I’m bored, these is nothing to do!
Every parent with children of a certain age has heard that statement. It’s a kind of rallying cry for every child under the age of 16 who, despite access to a zillion electronic devices as well as old-school books and games, just cannot find anything to do. And with summer just around the corner, the chances are good you’re about to hear that sad phrase again and again.
If you’re wondering what your kids can do while they’re out of school that won’t destroy your bank account (because anyone can come up with expensive ideas that are fun) and don’t involve TV or video games, check out my list of inexpensive summer activities. You’re sure to find one or two that will sound appealing.
Biking or hiking on a bike trail. There are trails in every state — some are short, maybe a few miles at best, while some stretch out for fifty miles or more. But they all tend to be in scenic, out-of-the-way places and on flat ground, which was perfect for trains and is now perfect for parents and kids on bikes.
Day camp or summer camp. True, many and most camps are going to put a dent in your wallet, but if you’re working and your son or daughter needs to be somewhere other than home, you may want to investigate camps offered by Girl Scouts or your local YMCA.
Gardening. While this is easier said than done, especially if you’re not a gardener yourself, it can be done fairly inexpensively. For very young children, gardening is more about the adventure and exploration, and less about results.”And if you have older kids who manage to grow some tomatoes, carrots or some other produce you can serve at the dinner table, not only are they learning a new skill, but they’re helping you save money in the process.
Open a lemonade stand. It’s old-fashioned to the point of being a little corny, but what kid wouldn’t enjoy running his own microbusiness? It’s fun and educational at the same time, and if you really want to go all out and do something a little different and teach your kids about service.
Volunteer. To find something your kids will enjoy, you can use google to find volunteer activities that children and teenagers are allowed to participate in, like helping clean a beach or a creek or assisting at an animal shelter. Ask your children which activities sound interesting — they’re more likely to enjoy it if they get to choose themselves.
Visit your local museum or historical landmark. Most museums offer free admission on specific days or nights. If you think your kids would be interested, don’t forget to investigate the less obvious places.
Bowling. It’s usually an inexpensive activity, anyway, but if you go to KidsBowlFree.com, you can print free bowling coupons throughout the summer that are good at bowling alleys across the country.
Fishing. Kids will enjoy this activity or have grandpa take them.
Taking your kid to the mall. You get to shop and they get to window shop
Visiting the library. Not only do they have these crazy things made out of paper called books, you can remind your children, but they often have free programs, from read-aloud story times to craft sessions to animal groups bringing in little critters, all designed to get kids interested in visiting their library. You can also rent DVD’s and Wii games.
And here are some ideas that really need no explanation, but just as reminders, we’ll suggest them: Go on a picnic, fly a kite, put together a jigsaw puzzle, play some board games, catch some minnows in a creek, chase after some butterflies with a net, throw a slumber party for your kids, climb a tree or build a tree house , put up a tire swing, visit a playground, walk a dog (a neighbor’s, if you don’t have your own), play some catch in the yard, catch some fireflies at night, play flash light tag at night, take your kids to a garage sale or flea market, hold a garage sale or wash the car. And if they’re nearby, don’t forget to take your kids to visit their grandparents or perhaps an elderly relative who could really use the company