Here are some more free or inexpensive ideas for some summer fun with your families:
Check out the Virtual Tourist for ideas of places to go and things to do in your city. Here’s the link for my city of London, Ontario. There are some great ideas shared there – some wellknown, some more off the beaten path. Warning: Be sure to further investigate any suggestions you find before heading out. I did find that the ones for London were in some cases, out of date but it’s still a great starting point.
The National Film Board of Canada has free movies on their website including ones suitable for kids of all ages. Check it out here:
When I was a kid, we moved to London the summer between Grade 5 and 6. I didn’t know anyone and meeting other kids can be a bit tricky outside of school. So, my mom found out about a free playground program – held at local schools by the Parks and Rec Department of the City of London. Trained youth activity leaders are there to supervise and lead games, crafts, and other fun activities including field trips. I loved it as did my daughter when she was younger. This program is still in place and still free! Check your cities to see if there’s something similar.
There are often stores in town offering free workshops for kids and families. Check out places like Michaels, Lowes, and Home Depot.
Are you in Toronto or Vancouver? Or maybe heading there on vacation? The Tour Guys offer a variety of different walking tours of these cities on different themes.
Doors Open Ontario is a fabulous program to encourage people to visit historic, heritage, and cultural sites of significance in their areas. Each city or town holding Doors Open events holds them on a weekend of their choosing so there are likely some in your area each season of the year. If you go to the website, you can find out exactly what cities and towns are participating and exactly what sites will be open to the public. Many will be familiar sites in the area but some may be ones you can’t normally tour – for example, getting a backstage tour at a local theatre. Best of all, these locations are FREE to visit during Doors Open.
How about creating a backyard movie theatre? We used to do this when my daughter was little – even having movies in a campground once! Lots of local libraries loan out movies and movie projectors. http://designdazzle.blogspot.com/2011/07/summer-camp-make-your-own-backyard.html
Why not take up letterboxing or geocaching? They’re both treasure hunts of sorts. With letterboxing, you use clues to go searching for a hidden box. When you find the box, you can use the stamp that’s inside to stamp your notebook – kind of like having a passport stamped and you can use your own stamp to stamp their notebook as a sign of you having been there. You might even want to go out exploring and find an area to hide your own letterbox. With geocaching, it’s a similar idea except that GPS coordinates are given and so you use your GPS to find the boxes. This time, instead of collecting stamps, there are usually little “treasures” to be collected from the boxes – trinkets and such. Lots of fun and free or nearly free. When I put my postal code into the geocache locator I found MANY of the caches located right within walking distance of my home so I wouldn’t even need to use up gas getting there!
How about updating the typical summer journal or scrapbook and show your kids how to blog or create a scrapbook on Flickr? You can use the privacy settings on them to ensure that only close friends and family get access and kids can not only have fun learning something new on the computer but can share in something they see many of us doing as well.