Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ahhh, summer is upon us...

Okay, so many of us are about to face the dreaded "summer vacation", if you have not already begun it! Now I say dreaded not because we don't like having our kids home. We love our kids but really, when the heat is on, the kids are home, and the "Mommy, I'm boooooorrrreeeedddd" is the most common phrase you hear, a mother can certainly understand why I use the word dreaded.

We have officially one more week before we are on "Summer vacation" here and so I began preparing today. Braydon needs structure, and so I've got to have atleast an idea of what we're doing. It's easy just to say we'll play it by ear, but a little preparation can come in handy. Having a "back up" plan of things to do in your area to get you out of the house is great! Knowing when things are cheap or even free is even better! Here are some tips and ideas to help you avoid having to use duct tape this summer vacation. =)

All of this takes some research and a little planning. Pull out your calendar, and make a list of the important dates this summer. For example, when are your doctor's appointments, vacations, etc. That way you'll know that you can't schedule a trip to the museum when you're supposed to be taking your little one to get his teeth cleaned!

There are so many resources that you can use this summer! First, check out your local library. Most libraries offer summer reading programs, story times, and other neat activities that are all FREE!! I recommend getting a basket to put all the library books in so that you avoid the dreaded late fees. These fees can quickly turn an awesome free activity into the equivalence of a day at Disney!! (By the way, did you know that some libraries even send overdue fines to collections agencies?!? Not that I know that personally or any thing!)

Other great sources are your local museums. Often times, museums offer free entrance at certain times. Just remember that everyone and their mom (quite literally) will be there at that time, so expect lots of people, children, and even daycares/summer camps to be there at the same time. Our local museum allows you to join as a family and not only can you go to their museum whenever you'd like, but they also offer reciprocal admissions with over 200 other museums worldwide! It costs $60 for our family to join, normal admission for my family of 4 would be $14 per visit. If we go 5 times in one year, we'll have already recovered our money. Also, we have a free activity on vacation if we go near one of the museums with reciprocal admissions, and there are 16 in the state of NC alone!! Check out your state here to see how many you have in your state!

Check out freebies, such as free bowling for kids or Barnes & Noble's summer reading program, tonight's Free Root Beer Float from Sonic Drive-In, a free single scoop cone or dish at Friendly's June 6th, or a free Orange Julius smoothie on June 19th. (thanks to A Full Cup for the last two) Most restaurants offer "kids nights" too where your kids can eat free & there might even be games or crafts for kids to do that night. Locally, restaurants like Chick-Fil-A, Denny's, San Jose (a mexican restaurant), Zaxby's and several others offer kids nights. Each restaurant is owned & operated individually so make sure you check with your local restaurants. Many restaurants offer e-mail clubs, or you can even sign up to receive text messages with coupons for FREE things. Our Dairy Queen offers free sundaes to their MYDQ members on Mondays with other free coupons throughout the month!

GET OUTSIDE!

Chalk is amazing. It's cheap, its messy and kids LOVE it! They can create and recreate every single day....There's also the new 3-D chalk which allows kids even more ways to experience creativity! No longer will your kids be limited to boring old hopscotch! They can create anything and actually see it "come to life". Cost is about $5 bucks for 4 pieces of chalk & a pair of 3D glasses. The added giggles and squeals of excitment are FREE!!!!

Find a community pool, rec pool or YMCA pool to cool off in. Check your with the Parks & Recreation department for a list of pools. If you have to, make friends with people who live in apartments with pools. (hey, when it's HOT out, it pays to have friends with pools!) We've picked Wednesday as our designated pool day ("wet wednesday"). We'll still visit the pool the other days too, but Wednesday will be spent by the pool. Make sure you pack the sunblock, hats, drinks, & snacks. Ideas for great snacks are fruit, pretzels, cheese & crackers. Try to avoid chips & sugary snacks. Bring a book or two that you can read to your kids while having a "break time" (everyone needs some shade time & a book is a perfect way to do so.) If you have younger children, they will need to have more frequent breaks, and don't forget to reapply the sunblock to all (don't forget yourself!!)

Go for a nature walk, a bike ride, bird watching, at a greenway or hiking trail. To find the closest one to you check this out. Don't have a trail near you? Go on a walk around the neighborhood and find nature....it's every where! Even in the innercities, there are greenways you can explore! Make sure you bring bug spray, water, a snack and a camera. Point things out to your kids as you walk, for example the red bug that just crawled by, or the noise you just heard, then have your kids point things out they see. Ask them questions such as "which tree do you think is older?" or "why do you think it's cooler under the trees than out in the sun?" These kinds of questions will no only be encouraging your children to learn even in the summer but also to think for themselves!

But when it is REALLY hot outside, you need some activities for your kids to do inside that will allow you to do your other household chores like laundry, dishes, making lunch/dinner, cleaning, etc. The phrase TV rots the brain was obviously not spoken by a mom in the midst of summer break. I'm not advocating mindless hours of unmonitored TV watching. Pick one day to be a movie day, and create a day full of activities surrounding the movie. (We chose our day to do this as "Movie Mondays", a post is coming about this soon) I'm using movies that I already have, but if you want to get a new movie, Redbox movie rentals are great. They are $1 per day, which is much better than Blockbuster. What's even better is that you can sign up to receive a text message on Monday's with a promo code for a FREE rental. They'll send you the text message around 10 in the morning and it expires at 11:59 that same night. Don't have text messaging? You can sign up for e-mail and although you may not get weekly promo codes, you will get a free code for signing up the 1st time. They have current movies, just like at Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Etc. Click to see what movies they have or to locate a redbox here. Our local Redboxes are at Walgreens, Harris Teeter & Wal-mart. A piece of advice: before you go up to the box, try to have an idea of what you're going to get. When there's a long line, you don't want to be the one who is making everyone wait!

I hope this advice is helpful. If you have any suggestions about how you survive summer break without duct tape, post about it on your page and then come back and add yours to the list! The more the merrier...We can all use new ideas, right moms?!?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind me saying something...but I am doing almost the same thing here in Texas. I have 8 other mommies with kids (anywhere from 2-5 kiddos each) who are going to get together for free or low cost places. You stated all the things I was planning. :-D Great minds think alike!!