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My husband and I have to work out entertainment on a very tight budget. I have two little boys, age 5 and 3. When my boys get the stir crazies, we take a walk to the closest park in the neighborhood. On the way, we use it as a learning experience. We look for special shapes, colors, textures, etc. There are endless possibilities to this game that we play on the way to the park. We play for a while and then we walk a different route home.
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
Every year before the last day of school, I obtain a copy of the coming year curriculum. I evaluate it and note any summer activities that will help my kids gain a healthy headstart.
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
Research shows many kids "slide" up to 30% during the summer months. Don't let that happen to you.
If your kids are wanting something fun to do this summer, have them start their own paper. They can interview the neighbors that they know, and write stories about their own life.
To keep kids entertained, look for free events. Sometimes programs offer 1 free class with no obligation. Gymboree, Little Gym, and Stroller Strides do this. Additionally, some churches have open play times for a minimal fee.
Get free movies to watch from local library. This is especially great for kids over the summer. Make one day a week a movie day.
Family activities don't have to be elaborate or costly to be enjoyable. Often the simplest activities are the ones kids enjoy the most. We've taken our kids to Walt Disney World and a host of other extravagant vacations, but the things they seem to enjoy the most are going on picnics and having family game night.
Kids get bored during the summer and taking them places can get expensive. Try doing a craft project once a week. Something easy and cheap.
Are you looking for a way to have fun with your kids right at home? Then consider having a jungle day in the backyard. There are many things that can be done in the backyard to turn it into a pretend jungle.
Water balloon fights are always a big hit at summer kids parties, but the burst balloons all over the ground are a hazard to wildlife and curious toddlers. Encourage kids to clean up by offering a prize for the one who picks up the most bits of rubber balloon.
In the summer the kids need things to do for fun and learning. It's a good time to broaden their education, especially outdoors. Here are some links of sites with indoor and outdoor activities for children.
During summer vacation kids need to rest, as well as, keep busy. So many parents are concerned about making their kids have a productive summer that they forget that summer is also a time to sit back and relax.
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?"
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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
Not sure if your area has a "freecycler" (yahoo board) but something WONDERFUL I found was someone giving away an old grass motor that didnt work. My son loves tools and seeing how things work....one of the best things I ever did was get him that grass mower and allow him a shady spot to take this apart and then put it back together.
Old clothes is a MUST!!!! But it kept him busy and happy for a few weeks....taking it apart was easy....figuring how to get it back was another story...lol
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.
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 are fun cheap activities to do to keep kids busy throughout the day during summer time and when school starts? Also what is a good choir schedule for a 9 year old boy?
Remember, do school stuff too!
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Keeping your school age children happy, physically active, and learning during the summer.
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.
It sounds like they are having a good summer! Summer is meant to be relaxed and memorable. Are they having behavior problems? Did their teachers recommend extra schooling or computer games to get them ready for the next school year?
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)
Our schedule is similar but every morning Mon_ Fri she does some school work. Not lots just a few pages of Math & reading or language. She knows no TV or out until it is done. We start in August coming in a little earlier & getting to bed. Every week a half an hour earlier.(07/20/2005)
I agree, let them kickback. My only advice is once a week, visit library. Do something constructive and also not to let them get in the habit of sleeping in and in and in...my grand daughter is allowed to sleep until 11-12 everyday and I HATE IT, I feel it breeds a lax and lazy habit with no initiative! As they get older you can add structured activities, swim team, tennis, rec-board activities to keep the initiative going! (07/20/2005)
Lucky children! Summer should be a no-routine time. They are building memories that will bring them enjoyment for the rest of their routine-driven lives. (07/21/2005)
Summer is for fun. You should be thrilled that are they are playing outside instead of being glued to the computer. Kids NEED to play! (06/06/2006)
I like the idea of TV Tickets. I may try using that! I am the evil step mom that stopped them from watching countless of hours of tv every day and limited them to one hour....TV Tickets makes it more of a fun game for them, while also teaching responsibility.
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)