Friday, July 27, 2018

Frugal Summer Activities with Your Kids

Summer is quickly disappearing...In some ways it makes me sad and in some ways it makes me expectant about what is on the horizon.  This for me, is always that time of the Summer when my son starts getting a little antsy and really needs activity and even a change of pace.  We all want our kids to be entertained but two problems can usually creep in - the costs can add up and you want to make sure that they aren't just mindlessly glued to a tablet or phone to keep them busy,  so I thought a lot about how to battle that this summer.  I have gotten a ton of questions about our little summer project so I thought I would write here on the blog a little bit about what we have been up to.  It may be a great way for you to spend the next several weeks with your kids before school kicks back into gear.  I have also added a few other inexpensive and enriching ideas throughout the post too! what have we been up to?  If you follow me on Instagram then you know (and if you don't you should go follow me!).  I wanted to come up with a way this summer for him to stay excited about reading and writing without pulling my hair out.

Recently we came across the NC Parks Passport and thought it was such a cool idea.  Essentially you receive a stamp in your passport every time you visit a state park by visiting the welcome center and for every 10 stamps you get prizes.  Bonus - this is also a great frugal and fun activity to do with your kids during the summer (or on weekends during the year).  We have discovered so many cool places and parks in our state that we would have never have seen otherwise. We have done everything from hiking up to amazing lookouts, simple nature walks, canoeing and visiting the beach for a day to see the dunes.  PS - there is also a National Parks Passport!

So that and our love for travel kind of sparked my idea for our summer project.

We took our love for travel and learning about other cultures and nations and made it into a daily learning activity.  First thing we needed to do was make a "passport" book.  This really could be anything, a spiral notebook would work fine.  I just had an old smashbook (is that still a thing?) that I had never used so we just used that.  I let him decorate the front however he wanted and we were set.

Here is the lowdown -

1. We pick a country we want to "travel" to each week.
2. Visit the Library on Monday and find every book we can about that country - also we find books about animals in that country because my son has a deep love for animals.
3. Spend time reading and researching through our books.

4. Create a page or pages in our "passport" book with facts and information we have learned.

Then depending on the week, we spend time doing different activities from below-

5. Try and eat one food from that country -either something we have made or bought.
6. We listen to traditional music from that country. (lots of the time that's during cooking or eating)
7. Do something crafty..for example we made paper giant hissing cockroaches when we studied Madagascar.
8. Draw a mural on our chalkboard door.
9. Decorate our house or his room with the countries flag colors or other fun holidays we learned about.
10. Watch a movie that reminds us of that country.  There are so many fun ways you can incorporate a movie into your summer.  It doesn't have to be something that just entertains them for a few hours.  Our son loves having a family movie night and for us to watch something he really enjoys.  I have seen people also project movies outside on a simple white sheet for a movie under the stars - so fun!  Also just a tip, sometimes its hard choosing a Christian or family friendly movie but Pure Flix has a great selection for the whole family...and you don't ever need to worry about if its appropriate for everyone or not.
11. Learn some different phrases in their language...we found some cool apps for that!
12. Learn about missionaries in that country and pray for them.
13. At the end of the "trip" we stamp our book with the date so we will remember when we visited :)

There really are endless ideas with this!  Mainly I just wanted it to be fun and I wanted him to keep his mind going this summer.

Honestly, I think I have learned just as much if not more this summer doing this with him.  I love how he gets excited to show other people his passport book and that its something he can hold onto for a while.  I read something earlier this summer about how few of these seasons we actually get with them. I pray I can cherish these moments and spend it with intention with him.  Full discloser - some days we derailed and we get nothing done! That's life and its never perfect.  But you give yourself grace on those days and keep going.

Let me know what you have been up to this summer!  Any other fun and frugal activities or ideas? Share with me!

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