My 9-year-old daughter does not go to camp until July 9. That's when her drama camp begins. But the plot has already thickened in my house with a steady chorus of: Mommy, I'm Bored!
Here's what we're doing to cure the summer blues:
25 Frugal Things to Do with Kids.
1. Write a book. My daughter has written a how-to-manual for kids. It's a short guide about fixing everyday problems. She has typed up the book and I want her to create pictures. Meanwhile, a close friend suggests another project: Mommy, I'm Bored.
2. Crafts at the library: In addition to story hour, one of our local branches offered a free craft hour. My daughter made a bookmark and decorated a small wooden box.
3. Dissect old machinery: With tools and light supervision, my daughter and a friend spent hours investigating the guts of an old machine. They learned a lot and enjoyed the process.
4. Start a reading club (with other children)
5. Go to the Beach, the playground or a park.
6. Check out free programs at public buildings, museums and malls.
7. Visit botanical gardens. We found a $5 yoga class and low-cost art instructions at one of the local (public) gardens.
8. Play Neopets.com. There are lots of games and money-related activities at Neopets.com. My daughter has actually learned a lot about commerce from this site. Kids adopt electronic pets and then are responsible for feeding, housing and entertaining their pets. Kids can play games or set up a store or shop. I like to play the slot machines in the game arcade. It's a frugal way to gamble. I get the thrill of the casino without the expense.
9. Go for a walk.
11. Shop for food. We went to the grocery store today. My daughter put together her wish list: ice cream, berries, whip cream and cookie crisp cereal. We had fun.
12. Write a letter: My daughter has written a cute, cute letter to my folks. I have to remember to mail it.
13. Start a craft project
14. Go to a yard sale, flea market or estate sale
15. Surf the Internet for vacation ideas.
16. Looking for old-school games on the Internet. My daughter Googled "marbles" and found a lot of marble games. She and a friend printed out the instructions and played marbles.
17. Watch Disney.com. Also try crayola.com, and familyfun.com
18. Free movie camps. I've written about this in the past (last June) and here is the link to my story. Basically, many of the major movie chains have free movie mornings for families.
19. Create a "summer buddy program." My daughter called around looking for play dates and friends to share in new activities.
20. Co-worker program. I gave my daughter an assignment to interview my parents about how they paid for college expenses. It was a win-win-win. I really needed the information; she pretended to be a reporter and the grandparents were happy to chat with her. (She enjoyed herself also).
21. Rent videos from the library. The children's selection of our local library is great.
22. Start a parent-child summer book club. I am reading the same book as my 12-year-old son. We've had some insightful short chats and I will take him out for pizza and we'll really discuss the book in depth.
23. Find them a job. For one afternoon, my daughter worked as a mother's helper for a friend who had an active toddler. My friend was able to finish a project and my daughter had an afternoon of fun while playing with a toddler. She also earned a few dollars.
24.Make a list of summer activities. "Wow, I have done a lot," my daughter said as we worked on this list together.
25. Get ice cream: It's free; it's cheap. It's cool.
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