We have officially begun our summer break. With summer sunshine comes the anticipation of endless playtime and activities. Although I like to give my kids plenty of time for free play, I also plan and schedule some budget-friendly activities. Here are a few ideas and activities that can be found on our summer calendar.Summer Reading
This is our second year participating in Barnes & Noble summer reading program. If the kids read eight books, they qualify for a free book. At our home, reading does not stop for summer break. The littles are expected to spend at least 20 minutes reading each day. They are more excited about their reading time when they know completed books can be logged on their reading journals. Journals can be downloaded on the Barnes & Noble website or picked up at the store.
If there is no Barnes & Noble in your area, check your local bookstores for reading programs. You can also make your own reading log. Set reasonable goals for your kids. Have them log their progress toward earning a new book. Thriftbooks.com has affordable like new options.
Kids Bowl Free is a fun activity to keep the kids busy. I was delighted to find a participating bowling center in our area, and the online sign up was a breeze. After registering the littles, there was the option to purchase a reasonably priced family pass for the adults in the family. I am emailed coupons that allow two free games per day. The only additional expense is shoe rental. We used our coupons this week for the first time, and the activity was a big hit! Unfortunately, my bowling skills are a bit rusty, and a delighted Magoo claimed the high score. In my defense, he used the kid-friendly gutter guards.Summer Matinee
Summer movies are a fun treat. Our local theatre offers an affordable summer program. Other cinema programs can be found by doing a search for summer movie programs, or contact the cinemas in your area.
My favorite summer activities are the ones that involve seeing friends and don’t impact the budget. Summer park days meet that criteria, and are a huge hit with the littles. Moms at my church circulate a summer park list that has a different park location each week. Kids get to play, and moms enjoy visiting. The list is shared with moms beyond our church, so it’s a great opportunity to meet new friends. Although there is a suggested time to meet, it’s very casual to come early or late. The littles enjoy packing a lunch and making a day of it.If you don’t have anything like this through your church, pray about making a list to share. My community has a number of parks, but rotating backyards would also work.
Vacation Bible School
While at a recent park day, one mom shared with me how she had her older kids signed up for a number of VBS programs. Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!! Vacation Bible School programs are a great way to keep your kids busy while being filled with the word of God. While the boys are signed up for our churches VBS, I hadn’t thought to check into programs at other local churches I am familiar with.
Summer Library Programs
Local libraries are not only a great resource for books, but many offer summer programs for varied age groups. Check with your local library. We are enjoying a weekly summer program, Lego building club, and an engaging tween program. While you’re at the library, take some time to pick up new books for the summer reading log.What summer activities have you found in your community?