With Memorial Day over, many schools will be letting out for summer break. This can be a scary time for parents, especially if you can’t budget in enough money for the summer camp of your child’s dreams. Luckily, there are lots of fantastic options that you can let your kids enjoy over the summer break. Many of these options won’t set you back any money while the rest are all low cost to suit your budget. With any luck, you’ll be able to occupy your children’s days with stimulating activities that will keep them busy while also ensuring you aren’t driven crazy over the next couple of months. So, check out this list and get planning now to ensure your schedule is packed.
1. College Programs
When it comes to fun activities, you might want to check out your local community college or university. Usually, these facilities will offer kids programs to the community. You can find everything from daycare options for younger children to science and literature programs for older children. Generally, you sign your children up for particular courses based on their education level and interest. Most of the time, there is a fee for the classes, but in some instances, you might find a free class. Some institutions will also offer a scholarship program, so if you think you might qualify then make sure to ask admissions before the programs begin. Often, these programs will last for a few hours a week, which will certainly keep your child happy and stimulated.
2. Day Camp
Even if you can’t afford a sleep away camp for your child, a day camp might be an alternate that works wonders. These camps often last for a few hours each day and will allow children to enjoy many of the activities that sleep away camps do. The only catch is your child won’t sleep there, nor will they eat three meals there, which means the price tag is actually a whole lot less. You might even be able to pack your child’s lunch each day to take even more off of the price tags. There are day camps for a wide variety of ages too, which will certainly help you enjoy summertime even more.
When it comes to summertime fun, your local library is one of the greatest assets for the entire family. Most libraries will offer a wide assortment of programs to help keep kids and adults busy. The library generally offers a summer reading program that will help kids earn prizes for reading. This program will inspire kids to read more, which will keep their minds going all summer. On top of that, the library tends to host movie time, story time and an abundance of crafts. You might even be able to spend all day at the library if you plan accordingly, which will certainly help kids enjoy their free time at no cost to you. Older children might even be able to volunteer, which can look great on college applications. There are even clubs and classes for adults and teens, so make sure to plan for the whole family.
4. YMCA/Boys and Girls Club
One of the best ways to help children engage in their community is to sign them up for the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club. These establishments are both designed to help children enjoy activities while spending time with other people their age. The YMCA offers a wide variety of classes that will help keep kids active while ensuring they have some fun and learn new things. Generally, you can find sports groups here, as well as dance classes and swim lessons. The Boys and Girls Club offers similar activities but focus more on being a strong resource for children who may otherwise be home alone. This club offers more free time for kids, but also focuses on plenty of exercises. Both of these facilities also offer day camps and more to keep children busy during the summer months.
If there aren’t any day course or camps for your kids to try out, then you might turn to sports or hobbies to keep them busy. Many community recreation centers will host baseball, tennis, soccer and more during the summer months. High school students might even be able to sign up for training for the upcoming school year. Of course, sports aren’t your only option. You can also sign your child up for a variety of hobbies. You might start with an art class like pottery or painting, or a dance class to help them burn off excess energy. If your child is interested in music then sign them up for violin, piano, guitar and more. There are so many hobbies to choose from, so keep your kids busy while saving the stress of having them bored. Best of all, they’ll develop skills they can use all for years to come.
6. Field Trips
If you can’t find a group to enjoy, then you might consider just taking your children out on a few field trips throughout the summer. If you can find a free museum day, then this is a great thing to take advantage of. You can even come up with scavenger hunts or resource projects based on your experience there. Another fun trip, if you have a little extra money on your hands, is a trip to an amusement park. This is a great bonding trip for everyone and will help the kids get worn out for a few days. Another option that is absolutely free is to take kids on a nature walk. You can find leaves, identify plants and so on. There are lots of fun field trip ideas to check out, so have some fun with the trips that you plan.
7. Camping Trips
A camping trip is a fun way to keep the kids busy for the weekend. You can even assign them tasks to prepare for the trip, which will certainly keep them entertained. There are lots of great places to camp for free, so make sure to look around to see what you can find. Of course, if you don’t have time on your hands then you can always set up a campsite in your backyard. This can be a great experience for kids to learn how to cook outdoors and stay entertained. You can even come up with songs to sing, stories to tell and so much more. If you want to keep things educational then you can always work with astrology too, especially since the summertime months are filled with clear skies with lots of cool things to check out.
8. Neighborhood Groups
Sometimes, your neighborhood is the greatest asset to help your children enjoy the summertime. You might get with other parents in the community to plan trips with the kids, so that your children can still have fun with their peers while you also get extra support during field trips. You can also come up with games that encourage socialization and development that all of the kids in the neighborhood can try out. Another fun idea is to come up with a summer task for the kids, which can be as simple as planting a community garden or as tough as building a fort or treehouse. Of course, you could also use the neighborhood to come up with playdates, so every parent in the group can get a small break from their children during the summer months.
9. Volunteer Activities
Summer is a great time to get the kids outside to help out their community. There are a lot of things that kids can help out with, so make sure to look around for age appropriate activities. Younger children might find joy in assisting in a community garden, planting trees or even chatting with the elderly at a nursing home. High school students have a quite a few activities to choose from. For starters, you might help them sign up for work at a soup kitchen, food pantry or even an animal shelter. High schoolers can even look into skill-based activities such as Habitat for Humanity. Cleaning up the community also looks good on college applications. There are also intern opportunities for kids to look into, which can help bring success in the future.
10. Nature Programs
Without a doubt, getting the kids out in Mother Nature can be one of the best things for them during the summer months. There are many nature reserves that offer programs that will help teach children all about the animals and plants in the reserve. These programs also offer classes that help teach gardening as well as how to live a greener lifestyle. Parks are another great asset for summer fun. You will find lots of activities as well as day camps hosted by the parks department, which will help kids have fun while enjoying the fresh air. All in all, make sure to keep an eye on the parks in your area as there is always something going on in the summer for kids and the whole family.
Summer doesn’t have to be hours spent in front of the TV each day. These ideas will help your kids enjoy the feeling of a camp without forcing you to spend the high price. With any luck, your children will have lots of fun exploring the world around them on a budget that won’t cause you to stress out.