Do you ever get to the end of the school year and think, “Oh no…what the heck am I going to do with my kid all summer?!” I think the majority of co-parents ask that question. Especially when both parents work, summer time can be a very difficult juggling act. There are camps and activities in all areas if you just search your local listings. However, these can cost a lot of money. Again, if you are working, then you are probably already having to fork out extra money for childcare, or something to fill the time.
What about some activity ideas that don’t break the pocket book? There are really quite a few options to help keep the kids busy and entertained, and maybe even learning something, while not costing an arm and a leg.
Here are the TOP 10 No or Low Cost Summer Ideas for co-parents and your kids.
- Free Summer Movies – Check your local movie theaters for free summer movies for kids. Usually on Tuesdays they will play a free family movie.
- Vacation Bible School – Most churches host vacation Bible school for a week each summer. They usually run Monday-Friday in the mornings. This is a great way to keep your kids busy doing something constructive, and if you schedule it right, you could do a few different ones throughout your community to take care of a few weeks. They are usually free or very inexpensive.
- Sports Clinics – Some colleges or larger high schools offer free sports clinics for kids.
- Free Behind the Scenes Tours – have you ever thought of asking for a behind the scenes tour at a local business, restaurant, bakery, TV station, museum? Be creative. Many places will set up a tour if you just ask. Then you are learning something new too!
- Free Camps – If summer camp is way too expensive, think about a grant or scholarship for your child. There are organizations out there willing to help, you may just have to apply or write a letter.
- Volunteering – Your child isn’t too young to volunteer. Even if you wouldn’t send them off by themselves to serve in a soup kitchen, you could do something like that together. Clean up the park, the beach, the street you live on. If your child is a little older, find an organization where they could help serve one day a week. A good place to start might be here.
- Library Events – the library has many great free events. Check out the calendar at your local branch.
- Free Arts and Crafts at Museums – A lot of museums will offer craft time or free lessons to get kids interested in art at a young age. Find your local listings and inquire.
- Parks and Rec Workshops – Many departments will set up summer schedules of activities. Kids can be exposed to arts, fitness, sports, computers, gardening, etc. Find your local parks and recreation department and ask.
- Free Building Workshops – take a stroll through Home Depot or Lowe’s and find the summer schedule of workshops. They do a great job teaching age-appropriate projects and tasks, and the kids have a great time learning.
There really are a lot of options, it just may take a day of research and phone calls. But the efforts will be well worth it! Your child could come away from summer with a whole new set of skills and interests from all the FREE stuff you are able to find for them to explore this year!