School’s out for the summer, and you may be looking for fun summer activities that will keep your kids busy without breaking the bank and without the assistance of the TV, computer, phone, or tablet screen.
These 7 budget- friendly ideas provide your kids with learning opportunities, exercise, and will help foster creativity.
1. Go Geocaching
So yes, this requires a screen, but in this case, it’s okay. Geocaching provides kids of all ages with the opportunity to participate in a real-life treasure hunt. There are over two million geocaches (containers) hidden all over the world, and all you need to find them is a GPS-enabled device. They could be anywhere: hidden in a log, in a tree, or a under a pile of leaves.
The rules are simple: once you find a geocache, you can keep whatever is inside, so long as you leave contents of equal value. Then, sign the cache logbook at the site, and log your experience online. Downloading the app on your phone is free, and kids love the hunt. Search for caches in nearby parks, on vacation, or on a hike. Visit www.geocaching.com for more information.
2. Put Them to Work
Summer is a great time to turn your little angels into shrewd entrepreneurs. Not only is this a time-consuming activity that teaches kids about the value of money and hard work, but it pulls in (a little bit) of money. Allow your kids to set up a good ol’ fashioned lemonade stand. Have them clean out the attic and put together a garage sale, and let them keep a portion of the profits for their hard work.
Kids make great dog walkers, and teens can get to work mowing lawns or babysitting. Not only will they be pleased to have extra cash, but they will be learning how to plan, manage, and market a (small) business.
There’s no better way to teach your kids about empathy and compassion than by finding ways for them to volunteer within (or outside, if necessary) their community. Kids can write letters to those enlisted in the armed forces, thanking them for their service and telling them how much they mean to the country.
Kids can visit the elderly in a nursing home where they can perform, read aloud, or just act as a friendly companion. They can do household chores for those who are sick or disabled. Crafty kids can make scarves or clothing for the less fortunate. There are dozens of ways that kids can make a difference in someone else’s life and keep busy in the process.
4. Go to the Library!
Libraries are a community most untapped resource. Your local branch may offer the following: book clubs, story times, craft opportunities, workshops, free concerts, movie nights, science classes, and so much more.
Did we mention the free books and media you can borrow for long periods of time? Sign your child up for a summer reading program and check out all of the summer events they have to offer. The library is always a cool place to hang on a hot summer day.
5. Plant a Garden
If you live near dirt, you can plant a garden with your kids. Have your child research gardening tips at the aforementioned library, then make a plan. Whether it’s a flower garden or a vegetable patch, there is no feeling like the one you get when you see your first sprouts breaking through the soil.
Gardening is hard, rewarding work, and it fosters a sense of accomplishment within. Have your child plant, water, weed, and maintain their garden until it’s time to harvest.
6. Start a Club
Again, this is an activity that takes planning and requires savvy execution. Summer is the perfect time to gather friends to unite for a common interest. Is your child into Legos? Have him form a Lego club, where friends bring their projects to work on together.
Have Lego-themed snacks and games at each meeting. Other club ideas: a book club, a Minecraft club, an American Girl Dolls club, a sports club, a craft club, or a volunteer club. The ideas are limitless!
7. Create an App!
Having trouble keeping the kids off the technology? Encourage a deeper understanding of the technology they use every day by introducing your kids to resources that will help them learn how to code, build their own app, learn digital photography skills, or even build software.