10 Free Things to Do with Your Kids

May 2, 2010

As summer quickly approaches, there is a pressing need to come up with things to do to keep the little ones occupied. There are the easy fixes, like movies, video games, TV, and summer camps. But what can create lasting memories, make the summer enjoyable and significant? How can you connect with your children without spending a fortune? Here are some ideas.

Catch minnows, fireflies, tadpoles or other little creature in a jar.

Look at them in detail, talk about what you notice, take some pictures, and let them go.

Make a Lemonade Stand.

Lemonade stands are actually teaching-moment-friendly. They learn supply and demand, preparations, cleanliness, making change, social skills, etc. You can take the lessons even further by donating all of the profits to charity to help kids understand empathy and compassion.

Take a PJ’s walk.

Before bed, go for a stroll around the neighborhood. Everything looks very different at night, and walks are a great way to learn all kinds of things about your kids in an undivided attention setting.

Visit all of the local playgrounds.

There are typically unknown parks with play areas that may become the favorite, rather than the one you always visit.

Volunteer at a working farm.

Give your kids an opportunity to learn about how food gets to the store and then to your dinner table. It will also demonstrate the value of a hard day’s work. Visit www.localharvest.org/csa

Set up a tent in the backyard and camp out.

Kids love to be outside and do something out of the ordinary. You don’t have to go far to read bedtime stories under the stars and sleep in sleeping bags.

Create a chalk drawing in the driveway.

You can make a map of your city, of the country, or of their favorite pet, team, whatever. The possibilities are endless.

Make your own playdough.

You can use this as a lesson about the color wheel by using food dyes. Some of the recipes on www.teachnet.com are even edible!

Toss water balloons.

The age-old game of distance and skill. Measure the record and try to break it. For younger ones, you can have them catch the balloons in hand towels.

Build ice castles.

Fill various sized containers with water and freeze. Remove, and use the various ice shapes to build an ice castle on a hot day.

Remember, the key to having memorable and meaningful experiences with your children is to have fun, forget about the rules, and let your kids’ imaginations come alive. The more relaxed and content you are, the more they will learn that times with Mom and Dad are fun and special. Enjoy the freedom of summer schedules, and make it a point to spend special time each week. The best part: It doesn’t have to cost you a penny!

Do you have any other favorites? Post a comment and share your ideas.

* Some information taken from Family Style Magazine.