I am all about spending quality time with family. Check back to my website (Sort~N~Save) periodically because I keep adding to the “Back to Basics”. Also, check out my article titled: “It’s the Journey” or “Be Quiet”.
- Take a picnic to a park that has ducks and geese. In fact, stop by the supermarket frozen food section on the way and get a bag of frozen corn. Ducks and geese LOVE corn in any form. Bring along your camera because you will definitely laugh at some of the things the ducks and geese do in order to get to the corn!
- When it is nice outside, let the kids make finger paint pictures. Put down a layer of old newspaper on a picnic table and then some paper that the kids can use to create their masterpieces. Remember the finger paints and also an old cloth that they can use when they are finished. I actually get in on the fun and make my own finger painted masterpiece.
- Get the kids into a summer reading program. Many reading programs at bookstores and libraries encourage kids from as young as 3 years of age to start reading. If you get young children interested in reading now, they will ALWAYS do much better in school. I still love to read because it is a form of escape from my day-to-day living when the going gets tough.
- Get the kids to draw a picture that shows something that they read in the book. They can then wrap their picture and use it as a gift for Mom or Dad on their birthday, Mother’s or Father’s day or Christmas gifts – a FREE gift that means a lot to the kids!
- Check out Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Program. They get a free book when they complete the program.
- Create a “treasure hunt” or “scavenger hunt” geared to their ages with 4, 5, or 6 items they need to find. If this is done in a park, go to a picnic table and let them tape or glue their treasures to a piece of paper and make a picture with their findings.
- It’s really important that their pictures be mounted somewhere so they can see that Mom and Dad are proud of what they did.
- Take pictures of them making their artwork and then holding the finished item.
- Take the family to a park or along a river or at the nature center, etc. for a “Letter of the Day” walk. There are countless FREE areas to walk.
- Get the kids REALLY involved by making them call out the names of the items they find that begin with the letter of that day’s walk.
- Sometimes, it is difficult to find items that begin with the letter of that day so let everyone get creative and use adjectives in front of the item they see so they can MAKE an item fit the letter of the day.
- Make a rule that an adjective can only be used one time. Not only does this make the walk more interesting but it helps everyone to learn what an adjective is.
- Make homemade individual pizzas. Dough is a breeze to make. Let everyone put what they want on their pizza. It is fun in the kitchen and everyone gets to eat their treasure.
- Pack a lunch and go to a local COMMUNITY zoo. Their entrance fees are always much cheaper than national zoos. Pack your lunch in an ice chest. If you are not permitted to take your lunch into the zoo, when you leave, toss a blanket on the ground somewhere or find a picnic table somewhere nearby and have a picnic lunch.
- Check out the museums in your area. Many have free entry days. If you have a Bank of America credit card, you can get free admission to museums.
- Many parks and river fronts offers a free concert series in the summer on one day of the week. Bring lawn chairs, a cooler, sun screen (it usually starts around 6-7pm) for a great, fun evening. We stop at Wawa and get subs or bring our dinner from home and just enjoy the music and company. Many community centers also offer free movie nights at the park.
- I regularly suggest to people is to “think of yourself as a visitor”. Go to Visitors’ Centers or Welcome Centers and pick up brochures they have. Ask the people that work at those places for suggestions that you can do for free or inexpensive – family events.
That should get you started. There are so many things that you can do as a family and have tons and tons of fun.
Use resources such as these to find places to visit that are near you:
- Entertainment Guide/Local Places to Visit
- Fun in the 50 States
- ONE Thing You Must Do in Each State
- Attractions of America
- US 50
- Things To Do
- Places Online
- Parents.com: 50 States: 50 Landmarks
Find places around your home that you and your family would like to do or to visit and then GO! You can find all sorts of free and inexpensive events by using search engines. Act like you are a visitor in your own area and take yourself and your family sightseeing. Below are some suggestions to get you started:
- Chamber of Commerce (this is the main site: choose your state for the Chambers of Commerce in your area)
- Events in Your Area
- Fairs and Festivals in Your Area
- http://_______.com (enter your state and most of the time, it brings up a plethora of things to do in your state)
- http://www.visit____.com (enter your state name or abbreviation)
- Life Hack: Things to do Around Home
- Natural History Museums
- Nature Centers throughout Canada
- Nature Centers throughout Europe
- Nature Centers throughout the United States
- Things To Do
- USA Travel and Tourism Sites
- USA Travel About.com
- Visitors Centers: you can get the Visitor Centers and Bureaus by Searing for: Visitor Center ____ (your state)
- Welcome Centers
- WiseBread: cheap things to do this weekend