It’s not too late to plan an amazing summer for you and your kids! In previous years my kids have enjoyed half day camps at the natural history museum and a local theater but this summer, since I’m not working, we really can’t justify it. I did sign them up for swimming lessons because my Cape Cod mer-children would revolt without them (plus my mom generously offered to pay) but no camps. Even without summer camps I am confident my kids will have the best summer yet and so will I since I have the time to enjoy it with them!
In this post I will share some of the ways I am planning the most amazing enriching summer for us on a budget.
Check with your local library for free classes and workshops. There are several activities going on daily at libraries within driving distance to us. But plan ahead! Get calendars from your local libraries. While they are free, many activities require preregistration. I signed my kids and my nephew up for several craft and science activities. Once you are signed up, mark your calendar so you don’t forget and if at the last minute you can’t make it, call so they can fill the spot. Some library activities are popular and there might be a waiting list. And if you attend at least one a week you can use the trip to exchange books as well!
In Massachusetts many museums and cultural venues participate in the Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fridays. You can find the list on their website. It includes live links to the different venues so you can easily research things close by and of interest. I went through the whole list and put something on the calendar for every Friday! Will these days be crowed? You bet! So plan to get there when they open and you will be finishing up as the real crowded arrive. Check with your library to see if there is a similar program in your area. If there is a museum not on the list you have been wanting to visit, many libraries also have free or discount passes available. Fair warning though, at our library they are very popular therefore you have to reserve them ahead of time and have significant late fees!
Plan some nature walks. Explore your neighborhood or research walking trails nearby. Go early or late in the day when the sun is not as strong. Off season we can explore any beach we want on Cape Cod but not in the summer. We can buy a sticker for our town but must pay like everyone else for other beaches. And not to sound spoiled but yes, you can get sick of the same beach! So I will let you in on a local’s little secret. If you drive into the parking lot of most beaches around 4:30pm they will usually just wave you by. And the beach is way better at this time anyway! The crowds have died down and the sun is less brutal. So make up a picnic dinner and head out late to the beach!
To really make all these activities count, why not have your kids keep a summer journal. I think this helps build strong memories and reinforce things they learned. After each activity I remind my kids to record it in their journal. They are using composition notebooks I had stashed away that I got at Staples for a dollar each. My goal is to not make it seem like a chore so it is their choice how much work they want to put into it. My daughter enjoys writing but my son needs a little more guidance and a simple drawing and a few words are fine.
I also want to mention that in our community there are several locations where free lunch is offered for kids through the USDA. This could be a great way to just get out of the house, socialize, and get your kids full bellies. Learn more about it and check for locations in your area here.
Besides transportation I have spent just two dollars so far. Not bad! Have a great and enriching summer everyone!