15 Cost-Effective Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained This Summer

ANDREA KARR

JUN, 10TH, 2019 IN LIVE WELL
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Your kids could be home for all of July and August, twiddling their thumbs and complaining to you about having nothing to do. Or you could have a list of kids’ activities ready to keep them entertained and off their devices. Here are 15 things to do with kids, from the classics to the creative, with sure fire hits that will keep everyone happy. Try putting each idea on a strip of paper in a jar for the kids to reach for when they’re bored.

1. Pack a picnic
Instead of eating lunch at the kitchen table, get the children to make their own sandwiches and help pack a lunch that can be eaten in the backyard or in a nearby park after a bike ride. Stock up on fresh produce, meats, breads and President’s Choice® brand snacks from a nearby Loblaw banner store. 

2. Take a hike
There may be parks, ravines and hiking trails in your area that you didn’t even know existed. Bring your bikes or lace up your runners and explore your city with the young ones in tow. 

3. Camp in the backyard 

Pitch a tent (or even string up a few sheets) in the backyard and do a little stargazing. If you can’t see the stars, an evening of outdoor snacks, singing songs and making shadow puppets with flashlights should be more than enough to keep them happy.

4. Draw on the sidewalk with chalk

Find a patch of pavement and go to town.

5. Bake cookies or make a pizza
Any kind of food prep that requires plenty of assembly is great for kids, whether that means baking a batch of cookies and decorating them with icing and sprinkles, playing pizza shop for the night or making a popcorn or ice cream sundae bar. 

6. Walk, brush and play with the family dog
If the kids begged for a family pet but you did most of the walking and feeding once it arrived, the summer months are the perfect time for them to take on a little responsibility. If they’re old enough, they can teach it tricks, give it an outdoor bath, take the dog  for a walk or play fetch. 

7. Take a tour of a nearby factory or child-friendly museum
Do a quick internet search of the factories, museums and monuments in your area—especially anything that’s free on certain days of the week or month or deeply discounted for kids under 12. There might be events, tours and fun activities for kids on their calendars.

8. Find a pen pal 

Have each child choose a friend or family member who lives in another province or country and get them to exchange weekly drawings, pictures and little presents like bookmarks or stickers. 

9. Wash the car 

Give the children small jobs around the house. If age appropriate, have them water the flowers, wash the car or bikes, help paint the fence or help with yard work. 

10. Host a neighbourhood potluck
Whip up a dish using President’s Choice brand ingredients and get to know your neighbours while helping your children make new friends (if they don’t already know the local kids). If you have a group of parents in your area, you can take turns watching the little ones—and giving yourself extra time for your own to-do list.

11. Paint rocks, pots, T-shirts and more
Set up a craft bin or corner that kids can access when they’re feeling creative. If they need a little more structure, pick up specific items they can decorate, such as boxes, rocks, T-shirts, flower pots and more. 

12. Check out free programming at your library

They’re not just for borrowing books (although that’s a fun activity in itself)! Many libraries feature kids’ activities in their weekly programming, such as story time, crafting, puppet shows and more. 

13. Watch free movies in the park
Keep an eye on your community listings for free events in your local park—from movies and music to children’s festivals, dog breed get-togethers and other fun things to do with kids.

14. Do good
It’s never too early to teach your children about helping others and the planet. Sign up to visit the elderly in nursing homes, volunteer at a food drive or shelter or even pick up trash in your neighbourhood.

15. Set reading goals
If you have a family of young readers, they’ll likely never need more than a stack of books for entertainment. But if getting your kids to crack a book is a never-ending battle, help them set goals with tangible rewards and see if they can learn to love—or at least tolerate—reading.
 
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