This is one of many different ways we get rid of the stir crazy boys. I hope this suggestion helps a lot. We save lots of money by doing it and they also get a learning experience as well.
By auntielala12000 from Pekin, IL
By myhomemadedolly from Groton, NY
Three of my little cousins started doing this one summer when we all spent two weeks together in the mountains, and they are still doing it every season for the last three years.
By McCollonough from TN
Summer brings mixed feelings. Usually the first week is fun, but after a few days we hear the familiar refrain, "Mom, I'm bored, what can I do?"
Some mothers can stay at home with their children but some have to go to their jobs while the kids are out of school. You might consider having a teenager or mother in your neighborhood watch your children during the summer rather than the day care center. If you have a reliable teenager or neighbor nearby, you may save some money on daycare and let your children enjoy being home.
I'm sure many of you have lots of good ideas how to keep kids busy and learning during the summer. Submit them below or use the Contact Us Link to the left and we'll add them for you.
Here's a site with fun activities, online games for kids ages 5-14. The site originates in Australia. There is a place for your child to write their own story and post it online plus there are spelling, math, reading and writing activities. There are also activities for kids with ADHD and learning disabilities.
This site includes coloring books and science experiments plus lots of fun information about animals and places around the world.
What are your favorite activities to keep the kids busy and learning in the summer?
By Susan Sanders-Kinzel
Last year, we discovered that my upcoming first grader would be studying George Washington and the Revolutionary War. Over that summer, we checked out books and age appropriate videotapes on our first President. We also visited a historical home in Maryland which conducted Revolutionary War reenacting and participated in hands-on activities such as firing a musket and starting a fire using flint and steel. He got to see first hand the types of tents and clothes and conditions our nation's patriots fought under.
Matching the curriculum to museum exhibits and community activities is a fun and easy way to incorporate learning during the long summer months.
Many school districts post their curriculum by grade on their website. I've also asked the principal to allow us to borrow next year's textbook which also helps in planning activities.
By Pearl from Gaithersburg, MD
I can't guarantee that your family will enjoy all of these activities, but there's sure to be something here to please just about everyone.
Next time you think that you can't afford to have fun with your family, get out your creativity and this list and plan a fantastically frugal family adventure.
By Lori Enos
What is a good schedule for a mother with 2 kids starting with the morning time. I feel so tired and clueless on what I have to do when I wake up and throughout the day. What can I do to keep my kids busy and entertained? What is a good schedule to keep busy? My son is 9 years old and my daughter is 7 weeks old.
Michelle from EL Paso, TX
What can my grandson do to beat boredom this summer? He is 11 and is driving me crazy! I keep him in the daytime while his parents work. I won't let him play on the computer and he's tired of his Playstation games. (I refuse to buy him any more). Does anyone have any ideas? There aren't many kids his age that live close by for him to play with. Any ideas?
Linda from Alabama
If he can use the computer try introducing him to RuneScape (SP). My boys are 8 and 11 and they love it. It is an interactive mid-evil type game. They play with others on the internet. They have to hunt, fish and keep track of their money. It is a fun game and teaches them a little. Not a total brain dead game. It does cost about 10 a month to play but it is well worth it. I do kick the boys outside to play hockey and basketball and give them time to play on the computer also.
My kids have no schedule. None. During the school year they did, but I have been EXTREMELY lax since the summer began. I need advice on making a schedule for them for the rest of the summer. They are 9 (going to 4th grade) and 7 (going to 2nd grade).
During the school year, they got up at 7:30, did their morning routine and rode the bus to school. After school, it was homework, dinner, showers, stories/snack, a little t.v. and then bed at 9. Mondays, once a month, were scout pack meetings and every week on thursday were scout den meetings. That has also let out for the summer and picks back up in September.
Right now, this is pretty much their (our) schedule. They get up whenever they feel like it, usually around 9 or 10. They eat/get dressed, then we leave to pick up my mom and go to the gym. After that we hang out at my sister's for a while or at my mom's. Then we come home in time for my hubby, around 3:30.
I make dinner while they play around the neighborhood with the other kids. I call them in for dinner when it's ready. (we use walkie talkies, lol) They eat dinner then go back outside to play until around 9:30, when they come in and take a shower, watch tv and hit the bed, with a movie in their room.
They don't read, they don't do the expensive computer games and workbooks we bought from school to help them prepare for school. I just don't know what kind of schedule to have or where to start. Can someone help me?
My eight year old son is in a book club that meets on Tuesday mornings and has a tutoring session on Thursday mornings for one hour but other than that he doesn't have a schedule. I have seen behavior changes in him if he watches too much tv (ie cartoons) so we limit his tv watching by using tv tickets. He gets 14 tickets for the week and each ticket is worth 1/2 hour of tv or 50 cents to be turned back into me. So, he could earn $7 for the week to spend or save up for what he wants. Most of the time he gets $4 or $5 for the week but he has to be inovative with his day, thus less problems. If you are wanting to start some type of schedule with them I would recommend that they go to bed earlier in the evening, wake up earlier and start the day with school review, just to keep their skills up. (07/20/2005)
During the first summer of being 'step-mom' I used a rigid schedule...I worked from home and they had been spoiled by grandma so much that they were unruly...they also had issues with too many video games changing their behavior, so I limited it to 30 minutes during school days and 1 hour during the summer.
