Summer is here! While children look forward to being out of school, parents are left grasping for ways to keep their children occupied. Summer activity expenses can quickly add up but there are plenty of free or inexpensive ways to keep your child engaged throughout the summer.
Visit your local library. Have fun, in air conditioning, with great books, programs, and resources. The library is a great place for your child to develop new skills and ideas. Over the summer, library youth services offer programs that entertain and educate local youth. Over the summer, Extension Services partners with the library system and offers classes. Classes offered by Extension include Star Wars Science, Livestock 101, and Bees Are the buzz.
Hike at local parks. Trout Lake Nature Center, Hidden Waters Preserve, and PEAR park are a few local and free parks you can visit. Since it is hot during the summer it is recommended that you go early morning or late afternoon, wear sunscreen, and drink lots of water. These sites do provide a good bit of shade and are great place for experiencing nature and enjoying time as a family.
Practice healthy lifestyles. Turn on YouTube and let your kids watch Kid Yoga tutorials. After yoga, make a well-deserved smoothie and garden veggie pizza. When making smoothies with your kids, set out a variety of fruits and vegetables for your kids to use. I have found that when youth who are adverse to eating vegetables will drink a smoothie if they select their own ingredients. The garden veggie pizza is similar, set out a variety of veggies and let the kids create their own pizza. This lets the children pick their food and learn basic cooking skills. To make cooking together even better, enjoy the food as a family with a picnic.
Play board games. Playing board games helps teach youth necessary social skills such as taking turns, decision making, collaboration, and being a good sport. Board games are also a lot of fun and there is research to support the positive power of play. Play teaches kids to use imagination, be fair, and solve big problems. The best part about playing board games together as a family is that it creates family bonds and lifelong memories.