So, I want to talk about something serious today. Summer Break. I don't know about you, but I am only 2 weeks in and I'm already being driven fecken nuts by my kids. I'm ready for school to be in session again. I am not quite sure I can handle the annoying wails of "I'm bored" or the constant eating because they're at home for much longer before I snap. It's exhausting being the tiny human's snack bitch, and having to listen to Drama Queen sing Katy Perry in his horribly awful, high pitched singing voice that sounds like he's gonna cry. They want something to do every single day, some place to go that isn't at home, and they want all their friends to come with them.
Summer time can be horrible because it can be boring and expensive for the parent. If you're one cheap mother like me, you're always looking for cheap ways to entertain the kids so that you don't have to listen to their whining every 30 seconds. Luckily, there is plenty out there to do that will keep them busy. Here are some ideas to check in your local area.
Movies in the Park- Check out your local parks and rec to see if they offer anything like this. Throughout the entire summer in Portland Metro Area, where I live, you can go catch a free movie in the park at dusk most any night of the week. They are always different movies, and different parks so be sure to check the schedule if you offer something like this.
Playgrounds and Free Lunch in the Park- There are many families in my area whose kids might not get lunch if they didn't get free or reduced lunch while at school. Because so many families in the area are low-income, many playground parks all over the city offer free lunches in the park. There's no shame in needing to pick one up, and you can even have some fun with it by eating picnic style with the kids then playing in the playground. Some even offer organized sports and crafts for the kids. Check your local parks and rec schedules to find out if your city does something like this. The school should also have information on places that participate as well.
Open Swim- There aren't many public pools in my area, but those that do exist offer open swim times at various locations. The fun part I like most about the open swim in my area is that it's an outdoor pool. So the kids get some sunshine while swimming around. There are a couple of times during the summer that they even offer a movie in the pool. If you can't afford for the whole fam to go swimming in the public pool, then check out the local splash pads in your area. These are cool water features in parks and other public places that have a water feature that you can run and play in.
Summer Movie Express- The Summer Movie Express is put on my Regal Cinemas and has various family friendly movies that play during the week for a $1. It's a perfect way to still take the kids to do something fun when it's too hot outside to be out. While the movies might be a bit older, it's always more fun to watch them on the big screen.
Cheap dates with the kids- In my city, most of the big attractions like the zoo, Chinese Gardens, science museum, and the children's museum all offer a discount day once a month where you can go and take the kids to said attractions for a fraction of the price. Our library also offers a cultural pass that allows a family of 5 a day use of a pass to one of our areas attractions for a free entrance.
River/ Beach trips- Most of the time, kids don't really care if you take them to the beach, river, a pond, or even throw them in the bathtub in their swim wear, they just want to be in the water during the summer. This is a relatively cheap day activity that gets everyone outside to soak up some vitamin D.
Park trips- The park is a public space. Most all of them are free. It's great exercise for the kids, some times it's comical for you, or you get a much needed mom break while your children run around like feral animals. This gem of a playground we found on our walk back home after lighting fireworks off in the church parking lot by our house. It has a 3 person teeter-totter, cool slides, and of course, swings.
Depending on your area there might be even more events and things to do that you can do on the cheap that will entertain the kids all summer long. When you're planning activities, it is really important to consider your weather and if it's appropriate to allow the kids outside during the full heat of the day as it can often be too hot for little people to tolerate without some heat exhaustion.