Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Home Work and Family - Easy and Fun Summer Family Fun

One of the really nice things about not graduating in December is that my schedule has calmed down a bit. Yes, I am still mentally (and sometimes physically) hanging at loose ends but I do have more 'free' time.

And I'm using it to enjoy time with my precious family.

Since we're working at becoming debt free, that means things can't be expensive.
Since we're still busy it means things have to easy too.

So what are some of the things we have been doing?

* Bubbles! I don't know why, but bubbles are a huge hit with my kids! They got a mega page of bubble wands in all different shapes and sizes and a gallon jug of bubble solution. We have spent literally hours playing with that. The kids blowing, John and I blowing with the kids chasing, all four of us ohh-ing and ahh-ing over really large, really tiny or particularly spectacular bubbles. It's a ton of fun!

* Free crafts! We live in the Twin Cities so we have Lakeshore Learning Store, which has free crafts for the kids every Saturday. Stores like JoAnn's, Michael's and probably other places too have free make-and-takes fairly often too. I even heard a rumor that our Barnes & Noble has a book reading with a related craft and our local library has a night once in a while with crafts too. This expands on my creativity (or lack thereof) and gets us all out of the house. And it's perfect for those rainy days!

* Library Summer Reading Program! Our library has a fun reading program where the kids read or get read to for 40 hours between June 13 and August 13 and they get a free book to keep! (Books are donated by community members so there is no cost to the library). If we read 40 hours, the kids get their name on the bulletin board at the library. We're shooting for 40 so they can get their names up! We love to read at our house, and curling up under a blanket tent with flashlights and a stack of books (we check out about 20 per week) is a heap of fun for all of us (though Mom's legs usually stick out of the tent!).

* Free local events! Our local library supports a program that brings in local musicians, theater troupes and the like for free performances at a small theater/stage in town. We've seen the Minnesota Zoo Mobile, a couple of local bands, a magician, and are looking forward to another local band this next month. We also have local festivals for our small towns, bigger things in Minneapolis and St. Paul complete with parades, candy, and free shows/exhibits/entertainment. All fun!

* Picnics at the Park! Last night we took a picnic to the park for dinner. I had homemade pizza on the menu, but the kids wanted to go to the park so we took hot dogs, chips, and drinks to the park and ate there. Bonus perk was that John and I got some relatively kid-free talking time while the kids played on jungle gym always within eyesight and usually within a few steps of us! Just taking a walk and going to park is a hit too, but having a picnic there was even more fun.

* Flying a kite! My kids both got kites for their birthday from a neighbor who used to take her kids kit flying all the time. Now we're picking up the tradition! Yes, it requires a windy day, but it's a heap of fun too! I recommend hooking the kite up to a fishing rod - the fishing line is less likely to break, leaving you with a run-away kite, and you can just real it in when you're done!

* A wading pool! When our kids turned 2, they got a wading pool from my cousin for their birthday. We still use it and now it's become the home of experiments (see what floats!), splashing contests and floating contests! We love it! And Mom and Dad get to stick their feet in and get cool too!

* Play doh! I don't let the kids play inside with play doh - I have a thing about it getting squished all over the place. So we play with it outside at the patio table. We have fun trying to sculpt animals, each other, and using the shaping kits the kids have gotten for their birthdays for the last 3 years.

* Ice cream cones! A couple years ago we made a tradition of walking to the library and stopping at Dairy Queen on the way home to get kiddie cones. Not free, but less than $5 for 2 kiddie comes and 2 small regular cones. We get all sticky, finish walking home, wash off, and cuddle up with our new books from the library. How cool is that? We also sit out on the front step eating homemade Popsicles or ice cream cones and watching the cars go by. How many red cars can we see? How many motorcycles? Anything really unusual? That's fun too!

I'm sure there are other things that we do that I'm forgetting.

What do you do for inexpensive and easy summer fun?

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Lea