Aahhh, summer. Those lazy days. I love summer. For the first 3 weeks. Then, I have trouble keeping my kids and myself occupied. This summer should be even more fun because not only do I have my 4, but my sister’s 2. Don’t be surprised if you see me frequently holding a cocktail midday. But how will I keep 6 kids from feeling bored come July 5? For you locals, I have a few ideas that I’ve used over the years.
1. SUMMER MOVIE EXPRESS by Regal Cinemas. 2 days a week during the summer months, Regal Cinemas is showing kids movies for just $1. This is not new, but what has changed is now they charge you. In years past it has been free. There are a couple of upsides for this charge, though, that I’ve noticed. The movies are fairly new. I’ve been to some screenings in previous years where the choices of movies for the week are less than nap-time worthy. Also, since they are charging this year, I think the theaters will be less full. We’ve actually been turned away before because the theaters fill up so fast. I think this will help remedy the situation. And $1 for a new-ish movie really isn’t that much. Go to http://www.regmovies.com/summermovieexpress for more information and to check your local theaters.
2. The Beach. Although I tend to not love our beaches here in the northwest, my kids do. And many of them have a nearby park. It’s an easy answer to summer boredom.
3. Waterparks. This is my favorite summer “hang-out” now that I have kids. We have a very close, very clean water park to our house and for the last 3 summers, I have splurged and bought the season pass. The bonus to this is first, if you go more than 2 times, you have paid for it and second, no long wait lines. We pack a lunch, snacks, and water bottles so we don’t have to spend any money once we’re there. For my local friends visit, http://rentonwa.gov/living/default.aspx?id=190 for more information.
4. National Parks. We have become a family very fond of our national park system. It started 5 years ago when we took our first multi-state road trip and visited several national parks along our route. Since then, every summer, we find at least one destination to pack up the car to visit. It’s so much fun learning about America as well as viewing the beautiful countryside along the way. To make it even better, the National Parks System offers a Free Entrance Day every June 21, the first day of summer. Normal entrance fees vary by park. Visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm for more information.
5. Reading programs. I’m not much of a reader, but thank the Lord, my kids are different from me when it comes to reading. There are so many local reading programs that, chances are, you wouldn’t be able to participate in all of them if you tried, but some of our favorites are run by the local library system and Barnes & Noble. It’s fun for kids to read new and challenging books and then get a reward for accomplishing their goal at the end of summer. Go to http://freesamplefreak.com/summer-reading-programs-for-kids-2011/ for some great ideas!
6. The Dollar Store. This is kind of a “what should we do today?” pit stop that I access frequently. We can usually find enough change around the house and in the car for each of the kids to choose something and it usually takes them around 60 minutes to figure it out how to use their dollar wisely.
These are just a few ideas that I hope you will use. Please leave feedback and any other ideas that you might have. I’m always up to finding new things to do. Oh, and don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!