There are a variety of fun events children can attend during summer vacation, many of them free. A great number of parents are unaware these events are free or that they even exist. This is because not all of them are are always listed on events calendars. They also aren't always what parents may think about when considering free summer events and activities for kids.
Free Summer Concerts
Many cities have free concerts, especially during the summer. Parks, town squares, and even libraries will often be the location for these. To check listings for free concerts in your city, visit your city's official web site, check the local newspaper, and check at the library for fliers or schedules. Oftentimes free concerts are geared toward children and the ones that aren't may even be G-rated and enjoyable for all ages. These will keep kids busy singing and dancing along. Since most will be in parks or children's libraries, kids can feel free to just be kids.
Free Summer Workshops
Many retail stores and museums hold free or low-cost workshops, even for kids. Topics may include DIY home improvement projects, history, nature conservation, safety tips, art, crafts, and many more. Workshops are generally interactive, keeping the kids busy making or learning about something. To find out about these workshops call and check the websites of local museums, home improvement stores, nature conservancies, zoos, craft stores, and anywhere else you can think of. These aren't always filed under events listings.
Zoo Free Days
Zoo free days are an exciting event for kids and their parents. The kids receive entertainment and the parents will love the small impact on the summer fun budget. To save even more, bring along your own sack lunch. At the zoo, kids can learn about animals and have fun watching them. An interesting time to go is feeding time for certain animals, so keep that in mind. This is when certain animals and their trainers will be busy putting on shows for the audience. Also, check to see if there are any animals in the nursery. If so, there may be some accompanying educational info for the kids.
Museum Free Days
Like free zoo days in the summer, parents and kids alike will find this worthwhile. Keep in mind that even though admission and permanent museum exhibits will be free, there may be charges for special exhibits or shows. Some parents may choose to avoid those on free day, yet others will just be glad to save the general admission. If you kids especially enjoy the museum or it's beneficial to various studies, you might consider purchasing a yearly membership. These generally pay for themselves after just a few visits.
Most cities have some type of parade, even small ones. If no main parades are scheduled for the summer, check with museums, art galleries, theaters, and other organizations. Sometimes they hold small parades that the kids would enjoy. Most kids are amazed at watching horses, dancers, floats, and anything else parade past them down the street.
Factory, Warehouse, Orchard, and Farm Tours
Just about every area seems to have at least one factory or manufacturing plant of some kind. Children love the excitement of learning how things work behind the scenes. Try food factories, farms, orchards, product assembly warehouses, and more. Most manufacturing companies have some type of tour and many are free.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Are your tweens bored during family outings and activities? Perhaps you just need to switch things up and try something new. You don't necessarily have to spend too much money on fancy gadgets. In fact, that could distract them from family fun. To keep the tweens from being bored, our family is always trying something new. Here are some of the all-time favorites that have passed the 'tween fun' test.
Turn walking into an adventure. Asking your tweens to go on a walk may bore them. But only if you make it seem like a chore. Instead, turn it into an exploration. Take a walk on neighborhood trails and bring along specimen containers and other investigative tools. A note pad is great for drawing observations and writing down interesting discoveries and theories. A magnifying glass can help when inspecting insects, leaves, animal tracks, and more. Binoculars are useful when watching birds and other creatures at a distance.
Flash back to when all we used was imagination. Today's tweens are often so into technology that some rarely use their imaginations. Think back to those fun little games you played, such as Telephone, telling ghost stories, Truth or Dare, and more. Remember all the fun you had playing these games with friends and family? Play them with your family and if your tween has her won ideas or variations, go along with them. These games are not just a good source of entertainment. They can also help bring families closer through the power of laughter. The best part is that they can usually be adapted to fit all age ranges. This is an important aspect in a large family like ours.
Scavenger hunts are cheap, easy, and entertaining. It doesn't take strenuous planning to set up a scavenger hunt. But the resulting fun and memories are priceless. Create a list of items for each child to find in the backyard or area park. These should be easy things to find in nature, such as a dried leaf, a fallen twig, or a rock. Your tweens (and even the younger kids) can be given a reusable grocery bag for collection purposes. It's up to you whether to make it a competition and award prizes or just let the kids go to it finding the items. If you want to mix things up even more, instead of the list, give the kids a treasure map or one clue at a time as each item is found.
Tweens and music go hand-in-hand. Turn up the music and have a family dance session. But don;t play just your music. Let the tweens choose music as well. I know, I know, some of their choices will be worse than nails on a chalkboard - at least to your ears. Save the complaints about it for another time and just enjoy the time with your kids. Understanding the music your tweens listen to can help you understand them more as well. The kids might even be able to teach you a new dance. You know they will feel you need the lessons.
Wacky sports can be a big hit with tweens. Have you ever tried blending sports together? For instance, try playing soccer or basketball while skating. Invent your own sports by mixing up and combining two or more sports with each other. Safety first, of course, but other than that, be creative. Water Balloon Golf is one of the more interesting combination games my kids and I enjoy playing together. This one is best played on warmer days. If it's a good day for swimming, then it's a good day for this golf variation.
Writing and music can both be wonderful outlets for talent as well as feelings. When combined together, it can greatly help kids relieve stress. Plus, it's a fun way to sneak in some writing practice and also to let them use their creativity, imagination, and thinking skills. This is a method I've had success using with my own kids and I hope it helps others as well.
