With the economy still on the fritz and budgets tight, everyone is trying to find cheap ways to entertain the family this summer. Let’s get back to some basic fun and find some free events around town to make this summer enjoyable.
Gardening is a great way to teach your children to take care of something living. You can go with your basic indoor herb gardening kits, sold at most nurseraries, or go big with a vegetable garden in the yard. With indoor herbs you can use them everyday for cooking and save a few dollars. A helpful website to find what grows best in your zip code is Earth kind. Make sure to water deeply when you have planted a new plant to get the root system good and moist. If you find that you have aphids, no worries. Lady Bugs are a good natural way to keep this problem in check and they can be found at most nurseries. A good book for fun gardening ideas for children is: Gardening Projects for kids By: Clare Bradley. You can also find easy how-to guides on search engines such as Google.
Stargazing is a no cost way to learn about the universe and constellations. There is no need to buy a telescope because your eyes can do all the viewing for free. The website Star date is a helpful tool for beginners to find their way around the night sky. You can record the nightly sky throughout the summer to learn the way stars move across the horizon. Bring a blanket and some late night snacks for a good time under the Milky Way. Remember that you are going to be outside at night and mosquitoes may become a problem so bring some bug spray.
Craft ideas are a great way to spend time with the whole family. If you have a pre-schooler check out the website Nickjr for craft ideas and healthy snacks to make together. Stores such as Michaels even have craft classes you can take together. Doing something as simple as making a frame for their favorite poster with some felt and glitter or go more complex with a wood bird house. Supplies can be found cheap at stores such as Hobby Lobby. You can also look around your house for free supplies such as an empty milk jug for a bird feeder or a pine cone rolled in peanut butter then bird seed. This is a great way for a child to show their creative side.
Video games are a wonderful way to make learning fun and some are even free online. If you have an older child that likes to play on a game console then join in the fun and make sure to ask questions about what to do. Getting excited about something they enjoy will make spending time together a pleasure for all. When it is too hot outside video games provide relief and a cool place to sit. You could even pull out some board games such as Monopoly or Scrabble to get that noodle cooking. Just be sure to not spend too much time playing video games, there is much to do.
Half Price Books is a local book store that regularly holds many programs to get kids reading such as the feed your brain summer program. They also have free parking lot movies at the NorthWest Highway store all summer. Visit Half Price Books for more information about movie time and the summer reading program, note that some of the movies are PG-13 and all start at 8:45p.m. The later time may not be best for younger children unless you take one of those summer naps in the afternoon.
Try to make everyday activities fun for your whole family. Put on some music and dance around while picking up, this also a good time to teach younger children about shapes and colors or older children to learn how that mysterious washing machine works. When you feel comfortable with letting your older children around preparations for a meal let them cut up some onion or season the chicken. Make into a mini cooking show with them to teach healthy eating habits. Enjoy the time this summer you have with your children and family. When they are smiling, so are you.