1. Ice cream man substitute. I have to credit my mother for this one. We lived in a modest part of town with lots of children when I was young. We played outside daily. Even though it was hard to hear my mother’s cries to come in while riding on our bikes, we had a keen hearing when the ice cream man visited our neighborhood. Whenever the ice cream man came, we would run in house to alert my mom, and she would quickly run to the freezer to pull out our special popsicles. This way, she saved money without having to tell us no.
2. Take a trip to library. Our local libraries hold a themed book reading program each year. After a certain amount of books, the young reader gets a prize related to that theme. I would take my daughters and nephews every other week; we would visit different libraries to change up the routine. This kept the girls reading though the summer. I would hole punch their library card to a string and let them wear it as a necklace while we were there, and have them use their own cards to check out. To keep track of the books through the week, I’d have a big wicker basket in the kitchen to hold all books unless they were being read, and the cards were hung on the bulletin board.
3. Garage sale divas. Each Saturday during garage sale season I would load up the girls in the car, with toys and snacks and head to the neighborhood garage sales. To make it fun for the girls I would give them each one dollar to spend however they wished. This taught them the power of cash. I saw them negotiate (with my assistance) with the seller, and showed them how to look for items that were worth purchasing. I would have the final say so on items. (Look for future post on garage sale treasures).
4. Treasure hunts. Each week I had to do various errands. One day when my list was long, I loaded the kids up (this day I had my 2 nephews) and I announced that at each stop we would find something free to remember the stop. The banks were easy: one gave out suckers, and one gave out free popcorn if you came inside. They picked dandelions and rocks out front of the dry cleaners and brochures from one of the stores. What I didn’t expect was that the children came back home and made treasure boxes(out of shoe boxes) to keep everything in.
5. Water fun. I love the water, and so do my girls, but spending the day supervising them at the local water park or pool was very rare. When the days here got really hot I would take all my pots and pans fill them with water and let them play on the back porch. This was a big hit. Nowadays my granddaughter gets to visit the local park’s splash pads, she loves it. My daughter takes her when the park isn’t busy so that she can play too.
What does your child like to do for fun? Can you find a new, free way to add to the fun this summer?