Summertime…and the boredom is ON! One thing is sure, our kids are bored! This summer, I plan on making the most of our activities and NOT stay bored at home. We are spending some time in Virginia this summer and of course, home here in PA. That gives me lots of great activities for the kids to do!
1. Zoo Scavenger Hunt
The zoo is always a fun, family friendly idea. To add to the adventure, print out this scavenger hunt lists, like these from 123 Homeschool Me. Children check off each topic – animals, biome, classification – as they find them and it’s a great idea to add a reward for checking off their list. In Virginia, we may visit the Metro Richmond Zoo. This zoo offers a military discount too.
Find your local zoo and events at the National Zoo Website!
2. Museum Visit – Children’s or Science
A trip to a local children’s museum or science center is both fun and educational. This is great for both mom and kids. I recommend a children’s museum for little kids and older kids can do the science one.
Up here in PA, we have one in Bucks County and the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. In Virginia, it’s the The Children’s Museum of Richmond, has several different locations with different exhibits and that is perfect for a series of visits. They even host a “Special Needs Family Night” and offer a military discount. Children’s museums have a variety of exhibits, hands on activities, self-paced tours and sometimes even arts/crafts classes.
Science centers in PA include our very own Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown and the Franklin Institute in Philly.
3. National Park and Playground Tour
If you have a child who just completed the 4th grade, this summer is a perfect time to do a national park tour because kids can sign up for free park entry! With this pass 4th graders can bring family and friends on park adventures through the end of August! Homeschoolers and educators, you can get passes too and activity guides for educational activities!
Visit Map of Play to find a play area near you! Also, many national parks and museums offer a military discount.
4. Aquarium or Marine Hospital
Aquariums are fantastic for summer because they are inside and of course, the water! My kids love sea life and this is a great visit. For many of us, it’s a bit of a drive to the closest aquarium but worth it. We’ve been to Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ many times – ideal for Shark Week (June 25-July 1)! When we travel, we may visit Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, but my husband is most interested in the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. We’ll see!
5. Movie Night
Most movie theaters offer kids’ movies during the day, for example, here we have $5 Tuesday night movies at the Carmike Theater in Saucon Valley Promenade Shops in PA, Steel Stacks boast free movies every Wednesday night! You can also get a whole listing of cheap or free movies here.
You can also check Fandango for local movie showings and order tickets so you can skip the non-child friendly long lines!
I have rediscovered bowling (even though I’m terrible at it), and guess what? My kids love it too. What better place to be when the temperatures start rising into the high 90s then a dark, cool bowling alley. And every summer, kids can bowl free! Check out Kids Bowl Free to find out how to get 2 free games for your kids all summer long.
In Lehigh Valley, we have so many summer festivals, including Blueberry Festival, Garlic Festival and Bubble Festival. My own hometown of has free car shows and other events all summer at our local park. We also have fire house exhibitions, dog shows, car shows, and more all free of charge. Google your county name + festivals to find some near you.
8. Free Music/Art Events
If you live in or near a trendy area, you might find that bands play free. Bookstores, from large ones like Barnes & Noble to our local one often have kid-friendly events, some are free. By us, Steel Stacks has free live music on most weekends – just bring your own chair! Check out your nearest art center for fun events going on locally.
9. Local Pools
If you live in a town that has its own safe pool, what better way to cool off with the kids on a nasty, humid day? Even if you’ve missed annual membership, you can offend attend for a few bucks ahead. We avoid the crowds by going 2-3 hours before ours closes!
10. Farmer’s Markets
Farmer’s markets don’t just take place on weekends and don’t just vend food! Our local market is open Thursday evenings, from 4PM-7PM, and features events like tonight’s Christmas in July. They also frequently offer
You can make visits to places like these more affordable with a pass, or by checking Groupon and Living Social. CityPASS is good for 12 cities, including Philly and New York. Baltimore has its own Harbor Pass.