The Public Library and Book Stores
What a treasure the public library is! Not only can you borrow books all summer long, they have extra activities scheduled for many age ranges over the summer months. They have reading clubs that offer prize incentives to get kids to read more. The library represents a change of pace. It’s quiet (mostly), relaxing, and gives a break from TV & electronics.
Museums & Zoos
In our area, the museums have a free and/or discount day each week. Call your local museums to see if they have the same thing. Our Zoo doesn’t have a free day, but they do have a membership you can buy for a year, that will allow you to make unlimited visits for one flat rate. In many cases, you only need to visit 3 or 4 times to start getting “free" visits. Some museums do this as well.
Vacation Bible Schools, Summer Bible Clubs, Kids Camps, Day Camps, etc. Your local churches will be looking for ways to help you keep your children from getting bored this summer. This is a cross denominational phenomenon. Many of these programs are free to the public. Check out your local Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, Lutheran, etc church. You’ll probably meet your neighbors there & your kids will most likely see friends from school.
Don’t Be Afraid to Schedule
Be purposeful about your time with your kids. Don’t be afraid to have a plan of activities & stick with it. Do certain things on certain days: Monday is Museum Day, Tuesday is Pool Day, Wednesday is No Electronics Day, where you read, play games, go to the library. You get the idea. I find my children really enjoy having an idea of what to expect.
Set reasonable bedtime and get up times for the summer. Don’t let them stay up until very late at night. We add an extra hour on to their school bedtime as a general guideline. There are, of course, exceptions for special occasions or just for fun. It is summer after all!
Expect them to help you more around the house. They’re out of school give them some criteria for home behavior. Ask the kids to make a sweep of the house every night and pick up all the cups, plates, snack wrappers, socks, shoes, and the like that have accumulated during the day & put them where they belong. Trash to the trashcan, dirty dishes to the sink, laundry to the hamper. It really helps peace of mind & you'll be much less apt to get frustrated.
I really hope these ideas help spark some creative ideas of your very own. Go enjoy those kids! They’ll be gone before we know it.