Summer means all the kids are home. Just a few weeks into summer vacation, I am already hearing "I'm bored."
We all know there are some great summer camps out there, but often those run $100 on up per week per child. So here are a "baker's dozen" of 13 ideas that are free or cheap for your kids this summer:
Books- The library is our FIRST stop for summer fun. Some libraries offer a summer reading log/contest where you get a prize at the end. Pinellas County libraries are teaming up with the Rays this year. Many libraries have free story hours for the little ones. Ours also has puzzles for pre-schoolers so you can actually hang out at the library and have some fun. CLICK HERE to see my personal list of great reads.
Beaches- Just about everyone in Tampa Bay area can reach a beach in under 30 minutes. Pack a cooler, some drinks, some lunch and your sand toys and spend a day. Don't forget quarters for the meters and plenty of sunscreen and water to stay safe.
Baking-Summer is a great time of year to introduce your kids to baking, cooking and meal planning. If they are old enough to read, they can cook (with your supervision.) The kids always like to make brownies or cakes from a box, but try out something new- breakfast muffins, dinner casseroles, bread or summer salads. Have the kids help plan the meals for the week and send them on a grocery store scavenger hunt to find the items they need. Teach them to look for cheap prices and cut coupons too!
Bikes-Although it is pretty hot in the middle of the day to be biking, try an early morning or late evening bike ride, and attach some fun by biking to the pool so that at the end of the ride you can all really cool off.
Babysitting-Kids or Pets.
If your kids are at least 10 years old, they can be a "mommy's helper" and babysit for a mom with young children, while she is in the home. Do it for free as a pro-life service to give a mom a break! If the kids are 13 plus, have them take the Red Cross babysitting class and start earning money as a part time job. Many people who take a vacation during summer are looking for someone to walk the dog, feed the cat or fish or check in on the chinchillas. Help your child learn to do these things and help a neighbor at the same time.
Building- Everyone has building pieces in their homes that have been put away in bins. Get out those Legos, Duplos, Kinex as well as household items like shoeboxes, toilet paper roles, and egg cartons and have kids create something fun to then play with. Our kids love to build something new with Legos, but they also like to recycle stuff like paper towel cylinders, tissue boxes, tin foil and turn it into some robot, monster or building.
Baseball-While attending a game at Tropicana fields is a big treat, it can really take a big bank account to take the whole family. So why not have family fun watching the Rays on TV? Cook your own hot dogs, get cracker jack and make some popcorn while you cheer on the home team. Invite some friends over for sleep overs afterwards.
Bowling-The bowling alleys usually have some great specials and even leagues for kids. Boy does that air conditioning feel great on a hot day.
Bible school-Many churches offer VBS. Some in the mornings and more and more in the evenings for parents that work.
Buddies-Have your kids' friends over to play during the summer and trade back and forth with another family to have your kids over too. One of the favorite things our kids like to do in the summer is a slip and slide--add plenty of dish detergent to make it super slippery!
Banning or limiting electronics-Sure don't want the summer to be spent only on the couch. Figure out a reasonable limit...an hour a day? 4 days a week?
Banking- kids earn allowance or cool stuff for extra chores they do around the house.
Bonding- Best part of summer is to be together as a family, bond over the fun times and make a memory book to celebrate your summer. Get together with grand parents and cousins too for a lot of family fun time.