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Ready or not… here’s summertime! Maybe it snuck up on you… maybe you’ve been preparing for weeks. The squirrel is never ready, even if she really has been preparing… she’s never got quite enough nuts saved up for the wintertime, and she’s always scrambling. Good news is, she has squirreled for you in this case, and now you have a list to help you moving forward!
Here are eight cheap or free things to do with kids:
- Go to the local library! Did you know that your local library is not only free but is probably also hosting free summer reading programs? Reading opens doors to new worlds that spark imagination and creative thinking like no other! Help your kids develop a love for reading and you will help them to have a permanent option to entertain themselves.
- Go to a local park! Even if it’s a park with no playground you can play tag, hide-and-seek, run races, or maybe go for a scavenger hunt! The sky is the limit!
- Make and have a picnic lunch! Kids will have to eat either way… but you can make it a bigger event and an entertaining, memorable moment by taking the time to plan, make, pack, and take that meal outside! Even if you don’t have an outdoor space to go to, you can host a pretend picnic on the living room floor. Spread out that picnic blanket and open the windows to let in some daylight.
- Have a dance party! Disclaimer: this one may not last long, you run a risk of getting tired quickly, but chances are that they can go for hours! Include a dance-off, try to make up a new dance, or just have a good time with it. Don’t be afraid to act a little silly while you’re at it!
- Go “exploring” on a night walk! The world is a different place after dark. In a safe place to wander around, take flashlights and go exploring. You can find different bugs and critters than you would see in the daytime. Listen for owls, try to find spiders in the grass by looking for their reflecting eyes in your flashlight beam, and see if you can find a night-blooming flower! Let the kids use their imaginations!
- Draw and color pictures! It’s not totally free, but for just a few dollars you can score a decent-sized box of crayons and a pack of paper, and let your imaginations run wild. Challenge your children to draw certain animals, or places, or even make up new ones!
- Make a wish list or a dream list! Everybody has a list of things they want, and kids usually have a long one. It’s not feasible to buy everything for your kids, but it’s easy to entertain them with a little window shopping! Access whatever website has toys or things that interest your kids, grab a sales sheet from a newspaper or see if you can go old school and find a lookbook from a store. Remember, it’s not about them thinking they’ll get everything they see, but about letting them dream for a little while, and maybe getting some early ideas about what your goals are for Christmas.
- Make sidewalk art! Another not-free but fairly cheap option, get some sidewalk chalk and let the games begin! Leave positive messages for the people who might walk on a sidewalk, decorate your driveway or parking spot, create a maze or activity course… options are endless, and it can be hours of entertainment that you can do over and over, with clean up being as easy as a bucket of water!