily email for Los Angeles families.
- Check your local public library for free events
- Your hometown department of parks and recreation may have low budget summer camps or one-day programs
- Grab some baseball gloves and mitts and head to the park for a game of baseball.
- Find out which days are free at your local museums
- Create a scavenger hunt for your kids of items they can find nearby. While they search you get a break!
- Help them set up a lemonade stand
- Check if local retailers are offering in-store “workshops” like the 3-hour sessions Apple offered to 8-12 year olds (they’re pretty much all booked, unfortunately)
- Subscribe to FamilyFun Magazine, which Jen says has great crafts and project ideas using supplies you already have in your home. Each month has fun facts and things to do around a holiday or event that month. A one-year subscription is $10 (10 issues). This month Jen’s boys made a Father’s Day calender using their hand prints to make animals.
- Buy a sprinkler to connect to your hose so kids can get wet and cool off. (Note: if you water use is restricted, opt for a wading pool instead.)
- Kids love bubble machines, a relatively cheap toy. Make your own bubbles with dishwasher soap and water.
- Chalk is cheap and kids are only limited by their imagination and sidewalk space. Hopscotch? Self-portraits? Tic-tac-toe?
- Create a schedule with other parents so each person has a day where they run a “camp” at their house. They plan the activities while other parents get a day off.
“If you think about it,” says Jen, “there is more than you could ever do.”