Over the summer I am home with our four kids, (Kayla and Kyle, age 7; Ryan, age 6; and Ashley, one) and we have to be creative to avoid the summer boredom that can strike at any moment. Here are some ideas that we have done to help keep the kids busy and most of them are things you can do on a budget. Even if you are a working parent you can do these special activities on the weekends or in the evenings for a special memory.
* We are fortunate to have a pool so the kids spend a lot of time swimming. This year our county is under a mandatory water restriction so the usual activity of turning on the sprinklers or hose and playing in the water is out. You might also look for a community pool or a private pool with summer memberships.
* Library- My kids love to visit the library. They recently discovered the DVD section so they are excited to see that they can even get a movie at the library. Please be careful, all books in the public library are not necessarily books that have the same values or morals you have. Before you send your kids off to read them you need to check it out for yourself. On a recent library trip my 7 year old checked out a children's book for his age group that talked about an inappropriate topic in the first chapter!
* Board Games - Games are a big hit in our house and we play at least one a week. Because our older kids are starting to become proficient in Bible topics, they love to play Bible trivia games. It is fun and they are learning about the Word at the same time.
* Movies - Taking your family to the movies can cost a small fortune, by the time you buy the tickets and snacks. Regal Cinemas is a nationwide theater and during the summer they offer a "Free Family Movie Festival." Each Tuesday and Wednesday they show a G and a PG rated family movie. You can go to Plugged In Online and check the review to make sure there will be no content in the movie that you don't want to have to explain to your little ones later.
* Community Center - Does your city or neighborhood have a community center? If so, stop by and pick up a calendar of events. Most of the time they offer activities for the family for little to no cost at all.
* Dinner at the beach - We are blessed to live close to a beautiful beach. Sadly, in this day and age we don't take our kids there during the day because we all may see more of other people than we need to see. In the evenings people are usually covered up and the weather is cooler. Pack a picnic a take some sand toys and enjoy an evening by the water.
* Crafts - Go to your local dollar store and look for craft items. They are usually similar to what you pay double for in a regular craft store and you can get more for your dollar.
* Family Movie Night - This is our oldest son's favorite event! We turn off all the lights and pop some popcorn, the kids drag their favorite pillow and blanket to the living room and we watch a family movie. So far, their favorite has been "Facing The Giants."
* Walks or Bike Rides - This is our one year old's favorite! Taking six of us on a bike ride is a long trail but the kids love it and my husband and I are getting exercise in the middle of the fun.
* Look at old pictures. I love to scrapbook and even work part-time for a scrapbook company. A lot of my pictures are in albums and the kids and I love to look through old pictures. It reminds us of when we did something fun or when somebody said something that was funny. Even if your pictures are in shoe boxes under the bed, dig them out and go through them. Your kids may even want to help you sort through them. Won't your spouse be surprised when they come home and all the pictures are in albums!
Don't forget to take lots of pictures of your fun family events!
I'm sure you have heard the saying, "Kids spell LOVE - 'TIME." That is true. Try and surprise your kids with one of these ideas and have some fun.
Lori Steinkamp Lassen