Combating Sibling Rivalry
When siblings are arguing, I find that having them write songs is a great way for them to deal with those feelings. Holding feelings in is no good. But neither is acting them out on each other. Writing a song about it helps the kids relieve tension by getting the feelings out in a more constructive manner. When the kids reread the or sing the lyrics, they may laugh and find what they wrote is not really that bad after all.
Expressing Hurt Feelings
When a child gets their feelings hurt, sometimes they need someone to talk to. Other times they just want to be alone. That alone time may be the perfect opportunity for a kid to express hurt feelings through song. Sometimes just the act of writing it all down can help kids relieve stress. Performing it as a blues song can be fun for the child as well as the audience. The audience could be a parent or the whole family. It depends on what the child feels they want to do.
Expressing Other Stressful Feelings
Besides sibling rivalry and hurt feelings, there are a host of other things that may lead to stress in kids. These could be things like being bullied, keeping up with grades in school, weight issues, and many more. Writing feelings in song form gives kids a positive outlet for expression. Also, if the songs are then performed afterward, more stress relief can come in the singing and dancing. Also, in the dancing can be some great exercise, which is another fun and easy way to help reduce stress in kids.
Yes, writing songs can be wonderful when a child is stressed, but also don't forget to do so when your child is happy as well. Songwriting is a fun activity that the family can do together. It can also lead to laughter, which in my experience can reduce stress significantly. Kids can each write their own songs or everyone can write songs together. Even try a combination. Performing the songs afterward can be fun for the kids and parents both.
*Note that the author is not a licensed medical professional and the above is for informational purposes only. If your child is stressed, as with any health issues, contact his or her pediatrician.
**I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Love may not be the first thing some envision when they hear how many kids are in my house. How in the world do you avoid chaos with four kids? That must be a nightmare! No, I can honestly say that I love it. I am not saying every day and every moment is perfect. But I truly enjoy being a single work-at-home mom with a house full of kids and I wouldn't reduce the number for anything in the world.
Boring is overrated.
With four kids around, I never have to worry about getting bored. There's always plenty to do and I love that. Don't know how to sit still? Have some kids and they'll keep you entertained, for sure. Whether it's a game of hide and seek, having family movie night, or even chasing around the mischievous one, there's always something to keep me going.
Ditch the eery silence!
Some people might like a quiet house but I find that quite unnerving. I love the fact that my house will never ever be quiet during waking hours. My kids see to that for me without even trying. There's no such thing as calling the Ghostbusters around here. It's too loud for that. What ghost in its right mind would even dare to take a step in this house?
More kids means less money on clothing.
Say what? Kids grow so fast that one barely has time to wear an outfit before it gets handed to the next. Sure, each kid does get their own new things. But it's nice to know that most items will get their fair use in before donating them to the local shelter.
I don't need the T.V. for background noise.
I've never been a fan of television, unless the NBA is on. So it's a good thing I have lots of kids. They provide plenty of background noise during my day-to-day tasks and I love it because it helps me get my work done.
I can have a fancy dinner every night.
Who needs to go out to eat when you have a bunch of little chefs-in-training around? My kids and I take turns cooking and sometimes we all cook together. Every night is gourmet when the food is made with love.
No one wants to come disturb me while I'm working.
I work at home, which means I prefer no company during certain hours. Having a house full of kids remedies that situation. Everyone knows that if they come over, I am not going to ditch my kids. So, many just avoid me altogether. We love it because it means I have more time to work and the kids have extra time to learn.
In-house hair stylists keep me well-groomed.
There's no need to go to a fancy salon when I have three girls in the house. OK, so I let my son in on the fun, too. Shh, don't tell their dad! I think my kids have more fashion sense than the 'professionals' these days, anyway.
Last-minute parties are all the rage!
We have enough people to throw a decent party without even making a phone call. We can just throw together some homemade pizza, pop some popcorn, pop in some music, pull out the board games, and we're good to go. We do of course invite others sometimes too. But it's so cool that we don't have to.
Everything I do is amazing!
At least that's how the younger kids see it, anyway. Mommy is a magic miracle worker who can make anything happen. When's the last time your boss thought you were as awesome as Santa?....never? Yeah, I thought so. I love having lots of people in my house who think I'm the most amazing creation ever - and guess what? I think they are too!
There's never a shortage of love.
Having a bad day? Try hugging a kid and watch how quickly those troubles melt away. Each time I see one of the kids smile or hand me one of their latest crafty creations, the worries I have disappear in a flash. Love is the cure for everything and when you have four kids around, there's plenty of it.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
*I originally published this on Yahoo! Contributor Network (some words were changed here, due to outdated info)
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans network. She is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! Running a network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is her top priority.
While rescuing civilians from boring content and brands, this awesomely crazy family conquers the world, managing Intent-sive Nature while going on Upstream Parenting adventures & lessons, sometimes in an RV. They strive to cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they settle for rescue dogs and cats.
By supporting us, you support a single parent, healer, and minority small business that donates to and/or stands for several causes, including homeless pets, homeless people, trans youth, equality, helping starving artists, and more! A portion of all proceeds from our all-inclusive store, Intent-sive Nature goes toward worthy causes.
For guidance in the world of freelance writing or for advice on her specialty topics, Ask Lyn.