If you’re a ‘normal’ mom like most moms, you must be dreading the fact that school will close for the summer holidays. Babysitting duties will be over to you and you are going to want to tear your hair out listening to the whining and complaining from the little ones about being bored, what to do next, can they go shopping, and all that.
Over the years, I’ve learned my lesson and I always come up with a plan long before the holidays even start. I will share some of those ideas with you. These are great ideas which will see you operating as a mommy psychologist and your kids as willing participants. *Wink
These are cheap (frugal) ideas by the way and will see you spending next to nothing each time. After all, there are bigger things that you want to save your money for.
Plan in advance
The first thing you want to do if you want to ensure that your scheme is a success is to ensure that you plan in advance. You don’t want to plan a nice lie in on the first day of the school holiday only to be awakened by the little darlings and you have no plan for them!
Unlike you, their energy supplies are boundless and you don’t want to be seen as the loser from day one!
Get the little ones in on the planning
They are never too little to have a say. If all you have are tiny tots, try showing them a big calendar of each week of the holidays with two activities marked in. Let them choose one, and then let them start counting down the days, crossing off one day at a time until it’s time for the activity/surprise/trip. Same thing for bigger ones, just not in those baby steps.
Depending on the resources available to you, you can let them have three extra activities each week and they have to compromise with each other about which two they really want to do/have/go on.
That way, they won’t come asking about going somewhere or doing something as they’ll know in advance what and when the activities are.
Here are ten frugal ideas you can add to the list of activities. If you have great ones of your own, do share them below in the comment box. So many moms and dads will be glad to get their hands on this list for the summer or for any school holiday for that matter.
Give the grandparents a chance
Most kids love visiting with the grandparents. They do fun stuff, get treated and spoiled, eat and stay up late, and generally make exciting memories together- all at no cost to you. You could have them make a thank you card in advance and hide it in the bag to be handed over at the end of their visit. Grandparents love those cards and treasure them forever.
Most local authorities will waive the entry fees for kids during school holidays. Check with your local area to see what’s on and work out how you and your child can benefit. They may have school related projects to complete, and if not, you might be nurturing a budding artist or a child with an appreciation of the fine arts.
How about letting them choose a book or two but read right there in the library while you run errands. Of course, you will need to talk to them about the safety concerns and ensure they are familiar with your list of ‘what if’ and know what to do in each case. You want them to start gaining some independence but with some thought and responsibility as well.
The local library is also a good place to meet up with some of their friends for a read-a-thon. Don’t forget to talk about the etiquette related to using a public library.
When I was little, almost all the churches in my community had what was called VBS (Vacation Bible School) for a week or two over the summer. They were fun, well run, and sponsored by local businesses in the community. We learned valuable lessons about friendships, having strong values, and being brave and strong. The songs we learned back then, still linger in my mind ever so often even now. So check with your local churches to see if they are running a summer club. That should give you a long break of a week or two while your child/children have fun, are kept safe, and make new friends.
In my local community, swimming lessons are free for some age groups if their parents sign up in advance. Don’t be at the back of the queue. Get in early and give your kids the chance to have fun while learning the valuable life skill of swimming. Who knows what they’ll do with these skills in the long run. An Olympic athlete may be in the making! Who knows!
Do you live near to a ballpark, stadium, or another leisure center? I am sure that some of them offer sessions like baseball, football, soccer, badminton, and athletics for your active child. Gymnastics is a popular one too. Little ones at this stage love the fact that their bodies can do these amazing things. They may even wow you by putting on a show that you will enjoy watching.
As a child, I never got to experience this. Looking back now, I think I would have loved it.
So you know that bike that you got the little one/s for Christmas? Plan to get it out, along with yours, and go on a nice family ride. You can plan it so that everyone has their picnic food in a rucksack on their backs. It’s up to you all to decide when to stop and have lunch and snacks, which path to take etc. Make sure to stop and get some family pics too. These make for amazing memories too.
Hint: Kids bikes are usually cheaper in the summer!
Teddy Bear Garden party
You’ll love this idea, and so will your little ones. What about dressing up all the stuffed toys and having a pretend tea party? Let your little ones have fun making up invitations and all. They may decide to have real or pretend food, and real or pretend friends at the party. Whatever they do, let it be fun. These activities make for creative thinkers and good essay writers back at school.
This one is one of my favorite ideas. Your little ones will be counting the days until it’s time for the sleepover and for the friends to come ’round. If you’re clever with this psychology thing, you will make sure your little one has at least one friend who returns the favor! Get in! That will be two activities crossed off the list. Are you with me on this?
Back garden camping
I’m guessing that one of the most sought after activities on your summer calendar would be the idea of a family camp out in the back garden! Get all you need, including a good easy to set up tent. Let them know how long the camping session is for and whether or not they are allowed in the house (maybe to use the bathroom if you don’t have other suitable alternatives.)
It’s up to you, but you could have a ban on all electronic devices in the tent, which will allow them to be creative with how they spend their time. You can get in some good quality time for teaching valuable lessons about the use of resources, being frugal, spending wisely, and the plight of those who live on very little.
Whatever you do during this time, I am sure they will enjoy the overall camping experience.
So take my advice, plan in advance, and make use of some unconventional ideas to make sure your little ones have a blast this summer and that you keep as much money in your purse as possible. You will keep your sanity and win the psychological battle too.