Summer is here, and for those who aren’t moving, the days and weeks can seem daunting. Pinterest is full of lists and ideas for things to do with your kids, and I think we all start out with an overzealous schedule and then, by week 2, we’re overwhelmed. I’ve put together some free, or low-cost ideas, that are easy, quick, and can be done with friends or without.
Kids Bowl Free – One of the best summer programs for those located near an AMF Bowling Alley. The specifics on ages, hours, and prices on shoe rentals vary by location but each registered child can play 2 games per day, every day, all summer long. The goal of the program is to provide a safe and secure way for children to enjoy the summer. The air conditioning, exercise, and price make it perfect for parents. Register your kiddos here!
Park Passport – If your town has a bunch of playgrounds, parks, and splash pads, you can easily find a way to visit all of them, and make it fun. Depending on your creativity level, you could make a checklist for the kids, a passport with stickers, or even a scavenger hunt to spread out the excitement of a new place. Pick a day of the week that is Passport Day, and spend a few hours at the park, with friends and a snack, and make a new summer tradition.
Summer Reading Programs – Not all kids find reading fun or the library exciting, but summer reading programs can help with that. Most local libraries have a summer program, with rewards for reading books, weekly programs for kids of all ages, and help for parents who are hoping their kids discover the joy of reading. Along with libraries, book stores are also participating in summer programs. Check out the Summer Reading Program at Barnes & Noble or Books A Million’s Summer Quest Reading Adventure.
Find a Family Hobby – Sure, crafts are messy and can be expensive, but kids really just want to spend time with their parents. Maybe you have a budding photographer who wants to take a photo-a-day, or an artist who wants to create things from dirt and leaves. Encourage your kids by joining in on their hobbies or helping them to find one on their own. Spending time together being creative will give both you and them lots of satisfaction.
$1 Movies – Most movie theaters show free, or very cheap, movies during the day, during the week. These are not first run movies, but they are usually pretty recent and often include discounted snacks. Regal Cinemas’ Summer Movie Express has movies for $1 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Theaters on military installations often follow this pattern during school breaks, to include the summer. Free movies, free air conditioning, and two hours of relative quiet – or at least minimal “Mom, Dad, can I….” questions.
So, now that school’s out, take some time to relax, decompress, and figure out what is going to work best for your family this summer. And, if you come across some other free or low-cost activities, let us know!
Posted by Rebecca Alwine, a military spouse of over 8 years. She enjoys traveling the world, learning about herself, running, lifting weights, is a voracious reader, and actually enjoys most of the menial tasks of motherhood. Follow her on Twitter.