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Let’s face it: Summer is an expensive time to have children; after all they don’t have school which means you need to constantly keep them entertained. Last year we bought a simple blue pool but it was a lifesaver! Every morning I would put Chase (1) down for a nap and Isaac and I swam off some of his energy. I’ve found that the more tricks I have up my sleeve with him, the better so I thought it was time I shared some of my secrets. Here are 55 ideas for things to do this summer.
For tickets on sporting events or entertainment I loveGoldstar.
1. Set up a scavenger hunt.
Children absolutely love running around and finding things that you set them. If they’re too young to understand words, draw photos of things to find. A good scavenger hunt will keep them entertained for a few hours.
2. Go Bowling.
3. Set up a campsite in your yard.
4. Take advantage of free national park days.
5. Free summer camps
Check out your local park district or stores for summer camps that cater specifically to kids.
Play in the local park, just sit back and watch your children enjoy themselves. Sometimes all children want to do is run around and if you invite friends then you can chit-chat while they play.
7. Try Geocaching.
This is a new craze where you can visit numerous locations around the world and find hidden ‘boxes’. Check out the Geocaching website for some ideas! There is more than likely some around your area, if not get your children to hide a new box. You will need a GPS device for this. If you own a smartphone you can download the app and do this on the go without a lot of planning. Plus it can act as your PGS.
Find local walking trails around your area.
9. Apple Camp
The Apple Store runs activities during the summer in their store which will help teach your children some new techniques that they can use and is open to kids 8-12.
10.Bass Pro Shops.
Head to Bass Pro Shops for their Family Summer Camp.
Get your children to help tend to you garden, it may be a little late to plant fruits and vegetables by the summer, but they can help put down some flowers.
12. Cook and Bake.
Teach your children to cook, this will teach them much needed skills for later on in their life. I’ve got great kid recipes here or Cake Pop and Cupcake recipes for them to help you with. Oreo Flower Pops are a fun one.
13.Work For Money.
You could always make your children work for money! Make a list of chores and get your children to do them, reward them with pocket money.
14. Movie Theaters.
Certain movie theaters On occasion offer free movies for children during the summer. Don’t expect the latest blockbuster, but it will help to keep the children entertained. Check the link below for more information.
15. Craft Day
Have an arts and craft day, encourage your children to make something for you! I’ve got some simple craft ideas here or see these:
16. Sports’ Clinics.
Some areas will have free sports clinics, which will keep your child entertained whilst remaining active. I suggest you check out a few in your area to see if there is something that will entertain your children.
Camping is not only crazy cheap but it’s a lot of fun. Head to a KOA for a place that has lots of amenities.
18. Visit The Library.
Many libraries offer a reading program where your kids get rewarded for doing so much. Libraries sometimes offer free classes for reading, and of course story telling classes.
Operation Christmas Child is a great organization and is easy to get your kids involved in. Why not tackle some of my homemade craft projects to add to a shoebox for a child in need?
20. Visit Free Museums.
For details of Chicago FREE Days, check out my Chicago free Museums link.
21. Make Banana Pops together.
These small bites are wayyyyyyyyyyy healthier than ice cream and still kid-pleasers when it gets hot.
Some park departments will set up free summer activities in your local park, you will get to do games and other activities. Normally these will last all day and it’s fun to watch your child do it.
23. Swim in a lake.
24. Water Fight!
The Dollar Store has water pistols, water balloons and more supplies for you to keep your older kids entertained for hours.
25. Walk around the mall.
26. Free Tours.
Some factories or TV Companies will offer free tours, it’s always worth asking. I know post offices, the grocery store and fire departments by us do this.
27. Go fishing in a lake.
28. Nature Walk.
Give your children a little ‘check list’ that they can use to make a note of anything that they spot in the area.
29. Drive-In Movie Theaters.
I LOVE the drive-in movie and if you’ve never been with the kids the summer is a great time to go when they don’t need to be in bed so early. Grab blankets, pillows and snacks and check out your local one. The 49er Drive-In in Valparaiso Indiana rocks!
30. Make Lemonade.
Make lemonade and baked goods and sell it in the street, a good way for your child to make a little bit of pocket money or choose to do as my friend Melissa did last year and donate the money your kids make to children in need and teach them about giving back.
31. Movie Marathon.
Dedicate one day to watching movies in the house, try to choose ones your child has never watched. You can of course use services such as Netflix to view a range of movies.
32. Board Game Event.
33. Picnic In A New Park.
34. Feed the Ducks.
Children absolutely love this, even though there isn’t much to it. All you need is a little bit of bread and away you go.
35. Play Frisbee in the park.
I love playdates! We have a fun back yard and I enjoy having Isaac’s friends over with their Mums. The kids play and entertain each other while we watch and drink coffee.
37. Play Sports.
39. Capture The Flag Contest.
If you have a lot of children to look after, or a party then you might want to play ‘Capture the Flag’. Look up the rules if you are unfamiliar, it is amazing fun though.
40. Play Dress Up Games.
41. Go Biking.
42. The Zoo.
The local zoo will sometimes offer free family days through your local library or you may be lucky enough to live near a free zoo like Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago which I love.
43. Forts and Tents.
Build a fort in the yard or a tent out of blankets in your living room. They will be playing in it for the rest of the day. Make sure you serve breakfast and lunch in there too!
44. Create a Play.
Have your children come up with a play by themselves, record it and cherish the memories.
Give your children a cheap camera that you no longer use and encourage them to take photos around the local area. This will help develop their artistic skills.
46. Read To Your Kids.
47. Vacation Bible School.
Sign your kids up for a Vacation Bible School. For a list of the ones in Chicago and Northwest Indiana check my list.
48.Walk The Dog.
If you have a dog take them for a long walk through nature with your children, maybe this is the right time to have a picnic as well.
49. Free Coloring Sheets.
Print off activity sheets from the internet that your children can work through, much better than buying from a shop.
50. Hold a yard sale.
For tips on how to have a good one check out 20 Tips To A Successful Garage Sale.
51. Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk.
52. Paint Rocks.
53. International Games.
Check out a book from the library about games from around the world. Try out a game you’ve never played before.
54. Michaels Craft Stores
Each year Michaels does something for kids during the summer. It’s called Passport to Imagination and is all about countries. I’ve got more information here.
55. Add Another Child.
….Hear me out! Not literally! Many Moms work at least part time and you can not only help out a Mom friend but also help yourself out. I don’t know about you but when Isaac has a friend over they keep each other occupied and have fun.
As you can see there are plenty of activities you can do with your children, nearly all of the ones I have mentioned above are free to do, a minority come with a negligible cost. Remember, you don’t need to spend a fortune to keep children entertained!
For more kid-friendly recipes and healthy snacks, You may also enjoy:
- Ice Cream Cupcakes
- Banana Pops
- Red, White and Blue Strawberries.
- Watermelon Pops
- Watermelon Basket Carving
- Dirt and Worm Cupcakes.