Summer break can get crazy expensive no matter if you have a family of 2 or a family of 6. Without the routine of school everyday, kids quickly get the "I'm boooorrred" habit. So, what are you going to do about it? My first answer would be to hand them a broom and a dust rag... or better yet, hand them a pooper scooper and shove them in the backyard. But, alas, I can still hear "MOOOOM, he hit me..." "...she won't let me plaaaay" "That's not FAIWWW (thats fair in little kid no r speak)." Now what...
You've heard most of these before. I really just want to show off some of the things we have been up to. Maybe, though, you'll get a great new idea so, here we go.
First, your very own public library! You never know what you might run into. Teen Miss Heart of the Ozarks International was at story time. Kendall was beyond pumped!
Every library is different but, beyond the usual story time, puzzles, computer games and, of course, insane amount books, our library offers a fantastic summer program. Kids are encouraged to read (or listen to reading) by filling out time cards. When you fill up a card, you turn it in for a chance at all sorts of prizes. PLUS, there are surprise readers at story time, lots of fun kid/family musical groups, magic shows, arts and crafts, Lego Club and even a Sparkle Tea Party. There is seriously something different every day.
The local Farmer's Market is also a fun place. Even if you don't plan on buying any produce, bread, coffee or flowers, wondering around seeing all the different stands, listening to the music and playing with the dogs (at our market, everyone seems to bring a dog) is a morning of entertainment. The farmers are full of intertesting information and recipes about their crop and you might just find something new to try.
On that same note, many farms also offer a "you pick" option. The prices tend to be rock bottom when you are willing to do the work yourself. It is yet another wonderful way to spend a morning and teach your children (and maybe even yourself) what goes into getting the food to their hungry little mouths. You might be amazed what veggies and fruits your budding farmers are willing try after they have put in the work.
Next, hand them the camera! Or in this case, the camera phone. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is a fun turn from the norm.
Need to water the garden? I purchased a great little sprinkler from Target for only $5. It has 12 different watering options which equals out to hours of double duty. Not only do the plants get a drink, the kids run through the water cooling off and laughing their little heads off. The best game is to try and get through WITHOUT getting wet. We also play "how fast can you change the spray"... you have to get all the way up to the sprinkler, pick it up AND change the spray option. How brave are you??
Want away from the house? Big wather parks are fun but $$$ and when you have little feet learning to toddle, frustration can quickly ensue. Check out your local public swimming pool. Many have evening family times where the crowds and the heat are far less daunting. We have aquactic center options in our area. There is a "splash pad" that is completely free and a few different water park-esq options of various price range. Our favorite is the Springdale Aquatic Center. With a zero grade entry kids pool, sprinkler area, a few slides, a big kid pool away from the budding swimmers and only $20 for the 6 us to hang out for 7 hours... you can't beat it with a stick! Did I mention that you can bring your own food and drinks? Oh yes, we LOVE. They offer punch cards as well which save you even more.
Snacks at a park, turn your neighborhood walk into a scavenger hunt, create budding Picaso's with sidewalk chalk or throwing out inhabition and playing dress up with the kids. Anything can be fun when you put down the book, cleaning rag, phone, or laptop and play with the kids. There is a ton of adventure right out your own front door!