They woke up and had breakfast at 8 and then got ready for the day, played outside, and then I had them do worksheets till lunch time. The worksheets I printed from online and they were grade appropriate for the coming year. I helped them minimally, but it was better to have them quietly ask me questions than the run around the house being noisy while I tried to concentrate (we had a very small house).
Then lunch, then they would watch some TV and play video games and then do chores. By that time I was done working and I would have them play outside or in their rooms while I made dinner...and occasionally they would help with dinner. The following year, the kids excelled at school and our 8 year old already knew all his times tables for 3rd grade before it even started. He aced his SOL's.
Now that we have moved to a bigger house, the kids are more in control, and there is more space for them to roam...they are used to playing more without video games and TV as a crutch, so I have been more relaxed but I did get them in a day camp for a week, took them to VBS at church for a week, they took swimming lessons one week, and they have been going to the library twice a week with their grandma and to the pool once a week, so she still gets to spend time with them. They also have free movies on Tuesday mornings at our local theater for kids, so she will at times take them there. That way they get out of the house and have fun, but also learn and behave.
The house is a lot more peaceful but if you're not a home-worker, all the time they spend with you is doing them good regardless. It's less time they have outside influences, and more time they learn the value of family, if they just do some workbook activities for an hour each day and maybe computer instead of TV at night, they will learn and enjoy it (kids actually thrive in structure and discipline - our 6 year old asked me for a summer schedule!) and they will definitely be leaps ahead of the other school kids the coming year...
Hope this helps! (08/06/2007)
I am a retired teacher and always used to say that we should float a bond referendum for teacher pay raises the second week of August! Parents who are not accustomed having the children at home all day have to adjust their schedules in order to fit in the needs of their youngsters. Below are some suggestions one might consider:
Vacation Bible Schools - All children are welcomed at these, not just church members. If you are taking your children, round up some of their playmates to join them. (You'll make some Mom's day!)
Morning Movies for Kids - Our local theater has a kids program at 10:00 a.m. during the summer. Because of the popularity of this program, they are now offering it several times a week. The admission is very little and they have a great concessions special.
Visit Your Local Library - Kids can be entertained for hours in the quiet air-conditioned venue offered by the library. See if yours has a special craft/story time program which your children might enjoy. If you don't have a computer at home, take them to the library. It's free and they'll know how to operate them.
Take a Field Trip to a Nearby Park - There are many beautiful public parks that offer more than just playground equipment. Often there are nature trails with the plants/trees identified, ducks to feed (take your stale bread and leftover popcorn), places for a picnic and all for free. Many state parks have rangers there to present free informative stories about the site.
Set Aside a Quiet Time Each Afternoon - Encourage them to read or rest during this time; no TV and only quiet music. Post a chart with numbered lines on it in an easily accessible place. Make a chart for each child and have them record the names of the books they read. Have them give an oral report to you and their siblings.
For younger children you can make a bookworm by cutting out colorful body segments and adding the name of each book as they read it. They love to see it grow. For your non-readers, make them one with the books they have sat and listened to you read to them. Your children will be much better prepared to start school again in the fall if you continue this practice through the summer. You could also work out some kind of point system for a more tangible reward if you choose.
Swimming Outings - Most children love to splash in the water. Have them run through the sprinkler when you're watering your garden or lawn. For even more fun, join them for a walk in the rain (not a thunderstorm, of course) with flip flops, clothing that it's okay to get wet, and no umbrella. They'll love to see you showing your kid side and you'll have some good laughs together.
Farmer's Market or Pick-It-Yourself Farm - If possible, plant some easy to grow vegetables in your yard or in containers on the deck or patio. Potatoes are a good choice because they require little, if any, attention and digging them is like a treasure hunt. If you don't want to plant your own garden, take them to a farm where they will be allowed to pick what they will be having for dinner.
Plan a Scavenger Hunt - Adjust the clues to suit the age of each child. Invite some friends over for even more fun.
Find Other Parents Whom You Trust and Do an Exchange - That way you'll each have a day off to catch up on whatever you choose to spend it doing.
Enjoy these days because you'll miss them when those little ones are grow and no longer need your suggestions for entertainment.
Source: Years of experience as a camp counselor, teacher, a stay-at-home mother and the "Mommy who likes to." (A title given to me by my son when he was in grade school. After a couple of exhausting weeks of grade-parenting, supervising their friends who came to swim or play, transporting many whose parents couldn't, baking cookies for school parties, etc., I slipped and said something I wished I hadn't the minute it slipped out of my mouth. "Why am I always the one who...? My son replied, "Because you're the mommy who likes to." That makes it all worth it.
By Sandy from Elon, NC
Editor's Note: Do you have a favorite frugal way to occupy your children in the summertime? Share it with us here.