Summer is in full swing and I have yet to sign our girls up for any extracurricular activities. While I may still fit in a session of swim lessons somewhere, I want freedom! The kind of freedom that comes with waking up and making the most of every day, because you have no where you ‘have’ to be. Call me cheap, but I also get excited about finding ways to keep busy, engaged, and entertained for little to no cost!
Here are our top three favorite FREE summer activities!
Summer Food Service Program
Two years ago I accidentally stumbled upon the Summer Food Service Program. This program is amazing! All children 18 and under eat free, all summer. Initially I declined the invitation by a staff member at the pool we were at to partake. I was not sure we qualified for the program. I was then told that everyone qualifies and they need as many people to utilize the program as possible. By keeping the numbers up, it insures that the children who do have a need will always have a lunch (and new this year, breakfast).* This is an automatic daily weekday outing.
My girls and I call it, “the lunch party.” They look forward to getting out of the house, seeing other kids, and trying new foods. I love it because: One, I don’t have to cook lunch. Two, it’s a great opportunity to teach, “Make What’s On Your Plate Work.” Three, I don’t have to clean up!
Summer Reading Program
Parents, the library is not like the library we grew up with. The children’s section is typically separate and kids are encouraged to be kids. It is ok to make noise!
There are awesome libraries in Denver and the surrounding areas. Find the closest to you and go. We participate in story time every week. The girls have learned a lot about listening to another adult and there is always a craft to follow. Which appeals to my A-type because, again, I don’t have the mess in my house!
While you’re there, sign up for the summer reading program! Kids, toddlers, and infants are all encouraged to join in. Upon sign up you typically receive a book and a coupon for a free meal at a sponsoring establishment.
Park and Water Tour
In the summer, my girls and I love to do what we call a, “Park and Water Tour!” We are fortunate in Colorado to have so many beautiful parks. We pick one park and one water feature a week for our tour. While the girls do enjoy splash parks, their favorite way to play is in natural water. Ralston Creek Trail in Arvada is a favorite of ours.
This year, to keep my going to be first grader on track, I will have her take a picture of each place we visit on our tour. After we have visited five locations we will revisit the photos. She will then write a sentence about each park/water area and pick a favorite out of the five. A quick and easy assignment to keep her engaged.
What are your favorite, free summer activities that we should add to our list?
*If you are unable to find a Summer Lunch Program location near you, contact your local school or school district office. They will be able to provide you with a location.