By Beth Pinyerd
It is so hard to believe but school will be out for many schools next week! Making summer plans for our children comes to the forefront in the good old summer time. Yes, gas prices and everything is very high this year. Families may not be able to get away on that traditional summer vacation but you can provide a funfilled vacation on a “shoestring” right from your home. Let’s make our childrens’ summer one to remember with little costs. You get excited and they will too!
First of all be sure to get up a list of adventures in your neighborhood that are free. Local churches offer Vacation Bible Schools that are out of this world and full of learning and fun for your child. VBS offer swonderful times of meeting new friends, entertaining programs and plays for your child to learn valuable lessons, times of singing and acting out songs, art time offered with crafts you and your child will keep forever, delicious snack times and fun recreation time. My son and I used to attend all the Vacation Bible Schools in the area. Check with local churches to see when their VBS programs are. A lot of planning and loving hearts go into offering wonderful programs to your children.
Don’t forget to check out the local library’s story hour. So many fun incentives are offered to children to reach their summer reading goals.
As we know, one of the most popular summer fun things to do is to get wet! Don’t fret if you don’t live near a pool or beach, you can still have a whole lot of fun just getting wet. Use a hose or run through the sprinkler! Have your little ones to catch that rainbow as we always see when the sun hits the water. I can still remember my grandmother in Salem would always have her grandchildren to spend the summer with her out in the country. She would fill up a big aluminum pan which was used to gather vegetables. My grandmother would fill the pan up with cold water from the well and we kids would have a blast of summer fun. As a childrens’ director at my church, I would purchase inexpensive wading pools and use a big blue inexpensive tarpe on a grassy hill and pour baby shampoo on the tarpe to provide hours of family fun for our family fellowship. This same plan can be used at homes with safety measure in mind and provide hours of summer fun topped off with popsicles or lemonade!
Young families just can’t go on that traditional family vacation due to a tight budget? Don’t sweat or fret! Plan ahead to have your vacation at home. But families, you have to make a commitment to cut the phones off except for emergencies as you do on a real vacation.
Plan events at home where just you and your family spend time together. Pick up your family’s favorite video, plan fun family picnics, let the children help you “no matter how messy the sandwich,” pull out favorite board games such as “Boggle,” checkers, Operation Sam, or puzzles. The “key” to the success of your “at home vacation” is to let the outside word know you’re on vacation so you won’t be bothered. Camp out in your backyard looking at the sky and stars, hearing the sounds of summer, and just enjoying being outdoors. Too, a tent can be set up inside if the weather won’t allow outdoor camping. Creativity and imagination are the family goals!
The key is unwinding, kicking back and having fun with your family. Technologies have changed, our cultures have changed, but the heart of a child in needing time to spend with his/her family is always the same. Time spent together spells love!
Another shoestring favorite is to safely catch and observe insects then letting them go! I always give my students an insect net or bug barn. Remember the days of running after “lightning bugs,” fireflies and observing roly-poly bugs for hours!
I love the friendliness of our Opelika community. You and your children can schedule ahead of time summertime field trips around town. As a teacher when keeping children during the summer, I always enjoyed choosing one spot a week, whether it be the post office, bank, grocery store, or other places of community interests. The community welcomes this if you let them know ahead of time.
One thing that children I have kept is to save one day a week to have a “Fast-food Day” We would save our pennies and we would look forward to a lunch treat. Look for coupons in the paper and too, especially during the summer, local fast food restaurants give away special certificates to children.
As summer is fast approaching for children and families look around, plan ahead , to makes memories for your child.
Readers, I welcome your suggestions on how to provide a fun summer for our children on a shoestring that we can share! My e-mail is email@example.com.