Summer is upon us and it brings with it the summer vacations that are associated with school going children. Mothers now have to scramble to come up with innovative ideas and summer activities for children and it is no surprise if you have already exhausted your idea bank.
How do you go about making sure that the summer months are fun and interesting instead of boring? And how do you do this with budget restraints? Well, there are a number of things that you can plan for this summer that can help you in handling child behavior, and here is a list of some ideas.
Planning small vacations
Instead of taking a long vacation during the summer, try and break it into smaller parts that are also more affordable. Ideas for these include planning day long activities at amusement parks, museums, zoos, local festivals, etc.
When you take small vacations your child has more things to do than he would at a single event.
In order to look for ideas you can go to your computer and do a search for upcoming events and activities close by. You can then work on identifying some good deals. You can also discuss your plans with friends and coworkers and ask them for ideas about any places or ongoing discounts that they might know of.
I remember an instance when our local library offered free passes to the art museum which I used along with my kids. We ended up saving around $40 that we would otherwise have to pay as entrance fees. Plus my kids had a blast.
If you intend to venture into another state, going through the state’s ‘visitor bureau website’ and looking for coupons is always a good idea. For example, on a trip that we planned to Cedar Point, Ohio, I asked the visitor’s bureau to send me a packet of information. Along with this packet of information they also sent me discount coupons for the amusement park which resulted in a total savings of over $30.
Keeping tour Stock Levels Full
Once the summer is upon us, you will need to stock up on the essentials that your children need around the home. With your children spending more time at home, you will continually have to come up with different ideas to get them to eat.
Keeping your fridge stocked up with fruits, vegetables, bread, meat, cheese, etc. is a good idea. This will enable you to make different types of sandwiches and you can thereby avoid spending money on fast food. Besides, having foodstuff readily available would also encourage your children to make snacks for themselves when they’re hungry.
Kids, as well as most parents, love backyard BBQs. Now is the time to have them! Have a nice day with only the family or let each child invite a friend or two. Invite some friends over yourself.
Eating outside every once in a while is a great way to break the monotony and you also get to save on cleaning after eating. Eating in the backyard or the patio can be great fun, and if you have outdoor plastic furniture, it is fairly easy to clean as well.
Plastic mats can also be used to add a certain ‘picnic’ touch, and all this requires in the form of cleaning is a quick shake and pat.
A small lunchbox cooler can be a good investment to take along on your day trips. Taking it along with you enables you to take the whole day’s supply of food with you. Taking this along will not only help you save money, but you would also ensure that the food that your family is eating is healthy. You can also use the cooler while you shop for meat and ice cream.
Other Good Buys:
Another thing that you can think about buying is a seat organizer for your car that would allow you to keep things such as toys, books, maps, wet wipes, diapers, etc. in an organized manner. If you are planning a trip to the beach, you can also pack your towel into this.
Kiddy pools and sand boxes are also great ideas especially if you have young children. Children can spend many hours playing in these and the investment is considerably small compared to the enjoyment these will provide to your children. These two things are great summer activities for children under the age of four.
If a member of your family is planning on buying your child a gift, you could suggest that they buy one of these things, and this would save you some money. This could be in the form of a birthday present, a congratulatory present, etc. You could also set aside the money that you receive on your anniversary and birthday to spend on things such as these.
It is important that you remember to have an assortment of toys that your children can use to play outdoors. Visiting places like the Dollar Store can often yield good results, and you can find economical things such as sandbox toys and tools, water and bubble guns, sidewalk chalk, etc. with ease.
Rainy days can often play spoilsport for parents and children alike. These days can definitely bring about undesirable child behavior.
A good idea to keep your children occupied during these periods is to keep a good stock of craft supplies at home. The internet is a good source for free printable coloring worksheets. Things such as play dough, paper, crayons, puzzles, etc, are also good economical ways to keep your children engrossed on days when the weather plays truant.
If your child likes to play in the mud and you do not mind the mess, why not let him go out in the yard and make mud pies or mud soup. Better yet, if you want to have a day that your kid will remember, get out there with him and feel the mud between your toes… have some fun. Have a few towels ready next to the door for when you come back in.
Also remember that your local library can be used as a great resource to make summer plans for your family. While the library is a great option to utilize on the rainy days, you can also ask the librarian if there are any special activities or reading sessions that are planned for the summer.
I remember coming across a great reading program offered by our library in conjunction with a leading fast food brand wherein the stars that we got for achieving our reading goals could be redeemed for discounts at any of the chain’s restaurants. This ended up motivating a number of children to hone up on their reading skills.
Setting goals pertaining to your child’s reading habits during the summer is a great idea. In doing so, getting your child’s teacher’s suggestions is recommended, as this would help them prepare for the next grade in advance.
If your child has not started reading yet, you can always make use of this time to start reading out to them. You should realize that the power that literature has over our mind, as well the help it provides in speech development is truly amazing.
Over Scheduling is a Bad Idea
There are parents who tend to go over the top by organizing way too many activities and classes for their children. Kids often end up remembering things such as just running around the park and having fun, having ice cream on a really hot day, etc. as opposed to activities that parents end up spending money on.
It is very important that you allow your children to be children. Children end up remembering these small outings that you take them on, and these often have more impact on them than spending four weeks in a summer camp would.
You should bear in mind that this is supposed to be ‘their’ summer vacation. Also, since you would not enjoy a choc-a-block schedule for your vacation, neither would your child. You should ensure that you leave some time for your child to simply unwind and relax. This has to be kept in mind when you intend to sign them up for different summer activities.
Getting your child to pick a couple of activities he might be interested is also a good idea.
Summer activities for children should be fun and relaxing. Keeping the right amount of excitement and relaxation will keep your child’s behavior calm and manageable through the summer months.
Keep Track Of Memories
The most important part of the summer vacation is that you make the most of it. Irrespective of whether days are spent lazing by the kiddy pool in the backyard, or days filled with activities, try and make the next summer vacation memorable for your children.
Keeping a memory book and updating it regularly with the things that you do as a family is great. These memories can include your child making his first sand castle, eating his first hot dog, crawling around in the sandbox, and anything else.
If you do not have pictures to go with your memories, you can simply fill your memory book up with text; and sometime in the future you and your children can reminisce about the good old summer days that have gone by.