In my last post I explored some of the more structured summer activities that are available for kids. Many of these are very time-intensive and require a level of commitment to participate, and others can cost quite a bit of money as well. As we wrap up this two-part series in today’s post, I’ll look at some activities and ideas that can be tailored to suit you and your child’s needs if you aren’t ready to commit to a formal program.
The local library has summer reading programs geared generally towards younger kids. These are also free and provide your child with some motivation to meeting the goals set out by the program. And it’s a great fallback to have when there’s rain. A way to bond with your child – you can participate along with your child and set a good example for them. Check out the post that I wrote last year on this topic.
Summer is also an excellent time to volunteer. Your teens in particular are probably building their resume for college applications and many of the activities listed above are always looking for volunteers. There are also community service projects and mission work opportunities that your child can participate in and do some good for others. Check out “Twelve Service Opportunities For Your Child” for the list that I compiled earlier this year.
For families who have the luxury of a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), you can get creative without breaking the bank. Run a mini neighborhood day camp with other SAHMs. Each home can take turns being host for the day and run different games and activities, giving the other moms a break for the day. Or explore your city with your child – attractions that are right in our own back yard are often the least visited by local residents. Many of these have free admission, so pick out two or three of these for a day and pack a picnic lunch.
Finally, it might be time for your child to work. You might cringe at the idea but the reality is that someday they need to learn what work is all about. Summer is an excellent time to introduce work without interfering with school. I named off a couple dozen work ideas in “Twenty-Six Jobs for Teens” back in February. And the best paying job for older teens just might be in the scholarship search process, discussed in this post.
However you decide to handle summer activities, be intentional about it. Without a plan, you’re likely to spend more money on a last-minute activity that isn’t exactly what you had in mind for your child. And remember, kids need time to be kids. Part of their growth and maturation process is in unstructured play and free time where they have to be creative in how they spend that time.
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