As a parent, you want to be that trusted adult in your child's life. Part of building that relationship is making an effort to spend quality time with your child. What better time to do that then when children are home for the summer?
As summer break is beginning, don't feel the incredible need to have something planned for your child every single day. Independence is important. It's okay for kids to get bored, as it does spark creativity. But it is also important to take the summer to bond with your children. Who sees your kids more during the school semester? Probably their teachers. So, this is an incredible opportunity to see your kids in action! Kids will have a memorable summer when their activities are shared with the ones they love. As we encourage our children to see less of their phone screens, let's encourage time together at the park, farmer's market and backyard!
Having grown up in a house of six, I remember the frugal, yet fun-filled summers with my family! My parents made our summers memorable without breaking the bank. Sometimes this meant bringing our own snacks from home when taking a trip to Dallas, instead of Florida. This included movie nights together in the living room instead of the theater. All of this to say, I understand the need for budget-friendly activities during the summer. Below, I've included some inexpensive or even free activities you can do with your kids to spark creativity, create independence, and strengthen relationships.
- Have a luau in the backyard: This could easily be any type of party in the backyard. I remember when switching up the dunner routine and eating outside was a very exiting time. Hang some old Christmas lights, put out the bug candles, and maybe take your bluetooth speaker to play your child's favorite songs. Have a backyard campfire...or just use the grill! Roast hot dogs on sticks, pop popcorn and finish off with s'mores.
- Make a fort out of cardboard boxes: Or out of sheets! One of my favorite summer memories with my younger brother was hanging up old sheets around our living room, and our parents letting us sleep there for the night.
- Go to a FREE movie night: Places like Sundance Square in fort Worth and Downtown Roanoke host outdoor movie nights during the summer where you can bring your own blankets and chairs. This is a pretty common activity cities are doing to involve their communities.
- Go for a nature walk and then make a collage from nature objects you find along the way: As a child, it was always so fascinating finding the biggest leaf or the smoothest rock. This can be a great activity for education. Maybe take your phone and have the kids watch you research each found object.
- Have a water balloon fight: This was always a favorite game around our neighborhood. Plus, balloons are easily found at the dollar store! Bonus points to the kids who learn patience while filling up every water balloon and tying them.
- Visit the local library throughout summer: You would be surprised what your kids are interested in. Ask them what they want to learn about or what they want to be when they grow up. This is a good chance for children to learn how to find resources without just using Google.
- Practice making interesting shadow puppets and then put on a show with your characters: This is a blast. Put up an old sheet and flashlight and create a show for the family.
- Make a sidewalk chalk mural: Another cheap item at the dollar store-CHALK! Great time for your kids to spend outside quietly creating their abstract art. This is also a great time to teach them the old school game of HOP SCOTCH!
- Go see a kid friendly theatre performance: Places like Billy's Globe House in Fort Worth offer INTERACTIVE children's theatre Friday and Saturday mornings. Kids get to boo and hiss at the bad guys, and get to dance and cheer for the good guys! Tickets run from $5-$7.
- Make Popsicles: This is a super easy project to do. You just have to have an ice tray, tooth picks, aluminum foil and juice! Fill your tray with your favorite juice, place a sheet of foil over the tray to hold the toothpicks in place, which you will poke through the sheet, and freeze! This was something I learned on the hit TV show Zoom!
These are just ten ideas but it is also helpful to ask your kids what they want to do! Be open to their ideas and remember that this is a time to strengthen relationships between family members.
About the Author
Georgia was previously a Community Education for Alliance For Children and spent her time educating Tarrant County children on how to keep their bodies safe and stay safe on the internet. She is also a professional photographer and an active employee with her church ministry. Georgia loves spending her summer traveling with her husband and making memories with her family.