|Summer Fun with the Kids © Katrena|
Free Summer Meal Programs
The Health and Human Services Departments in many states offer free summer food programs through Nutrition Services for children ages 18 and younger. For example, many school cafeterias are open on weekdays during summer months to provide a free breakfast and lunch. These programs may be open to those who qualify for free or reduced meals during the school year or for anyone meeting the age requirements. This can be a great opportunity to ensure that the kids get nutritious meals and may help you to stretch the budget just a little farther.
Don't underestimate the value of quality time together as a family. Turn off the television, computer, cell phone, and all the other distractions of modern life and simply enjoy some time together talking, walking, cooking, working puzzles, playing games or sports, and more. These times might seem rather ordinary at the time but may be those most treasured in later years. It is a great idea to have a variety of fun indoor and outdoor activities available.
Many parks and playgrounds are available free of charge and can encourage kids to remain physically active throughout summer months. Many may be a short distance from home, or you might decide to try some playgrounds that the kids have noticed on road trips.
You might check with other parents in the area and arrange to meet on certain dates and times to enjoy the fellowship with other adults while the kids play. Pack a picnic lunch and/or plan to add a walk and make some great family memories together.
If you get together with other families, you might plan to customize your own sort of "camps" with the kids. For example, you might try playing sports, teaching crafts, giving info on quick and simple home or car maintenance, or other ideas that would fit with the skills and supplies already readily available with the group.
|Fun and Free Summer Activities at the Library © Katrena|
Public libraries typically offer a summer reading program in which kids are encouraged to read and learn throughout the summer. Kids are often given the opportunity to keep track of their reading and may be offered incentives for reaching certain milestones. Children who are too young to read may be rewarded for listening to stories read by others.
Libraries may also offer fun summer activities such as story times, guest speakers, storytellers, puppet shows, drama presentations, movies, music programs, crafts, and more. Many of these special programs are absolutely free, and you and the kids may enjoy browsing through the books, magazines, music, computer resources, and more that the library has to offer for check-out so that you can continue the fun at home. Some libraries offer traveling services for those who have no way to travel to the site.
Readers may also wish to read Free Books and So Much More at the Local Library.
Children and their families who wish to make a difference in their community and even beyond may wish to look at volunteer opportunities within the community. Picking up trash regularly at an area playground, visiting folks at a nursing home, becoming a pen pal to someone who is lonely, helping a neighbor with odd jobs, working at a soup kitchen, fostering a dog or cat from the local Humane Society, sending care packages to the troops, or helping to tend to a community garden can all encourage one to be a part of something larger than oneself.
|Summer Vacation Bible School © Katrena|
Many area churches offer VBS (Vacation Bible School) and other summer programs at little or no charge. The kids have the opportunity to learn scripture, sing songs, play games, make crafts, and meet new friends. Different churches offer a variety of programs, so feel free to contact the church if you have questions regarding what to expect with the VBS programs in your area.
Summer Movie Programs
Many movie theaters offer a special summer pass for children's movies during the summer. These are usually shown on a particular day(s) during the week during afternoon hours. Prices for these shows can be much lower than their typical rates. Local libraries and towns may also offer special movie showings for the kids and/or families.
Readers may also wish to read How to Find Free Movies.
|Fun Family Summer Activities © Katrena|
Many people associate water with summer. Whether you are sitting by a kiddie pool in the yard, swimming in the local pool, cooling off at a splash pad, or skiing on the lake, water seems to beckon to people! Some of these may be free or low cost or included with a membership. Adults and children may learn swimming skills to open a whole new world of water recreation activities as well as providing some great exercise opportunities. It is important to follow basic water safety rules to ensure the safety of all.
Clubs may offer a nice variety of opportunities for kids to interact with others, increase their knowledge, and learn new skills. They typically offer camps and special activities throughout the summer for children as well as club meetings. Several clubs that may be in your area include:
- Boy Scouts
- Girl Scouts
- Junior Civitans
Many local areas offer summer programs for children who have all sorts of different interests. They usually offer sports but also may offer non-competitive activities such as dancing, art, drama, or animal programs. Some may be free or have a nominal price. You might also check to see if they offer a sliding scale, scholarships, opportunities for bartering services, or any other discounts.
Examples of places that may offer summer programming for kids or that may be able to direct you to specific programs in the area include:
- Parks and Recreation Department
- Gyms and Exercise Facilities
- Arts Council
- Farms and Riding Stables
- Sports Programs
|How to Find Discounts and Coupons for Amusement Parks © Katrena|
Just a little investment of time can have significant returns for those who wish to visit amusement parks or theme parks. They may offer a special price for those who purchase online or before a certain date. Save money by getting a group together to visit on the same day in order to qualify for group rates. Discounts may also be available if you wish to visit late in the afternoon or enjoy the park two or more days.
Some employers and banks may provide discount pricing on tickets that are purchased at that location. You might also find coupons at gyms, check-outs at various stores, college campuses, etc. Some credit card companies and even insurance agencies may offer points that can be used toward purchasing gift cards or tickets for popular vacation destinations in return for using their credit card or for participating in wellness activities.
Season Passes and Memberships
Although purchasing a season pass for a children's museum, science museum, aquarium, or other fun destination may seem rather expensive initially, it can be well worth the investment if you and the kids plan to return to the place several times during the year.
Some of these businesses may offer special prices for summer-only season passes. Season passes may be available for a family price, which can really help those with several children. Perks are often included with season passes, such as free or reduced parking, discounts at their shops, extended hours, and members-only pricing on special events.
|How to Save Money at Summer Programs © Katrena|
Those who purchase season passes or memberships often find that reciprocal programs are available. This means that you can enjoy discounted or free admission to those businesses that have agreed to a reciprocal program. This can be a great money-saving opportunity for a family who wishes to visit several different recreational opportunities on the list. Many of these reciprocal programs are listed online with the membership perks.
Summer Fun for Less
Involve the kids in the planning process for the summer. They will often have great ideas to share as well. You might want to make a summer calendar and plug in scheduled activities and then write down a variety of quick and easy activities that the kids can draw out of the summer activity bowl during down times. I hope this will be a fun and exciting time for you and your family!
Find scavenger hunt clues, printables, and more articles about enjoying simple pleasures at my Wildflower Bouquets site map.