With the effects of the recession hitting government agencies as well as individual families, are you wondering where to turn for help entertaining your kids this summer? In California, the situation is especially difficult. Summer school has been cancelled throughout most of the state and various state parks are also closing. City and county governments are cutting down on the hours certain services are provided, as are municipal governments. So if you need to engage your children this summer, here are some tips for you:
Make good use of your local library. The hours may be cut somewhat but the library is still a good source for hours of fun for the kids. With a library card, you can check out not only books but also DVD's and CDs, rather than buying them. In addition, many libraries are still sponsoring programs that are both informative and interesting for the whole family.
Check out all of the museums in your area. Many of them will likely have admission-free days, particularly for local residents. Plan you schedule around these days so that you can introduce your children to art, history, nature, music and crafts. The bonus is that you will learn something too from these visits and enjoy the time you spend there.
Go outside with the kids. You can get maps of your community and hike in the hills or walk in areas you haven't explored before or bike in the flats around a lake. A trip to the community swimming pool is fun for everyone. Plan to picnic on the grass at home or have an overnight camp out in your own backyard.
Keep your eye out for free concerts in the park and community festivals. Check the local papers for notices about events near you. You and the kids can informally experience all kinds of happenings and ethnic celebrations, maybe for the first time.
Have family game nights. Charades are fun for everyone but you can also pick games based on your children's ages. Younger children will enjoy team games like Jr. Pictionary and On Stage while older ones may prefer Scrabble or Monopoly. If you prefer one-on-one games like chess, you can set up family tournaments.
Do some cooking or baking together. It's always fun to hang out in the kitchen together, even in the summer. Make some tried and true favorites like chocolate chip cookies or teach the kids some of your old family recipes. Instead you all might enjoy finding a new recipe that sounds interesting and trying it together for the first time.
You probably have your own great ideas to add to these suggestions. Let us hear from you about your staycation plans for this summer, Sandwiched Boomer or not, and we'll share them with our readers. Click on the Comment link below. And to read more about Staycations, clink on the Title above.