4. Let the kids’ help you cook- Not only does this sharpen math skills with school out, but also kids are more likely to eat healthy meals they help prepare. Plus, they’ll thank you later. How many young adults do you know who can’t cook and complain that their parents never taught them?
5. Share a hobby or craft- Do you sew, scrapbook, collect coins, plant or do genealogy? Share that skill with your child or grandchild. If the child has expressed interest in a topic you haven’t mastered, do the research and create projects together.
6. Take up a sport or pastime as a family- Yoga, karate, bicycling, hiking,camping, fishing, kayaking, swimming, canoeing and even jet skiing are good sports for families to engage in together. The best part is you can stay fit and spend quality time with your family all at once.
7. Go bowling- Bowling lanes nationwide offer free bowling for kids in summer, though required shoe rental is usually extra. Most participating lanes permit two free games daily for registered families, but bowling times and other rules can vary. Hundreds of lanes across the country participate in the Kids Bowl Free program, and AMF also has a free summer kids bowling program. Check with your local lanes to see if they’re part of either program.
8. Visit your town’s free attractions- Smaller, less popular museums or attractions may seem cheesy to you, but they’re magic to kids who have never seen them. An added plus is they often have much smaller admission fees than the most popular museums and zoos.
9. Take a field trip to a nearby town- Check with convention and visitors bureaus for information about special summer events and deals, as well as free attractions.
10. Give the kids a photography project- Everybody takes pictures these days. Let the youngsters choose a theme or subject and take photos all summer. They can then use those photos in a scrapbook, storybook, collage online slideshow or gift for relatives or friends.
11. Do outdoor movie night- Find a neighbor with a projector, put up a sheet and invite friends and neighbors over for a potluck movie night. Kids can watch the film under the stars while parents and grandparents visit, or vice versa.
12. Explore your local library- Not only can you borrow books for free, you can also check out movies and download music. Plus, many libraries have story times, movies and other activities for kids and teens during the summer. Most libraries have a summer reading program in which kids can earn free books or other prizes. Barnes & Noble also has a summer reading program that awards a free book to youngsters who read eight books and fill out a journal.