It’s that time of the year again: the lilacs are blooming, bees are buzzing and parents of school age children are wondering “What are we going to do to keep the kids busy all summer?” The first few weeks usually take care of themselves while the kids are decompressing from school and are content to eat, sleep and play video games. Eventually you will hear those words that every parent dreads, “I’m bored.” Don’t be caught unprepared when it comes; if they pick up the scent of parental befuddlement they become relentlessly bored.
Most kids, once they learn how, love to swim. Buy them a season pass at the city pool.
If there is a theme park near you ask if they offer seasonal passes.
Buy them a cheap package of squirt guns rather than water balloons. The guns will get dropped and stepped on and break but are easier to pick up at the end of the day than a hundred bits of balloon pieces.
Most public libraries offer free reading programs with incentives and prizes.
The YMCA has offered wonderful, wholesome programs for years, as have the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the 4-H.
Take them to the local roller skating rink. Kids will skate for hours at a time.
Tour a public garden.
Watch for when the circus comes around.
Summer camp is another option. The American Camp Association is a great resource to learn what camp is and where to find them in your area.
Senior care centers love to have children visit their residents, and the old folks like it, too. Call one close to you and ask about arrangements.
The local zoo and aquarium are always favorites. The purchase of a membership could get you free or reduced rates to over 160 zoos and aquariums across the country that participate in the reciprocity program. That can be a great money saver if you are planning on traveling with the kids this summer.
Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA are excellent programs for kids any time of the year.
Take them to your local museum. While they might roll their eyes at first, once there they almost always end up enjoying the experience.
Have a picnic at your local park and spend the rest of the day there. Pack a few outdoor toys for them and a good book for you.
If your town is large enough to have a parks department find out if they offer programs for children. Also check with your county and state park departments.
Take them on a long walk or bike ride along a trail, or a hike in the woods.
Check out Family Corner for craft ideas and projects.