Summer can be an enjoyable time for parents and children while adhering to the family budget. By using a little creativity and some local community resources, summer can truly be an enriching and memorable time of the year. The local library is a great resource. Take a trip and chat with the librarian about upcoming age appropriate programs for children, many libraries offer play groups, story time, as well as provide entertainment, all for free!
Find out about special events provided through your community church for children. Many county park systems also have free events and programs during the summer months. Taking local nature walks provides a bonding time for parents and children. Spending time in nature is both therapeutic and fun! Keeping children active and fit is very important. Try taking bike rides, going swimming or for a light jog with your kids.
Come up with creative projects indoors on those steamy summer days. Assist your child in writing and illustrating their own book about their favorite summer activities. Invite friends over and help the children to organize skits and plays. For example, you can take a few cereal boxes, cans and personal care products and help the kids create their own commercials. They can make signs, and even a stage out of cardboard. Create puppets out of socks and allow the kids have a show with friends, what fun! Turn on some music and play games such as freeze dance, musical chairs or have a dance contest.
Get new age appropriate books bi-weekly on several topics of interest at the library. Books on tape and educational videos are great as well! Reading and summer crafts stimulate the mind. Get creative when it comes to summer arts and crafts projects. Kids can create various animals out of paper plates and yarn. They can turn the plates into masks and come up with more skits while sharing the masks with their friends. Craft supplies can be purchased at many local dollar stores. If your child is over 5, working with beads is a great project for developing fine motor skills. Also, during a nature walk, collect items in a brown bag to make a collage at home. You can label the natural items collected and have a discussion about it, as well as get a book on nature in the summertime. Puzzles, blocks and games are great for indoors too so stock up!
Volunteering in the community is a wonderful use of children’s time in the summer. Many nursing home activity directors would love to have children come to their facility to brighten the lives of residents. Children can do simple crafts with seniors, draw pictures and read stories to them. The companionship children can provide for seniors is a true gift. Other volunteer opportunities may be available at area hospitals. Many times recreational therapists need assistance in craft projects designed to keep ill patients engaged. Most hospitals have volunteer coordinators to contact for opportunities for children and families.
Summer is a time for fun, creativity and community involvement. Use as many local resources as possible to ensure that this summer is one where your child stays active, happy and involved in a wealth of enriching activities.
By Kim Quigley (Guess Blogger)