Sunday, June 13, 2010

ultimate playbook

graduation is over and summer has started. here is a list of free or almost free activities to keep your kids busy and happy during these short months. yes, they really do fly by!

1. sign up for your library's summer program. right now ours is offering {beach tuesdays}, you can lay out your blanket, have a snack, and read a book all while soaking in some good words. most local bookstores host story hours as well.

2. rock it out at the rec center. our community offers tons of activities for those balls of energy roaming your house and most are free or low-cost. anything from swimming to day camps, soccer, music, arts and crafts, etc. national recreation and park association website.

3. play at an indoor park. some days are just too hot to be outside yet, it is still nice to get away from home. smaland at IKEA offers up to 90 minutes of parent-free fun for little citizens. also consider the bowling alley{check out to register for a pass}, indoor waterparks {can be pricey but, if they are not too crowded they are well worth it}, indoor courts, or a bouncy world.

4. let's get physical. i am not talking you and your hubby, although.......for the kids, try building a backyard obstacle course complete with sprinkler water challenges, hula hoops, jump ropes.

5. organize a neighborhood game night. get the whole street involved and pick one house, one evening a week or month to converge at. try moms and sons versus dads and daughters and play games like softball, kickball, capture the flag.  go to for rules to lots of sports.

6. say thanks to your local heroes!! make sure they know you appreciate them by stopping by the fire station with some homebaked goodies and take a tour.  who knows, you might even get to sit in the driver's seat of the fire truck. woot! woot!

7. view a free movie on the big screen. lots of theaters offer a free family film festival each summer. check out or for details.

8. do the wave and take them out to a doesn't have to be under the dome or at wrigley field. check out the action in the minors or even little league. bring your pom-poms and root for the home team. our little league teams play right next to the park. you can bring a blanket and bag of popcorn and run between the game and the swings.

9. throw an unbirthday party. make it a big deal just like the real thing. send out invites and blow up the balloons. roast some hot dogs and make smores in the backyard while playing flashlight tag.

10. check out your local craft store to see if they offer classes. sometimes the library has these as well or a local art exhibit hall.

11. mix up some playdough you can find the recipe here. or try a bowl of oobleck....strange word for a strange substance....mix one cup water in a large mixing bowl with a few drops of food coloring and then slowly stir in two cups of cornstarch.

12. take a tour of your hometown. check out to information and trivia about your piece of the world.

113. step into history or the future or a kid's world by making it a museum day. for the first full weekend of every month some 120 museum's offer free admission if you show your bank of america card. visit for info. if you don't have a card check out the museum's website and look for family day discounts.

22. let's get cooking. take some time to look through a cookbook and come up with a menu that you can create together or if the kids are a little older by themselves. go shopping together, prep, and cook the meal, set the table in style complete with printed menus and enjoy! bon appetite!

23. volunteer....i wish i did more of this. will give you the scoop on plenty of ways to keep the kids busy and help you teach compassion and responsibility all while paying it forward and giving back to the community.

24. get hooked on fishing.

25. decorate the bikes and put the kids on the block on parade. parents line the sidewalk and appauld as they cruise up and down in their tricked out bikes. make it even more interesting by stashing watersquirters for the parents to help cool down those hot kids.

26. showcases everything from pony rides to farm tours in your state.

27. check out your favorite blogs and the internet for some great crafts. such as the crafty crow

28.  venture out into the wild. there are lots of acres of public lands for you to explore, hike through, swim in.  don't forget your bug spray and suncreen, binoculars and boots. also bring a notebook to draw and record some of the new species you discover.

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