Summer isn’t even officially here yet and parents everywhere are already starting to wonder how they’ll keep their kids entertained until school starts back. Here are some free or low-cost ways you can use again and again to keep the little ones occupied (and you sane) until Labor Day.
Go to the Pool
Pools and summertime go hand in hand, right? You don’t need your own pool in the backyard to beat the heat. Just grab your towels and sunscreen and head to the neighborhood pool. Even if you don’t have a pool in your own neighborhood, there are local pools that will offer memberships or day-passes. The kids can be entertained for hours and it’s usually very affordable. Plus, there are always other families around for you and your kids to meet and play with. This could lead to more play dates in the future!
Enroll in Local Classes and Camps
Not all summer camps are expensive sleep-away camp! There are lots of kids’ recreational centers, clubs, churches, schools and local and national organizations that offer low-cost ways to get your kids out of the house in the summertime. Check your local YMCA, your city or school district’s website, or local moms’ blogs for lists of ideas. Even if it’s just one week at a time, it’s a great way to break up the monotony of those long, summer days.
Put Them to Work
There are plenty of things for kids to do around the house to help out, no matter their ages! Even kids as young as 3 or 4 can help organize toys, put away non-breakable dishes, and pick up the house. Household chores and projects, like painting a room, can simultaneously entertain kids and help you cross things off your to-do list. Plus, it helps with self-confidence because they learn something new. Win-win, right?
Have a Treasure Hunt
Whether you plan this one out yourself with little clues hidden throughout your home, neighborhood or town or simply invest in a metal detector and let them see what they can find in the backyard, kids love treasure hunts! Not sure where to start? There are loads of pre-written clues on Pinterest!
Let’s face it- not every summer day is going to be beautiful and sunny and allow your kids to play outside. Organize a movie day complete with a theme (Toy Story marathon, anyone?) and lots of snacks. There are endless free or low-cost movies available via Netflix and Amazon Prime. Take it a step further and invite a few friends over and turn your living room into a movie-watching fort full of blankets and pillows.
Even if you only venture out to your backyard, camping is a fun way to get your kids outside and exploring nature. Grab a tent and some sleeping bags and set up shop. If the law allows and there are adults around, build a campfire to roast hot dogs and smores and tell some ghost stories. Another perk of backyard camping? You can sleep inside in your cozy bed if you prefer!
Invite the neighborhood kids over for a slew of backyard games. Water balloon fights, hula-hoop competitions, bubble blowing, obstacle courses, sprinkler races, soccer, volleyball, baseball… the options are endless! Reward them with a round of popsicles, frozen fruit or some dollar-store toys.
Take a Day Trip
Even if you can’t splurge on an overnight getaway, there are plenty of places to getaway for the day. Hit up the beach in Galveston, spend the day exploring Houston or go fishing or visit the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur.