Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Fun (without breaking the bank)

"Summertime is finally here
That old ballpark, man, is back in gear
Out on 49
Man I can see the lights

School's out and the nights roll in
Man, just like a long lost friend
You ain't seen in a while
And can't help but smile..." - Summertime, Kenny Chesney
In my last post, I asked readers to provide me with some suggestions on what to write about next.  While the requests didn't exactly come flooding in (I got all of one, haha!), the request I did get is well in my list of interests that I didn't waste any time getting to it.

The requested topic is <drum roll> (pause for dramatic emphasis) </drum roll>:

Free or cost effective activities to do with your kids during the summer.

With my kiddo (who will be referred to as Mini Moo from here on out) starting summer vacation soon, and my family currently in grey mode* I'm all about having a fun, skint season.  Mini Moo has a 9 week summer break, so I figured I'd list off 45 things (5 activities per week for 9 weeks) that we'll have fun attempting to do over the next couple of months. Here goes:

  1. Pack a picnic.  Take it with you to the park, have it in your backyard, or suprise a loved one during their lunch break and bring the picnic to them.
  2. Teach your kiddos to ride a bike (if they don't already know how to ride a bike.  If/when they know how, go bike riding)
  3. Camp in your backyard, or inside on rainy days.
  4. Create a treasure hunt for the kiddos. Do it on your own property or around town.
  5. Water fight!!  Who doesn't love a great water fight?  I've been wanted to make sponge bombs for ages, so this is happening this year.  If you don't have these, or want to make them, bring out your water guns, water balloons, or simply grap some empty, cleaned out plastic containers and use those.  
  6. Board games are big deal in our house.  This is an ideal way to play on those rainy days.
  7. Go swimming.  See if there's a free outdoor pool nearby, and go there.  If there isn't a free one, there's bound to be one that's not too expensive, or just fill up the kiddie pool (if you have one) early in the morning so that the water's not too cold by mid morning, early afternoon.
  8. Make your own tie dye tshirt.  Or, if you're not into the tie dye look, design a tshirt however you want to.  Again, a good indoor, rainy day activity.
  9. Learn a new word every day. Open a children's dictionary, then have your kiddo close their eyes and point to a word. That word becomes the word of the day. Encourage her to use the word as many times as she can.
  10. Have a dance party.  Turn on the tunes, and dance to your hearts content.  This is something that can be both indoors or outdoors.  If you decide to have an outdoor dance party, I would recommend making a cool-off necklace to ward off the summer heat.
  11. Visit a fire department.  Most fire hourses will have an open house at least once throughout the summer.  Your kiddos will love being able to climb all over the engines and talking to real live heroes.
  12. Build a fort.  Indoor or outdoor, this is a classic kid friendly activity.
  13. Take an  "alphabet tour".  With camera(s) and journals in hand, go to the park, local attraction, or mall and begin with the letter A(Apple store), B (bakery), C (City Hall), etc.  When you're done your kiddo has a personal and creative alphabet memory book.
  14. Take a nature walk. take along a journal, bring a camera, then go home, identify everything your photographed, create a nature book.
  15. Go hiking (tie this in with a nature walk if you want, or do this seperate to the walk)
  16. Check out free days at your local museums.
  17. Go to the beach.
  18. Check out your local hardware store - they offer free kids club building projects.
  19. Cook with your kids, but let them plan it, be a part of the shopping, table setting - make dessert!
  20. Go fly a kite.
  21. Play jacks.  
  22. Go to a neighbourhood festival.
  23. Blow up Diet coke with mentos.
  24. Make sillouettes.
  25. Gather friends and have a "clean" the park day - celebrate your good deed with a picnic and play time.
  26. Make school related activities fun - create your own matching cards. Use maccaroni for math reinforcement, make a clock with a paper plate, help with geometry by giving building tasks, etc.
  27. Have a pajama day, enjoy movies and popcorn (great for a rainy day).
  28. Play tennis, soccer, kickball, football, etc.
  29. Write a short novel with your child, taking turns writing a chapter (for the older kids).
  30. Master the jump rope.  My kidlet is not proficient with the jump rope, I think we'll be working on that a bit this summer.
  31. Pick your own fruit (berries, cherries, apples, etc).  We live close to a very rural area where we canpick our own fruit for very little money.  Locally sourced food, ftw!
  32. Have a puzzle race. Use 100-piece puzzles and see who finishes first.  I can tell you right now, my kidlet is winning this race.
  33. Host the kids' friends for a sleepover. And the maybe your kids will be invited next, giving you a free evening
  34. Take road trip to a nearby city. Spend the night if you can or just make it a day trip.
  35. Go to the drive-in. If there isn't one nearby, look for one near your vacation spot. Every kid should go to the drive-in at least once!
  36. Find a free concert near you.
  37. Make paper airplanes. See whose goes the farthest.
  38. Climb trees together. Of course, only if the kids are big enough, and you are brave enough.
  39. Play croquet on the lawn. And try bocci too.
  40. Go to a matinee. Find a bargain movie houses and pay less.
  41. Make a lemonade stand (some cities have by-laws about this, so investigate this idea before you present it to your kid(s))
  42. Race your Hotwheels
  43. Blow bubbles.  Have some creative bubble play outside, like making rainbow bubble snakes
  44. Make some sidewalk chalk paint, and go paint your sidewalk.  Mix equal parts cornstarch and water, and add generous amounts of food colouring.  This is dirty play, so make sure your kiddos aren't wearing their Sunday bests.
  45. Go to a parade.  No matter where you live in the world, there's bound to be a parade of some sort during the summer months.  See what's happening around town, and talk to your kiddos about what they want to go to.
I'm going to make it my mission to check off at least a dozen things off this list before school starts in fall.  I know, mom of the year award won't be going to me for aspiring for such an uninspiring goal, but hey, at least I'm talking to my kid, right?

I'll report back to you in September to let you know which activities we did, and what I'll be adding to/removing from the list.  If you have any ideas, please do let me know.  If you want me to write about something else, shoot a comment my way, and I'll see about writing it as soon as I get the chance.

Have a great summer everyone, and don't forget, the Mario Marathon starts June 21st at 11 am (EST).  Tune in, donate, and support the chil'ns! 

 * For those who don't know us personally, you're probably unaware of this phrase.  My partner will be writing another post explaining this paradigm at some point.  Stay tuned!

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