By: Michaelene Koskela
It was 8 am: the first official day of summer vacation that consists of 55 weekdays and 11 weekends.
Filled with anticipation for the summer ahead, my hand cradles a favorite mug, legs extended comfortably, breathing in the morning sounds from our back porch. My coffee tepid but palatable, content with the thrill of not having to rush, my thoughts skim a list of items I hope to experience with our future 1st grader, who at last check was sound asleep and hopefully will stay sleeping well into the next hour. Periodically, the peace was interrupted with the rustle of squirrels dashing through leaves or a persistent blue jay getting the few remaining morsels from the feeder. Dare it be mentioned my eyes may have rested for a few moments as the sun cast its rays through the oak tree canopy.
My perfect moment was interrupted with the whir of the sliding glass door opening, a tousled haired, puffy eyed, p.j. clad, juice-stained-lip child dragging a blanket appears. The voice does not match the appearance.
“MOM, I AM BORED!”
The sweet 6-year-old continues in song of her boredom. She has been awake merely 10 minutes at best guess and yet already the most dreaded words have been uttered. What to do in these instances? Here are my summer go to fun things that keep the words from appearing, wears the children out so they sleep past 9 am and does not cost huge amounts of money. In many cases, our fun is FREE!!
1) Local parks and playgrounds – Class parents exchanged emails and phone numbers. We take turns scheduling to meet weekly at designated parks; pack a picnic lunch, balls, kites and bubbles. The parents visit and the children spend time being kids. FREE
2) Local animal shelters – many offer daytime hours and events thru the summer with crafts and teaching children how to care and appreciate the animals. Children tend to have age requirements and parents attend with the children. FREE
3) In town day camps – contact your town or city they usually have published calendars of events and camps to register and sign up for during specific weeks. Those with large families or groups may receive discounts. Fees are based off of the supplies for each program but are reasonable. At these events, you drop your child off and pick up at designated times. $
4) Craft Stores – When visiting the big box craft stores, check out the bulletin board or visit the store online. Most offer craft summer fun classes that you attend with your child one day a week. The event is FREE the supplies for the class are donated by a sponsor.
5) Pottery or Art Schools – A day camp and class schedule for a reasonable fee- these cover the cost of supplies, and some include a snack. These are drop off and age specific; however, if you have younger children, you can paint a project with them. $$
6) Bike ride – multiple towns and cities have bike trails, rail trails or bicycle friendly paths. Put some air in those sleepy tires, load up the car, call a few friends, pack a lunch and meet for a ride. Most are virtually empty during the week. FREE
7) High school tracks – Meet at the track, bring your stroller and your running shoes. Many schools do not have events scheduled during the day and the tracks are open for you to get your run on. FREE
8) Use your YMCA membership – Get your workout in! Some Y’s group exercise classes move outside in the summer months. With your membership, you have up to 2 hours of FREE childcare. My daughter loves her time playing with her Y friends. The first week of every month, you can try the Y FREE. Contact your local Y to learn more. $$
9) Beach – plan a day trip to a state beach or park. Some of the best family beaches have adjourning parks and bath houses. Investigate in local town beaches. The fees are reasonable, and if you find you attend often, a State pass maybe beneficial. $$
10) Get outside – pack a snack, find a trail, hike a mountain. Many towns have published trail maps and hiking available. FREE
11) Baseball – find your local team; attend a day game or early evening. Farm teams or summer college leagues are affordable and often have activities specific for children. My daughter loves meeting the mascots,too. $
12) Pool/Tennis – We are fortunate to live in a community that offers these perks to its residents. Often we invite friends to visit and play. FREE
These are some of our weekly fun activities that we can manage and make memories.