School is officially out and the days of summer are in full swing. Our kids are sleeping in, raiding the refrigerator and enjoying the warm long days of summer with their friends.
However, some parents may be hearing the all too familiar child complaint of ʺI am bored.ʺ This chant usually occurs at the halfway point of their summer break. The kids have simply run out of things to do and don’t want to repeat any of their summer activities.
Some kids will be fortunate enough to go to camp. However, the high cost of gas and groceries have many parents clipping coupons to save for extra activities like eating out or enjoying a fun family day.
According to the American Camp Association, the average cost of sleepover camp ranges between $325 to $780 per week.
If you can’t afford the cost of camp to keep your kids entertained this summer, here is a plethora of activities to keep them busy. These activities are low and no-cost.
Instead of invading the crowded neighborhood pool, consider splitting the cost of a hotel room with a friend or neighbor. Find out which hotel in your area has the largest outdoor pool and invade the pool area with your kids for the day. You can pack your own snacks and beach towels. Also, the younger kids can take a nap in the room while the older kids frolic away in the pool. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
For some culture, take the kids to the museum or library. Most museums offer a free-day or family day. Also, check with your local library for any special activities like craft-making, family workshops, magicians and even good old fashioned story-telling. Some libraries even offer music night. Call or visit your local library for a list of their summer activities.
Start your own neighborhood cooking class. Another fun idea is for neighborhood moms to offer cooking classes for the neighborhood kids. In one neighborhood filled with kids in Chicago, moms on a weekly basis cook cuisine from different countries. Mexico, Italy and France are some of the kids' favorite cuisines. Also, the moms host the cooking class on a rainy or very hot day.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen or deliver meals-on-wheels. Seniors love to interact with young kids and this opportunity shows our kids the importance of giving back and supporting the community. Soup kitchens need help prepping meals, greeting patrons and cleaning up. You can look in the phone book or on-line for a non-profit in your immediate area.
A night at the drive-in. Instead of being cooped up in the cool air-conditioning of a movie theatre, enjoy a night under the stars. Most drive-in’s cater to families and offer other activities like pony rides, moon bounces and a playground. This great outdoor activity lets the kids enjoy time outside and meet other children. Bring your lawn chairs, blanket and bug spray for a great movie and night of family fun. Some drive-in’s even allow pets. You can bring your own food but most drive-in’s make their money at the concession stand. Here is a list of drive-in’s by state: http://www.driveinmovie.com/mainmenu.htm
Some other things to consider are:
• Visiting a fire station
• Visiting a fruit farm and picking fruit
• Hosting an outdoor costume party
• Rainy day movie marathon. Pick a theme like science fiction or the 80’s
• Open a lemonade stand. You can also sell cookies or Popsicles.
Have a safe and happy summer!
Reviewed July 14, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton