Beating boredom this summer (without breaking your wallet)

Ah, Summer.  That time of year where the days are long, the nights are warm, and life is carefree.  That is until boredom sets in . . .

There are only so many days one can lounge around the house before the thirst for more sets in.    That’s when things can get expensive.  This is especially true if you have kids.  So what to do?  Here are five ideas on how to beat summer boredom without beating your budget to death.

1. Visit your local library.  Did you know that just over half of Americans have visited a library in the past year?  Libraries certainly aren’t as sexy as other places, but there’s no better value around!  In addition to thousands of books, most libraries lend movies (even popular ones), music, and other media.  If you haven’t been to the library in a while, just go one time, and see if it appeals to you and your kids.  If it does, consider making it a weekly trip.  Also let your kids get their own library card.  This will teach them about responsibility.

2. Volunteer.  Volunteering is great for adults and kids for many reasons.  Volunteering helps us learn new skills, build new friendships, develop compassion, learn about business, etc.  It may also ignite an interest in kids that will carry into adulthood.   Places where both adults and kids can volunteer include nursing homes, animal shelters, soup kitchens, children’s hospitals, and much more.  This will help us all appreciate what we have, while making us feel good about ourselves.  A simple Google search can get you on your way!

3. Create a play date circle.  If your kids have neighborhood friends who have families that you know and trust, consider starting a play date circle.  For example, if there are four kids, each week one family hosts the kids at their house, then it rotates the next week.  It’s a great way for kids to have new experiences, to see how other families operate, and to share their house/family with their friends.

4. Start your own sports/game league.  If you have a lot of kids in your neighborhood who like sports, have them get together once a week at the local park to just play.  Football, dodgeball, basketball, it doesn’t matter.  Just get them running.  Even better, let them come up with the games and the rules on their own.  It will teach them about organization and self-governance.  Don’t forget the water and sunscreen! 

5. Experience nature.  I’m fortunate enough to live in Colorado, with mountains-a-plenty.  But no matter where you live, there’s surely interesting terrain.  Ask around town some good spots to explore (a local Facebook group is another great resource, as is Google).  There are probably dozens of great places for you and your kids to explore and learn about!

Need more ideas?  A simple Google search of “free or cheap things to do this summer with kids” will probably give you enough to do to keep you busy!  Of course, a little ice cream here and there can’t hurt either.