The weather is heating up and the school year is winding down. While I am looking forward to putting the alarm clocks away for the summer, I am not looking forward to the complaints of boredom that always follows the end of the school year. This year I am determined to have a list of fun, inexpensive (or free) ready before the annual chorus of "I'm bored" begins in the living room. I am sharing with you what I have found so far.
The local library
Our local library has a fantastic (and free!) summer program for children of all ages. There is a movie day every week complete with popcorn, art activities and of course reading programs. The library even offers free classes on subjects ranging from computer skills to yoga. Call or stop by the public library in your area to get a schedule of local events for kids.
Community Colleges and local Universities
Most area community colleges and several universities offer courses for kids during the summer. Though I'm sure that the fees and courses available vary widely, my school aged boys are looking forward to robotics camp at the University of West Florida this year. The camp cost $135 per week per child, so it isn't what I would call cheap. UWF's summer kids program also offers classes in art, music, drama, computers, science and reading. Given that it is educational, I consider this money well spent. You should be able to find information about similar programs in your area online or in the local newspaper.
Sports and Recreation
Watch for summer specials in the newspaper. One of the golf courses here offers 1 hour lessons for kids for just $5 per child. In my opinion, swimming lessons are worth every penny spent. If your local YMCA has a pool, I'm sure they offer lessons. Most public and private clubs offer low cost swim lessons without requiring purchasing a membership. Also check for summer sports camps for tennis and soccer. Sports clinics are usually inexpensive and as a bonus the kids come home exhausted!
Again, check your paper to find exhibits your children might be interested in seeing. The Mobile Museum currently has an exhibit about George Washington Caver that we will be checking out soon. Many museums have a special inter-active area for children to explore. It is worth looking into to see what your area has to offer.
Making the summer months fun and educational isn't hard and doesn't have to cost a fortune. If you find interesting, low-cost activities please let me know. With four children to keep busy, I'm always looking for something to keep them busy!