Whether you’re taking on the responsibility of watching a few kiddos this summer, or just looking for some ideas for your babysitter, keeping everyone entertained on a budget is a challenge.
A trip to the pool or movie theater will cost you, especially multiple visits per week with snacks included. These ideas should help keep kids occupied and separated from their gaming consoles this summer.
Find the free nature nearby.
Don’t waste the good weather. Search your city’s parks page for the best playgrounds, such as Penguin Park in the Northland, gardens and nature walks in your community. Find out whether your kids are more into ducks or delphiniums on a stroll around small lakes like the one in Merriam’s Antioch Park. Or, set aside a day to explore Lakeside Nature Center in Swope Park.
Treat museums like summer school.
You could spend weeks exploring the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but it’s not the only spot in town. The Kemper Museum, the Nerman Museum, the Federal Reserve Bank’s Money Museum and even the Hallmark Visitors Center will spark little imaginations. Take along sketchbooks and some crayons and have a scribble picnic between exhibits.
Unleash your imagination at home.
If it’s too hot to venture far from home, create an at-home adventure. Spend a day creating a giant chalk drawing on the driveway, or declare a boring morning pirate costume time. If your flowers need watering, combine the chore with outdoor sprinklers to cool everyone down.
Don’t forget the animals.
We have a few memberships that we use year-round: Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead and the Kansas City Zoo are perfect for my kiddos. Deanna Rose is a great place for them to learn about farm life and get up close to goats, pigs and other animals. One nice feature of the membership is that if we have just an hour or two to visit, we don’t feel like we have wasted the entrance fee. The zoo offers a different experience each time we go, depending on which species feels like putting on a show.
The key is finding activities that will keep your kids off the couch without emptying the cookie jar. Don’t be afraid to walk out the door without a specific destination in mind. And when they determine their favorite places, let the little ones choose once in a while.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.