By Victoria Cathey

School is out and children across the world are driving their parents crazy already because they are ‘bored’. Parents have either run out of ideas or run out of money and have resorted to letting their children watch TV or play video games most of the day. If that is the case, this article is perfect for you. Listed below are several activities to keep children of all ages busy without Mommy and Daddy going to the poor house.

1. Educational activities: to help children retain much of what they learned during the previous school year, they must exercise their brain with math, spelling and reading activities daily. Now, this will be met with much resistance, so I recommend doing this right after breakfast before they have a chance to turn on the TV.

Math: purchase an age appropriate workbook from Walmart or Target and have them complete 3 pages.
Spelling: grab a dictionary and have your child find three new words that they must use in a sentence and write out each word at least 5x.

Reading: have children read for at least 15 minutes and write a summary.

2. Go to the library: libraries are great resources for free activities, plays, story telling, and of course, books

3. Puzzles: purchase several jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzle books from the dollar store. Have your child spend some time each day putting them together or have a race when doing to crossword puzzles to see who the find all the words first.. Tip: have them pick out the puzzles

4. Educational computer games: try funbrain.com or do a search on Google for free online educational games

5. Visit the zoo: check to see if there are free/discounted days over the summer

6. Swimming: what kid does not like splashing in the water; visit your local park district and spend a day playing in the water

7. Slip and Slide: Every parent remembers having fun on this water toy. This outside activity can provide hours of fun for about $20

8. Bowling: AMF bowling is letting children bowl for free all summer. Go to kidsbowlfree.com for more information

9. Movie Day: Certain AMC theaters are showing movies every Wednesday for only $1. Go to amctheaters.com/smc or call your local movie theater and see if they are offering something similar.

10. Lemonade stand: this old classic is a great way to teach children the importance of hard work and money

11. Nature walk: Take a stroll through your nearest Forest Preserve. Tip: do this before naptime; the little ones will take a nice long nap afterwards

12. Circle or story time: play duck duck goose, or have the older children read books to the younger ones. Tip: have the younger children choose the books to read

13. Go to the museum: Bank of America offers free admission into several museums if you have a debit or credit card with them. Go to museums.bankofamerica.com/

14. Buy tons of coloring books and Play-doh: another old and messy classic that younger children will enjoy

Now that you have ample ideas on how to keep your children busy this summer, create a schedule. Schools and daycares are so effective because they are structured and children like structure. The schedule does not have to be minute by minute, always allow for flexibility. Sample schedules are listed below.

Movie Day
8am – 9am: breakfast
9am – 9:30am: clean up, get dressed and load up the car
9:30am – 12pm: movie time
12pm – 1pm: lunch time and clean up
1pm – 3:00pm: naptime or TV time (take a much needed break)
3pm – 3:30pm: snack time
3:30pm – 4:00pm – school work**
4:00pm – 4:30pm – puzzle, play-doh or coloring time**
4:30 – 6:00 – outside (free) play, but no TV or video games (use this time to prepare dinner)
6pm – clean up and get ready for dinner

Rainy Day
8am – 9am: breakfast
9am – 9:30am: school work**
9:30am – 11:30: visit the library
11:30 – 12pm: free play (prepare lunch)
12pm – 1pm: lunch time and clean up
1pm – 3:00pm: naptime or TV time (take a much needed break)
3pm – 3:30pm: snack time
3:30pm – 4:00pm – circle time or game time**
4:00pm – 4:30pm – puzzle, play-doh or coloring time**
4:30 – 6:00 – outside (free) play, but no TV or video games (use this time to prepare dinner)
6pm – clean up and get ready for dinner

Hot Summer Day
8am – 9am: breakfast
9am – 9:30am: school work**
9:30am – 12pm: water play (prepare lunch)
12pm – 1pm: lunch time and clean up
1pm – 3:00pm: naptime or TV time (take a much needed break)
3pm – 3:30pm: snack time
3:30pm – 4:00pm – circle time or game time**
4:00pm – 4:30pm – puzzle, play-doh or coloring time**
4:30 – 6:00 – outside (free) play, but no TV or video games (use this time to prepare dinner)
6pm – clean up and get ready for dinner
**Parent interaction is required

I hope this list of activities will help keep your children, save you money, and make this an enjoyable, stress-free summer!!

Hi my name is Vikki C and I think I was born to be frugal. As a wife and mother of four, I am always looking for easy, pragmatic ways to save time and money. My blog http://www.watchmesavemoney.com details my realistic methods of saving money on monthly bills, budgeting, and my family’s journey to financial freedom. See you on the inside!!

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