Monday, June 27, 2016

Free and Low Cost Summer Activities for your Family
For many parents, summer poses the inevitable question: Now that the kids are home all day, what am I going to do with them?
Summer camps get expensive, as do visits to water parks, theme parks and other attractions. Grandparents love to see the kids arrive, but after long they wonder just what to do with them.
The good news is the answer doesn’t have to be too complicated.
Low and No Cost Ideas
Here are some free or cheap things to do with the kids this summer.
Play traditional card games or board games. This is not old-fashioned, but retro. Board game nights and trivia nights are popular in bars around the country. Your kids may love Yahtzee, gin rummy or poker played for pennies.
See free or cheap kids’ movies. Many movie theater chains, including Regal, Cinemark, AMC, show free or cheap kids’ films on weekday mornings during the summer. Get there early if you want a seat. Many cities and towns have free outdoor film festivals, and your local library may also show kids’ movies.
Go to a free concert in the park. Cities and towns nationwide put on free concerts in parks in the summer. That’s a great way to introduce kids to music and live performance without having to worry about whether they’ll squirm in their seats.
Let the kids help you cook. Not only does this sharpen math skills with school out, but also kids are more likely to eat healthy meals they help prepare. Plus, they’ll thank you later. How many young adults do you know who can’t cook and complain that their parents never taught them?
Share a hobby or craft. Do you sew, scrapbook, collect coins or do genealogy? Share that skill with your child or grandchild. If the child has expressed interest in a topic you haven’t mastered, do the research and create projects together.
Take up a sport or pastime as a family. Yoga, karate, bicycling and hiking are good sports for families to engage in together. The best part is you can stay fit and spend quality time with your family all at once.
Go bowling. Bowling lanes nationwide offer free bowling for kids in summer, though required shoe rental is usually extra. Most participating lanes permit two free games daily for registered families, but bowling times and other rules can vary. Hundreds of lanes across the country participate in the Kids Bowl Free program, and AMF also has a free summer kids bowling program. Check with your local lanes to see if they’re part of either program. 
Visit your town’s free attractions. Smaller, less popular museums or attractions may seem cheesy to you, but they’re magic to kids who have never seen them. An added plus is they often have much smaller admission fees than the most popular museums and zoos.
Take a field trip to a nearby town. Check with convention and visitors bureaus for information about special summer events and deals, as well as free attractions. "They know of only festivals the locals will know about," says Jody Halsted, an Iowa mother of two daughters who writes the blog.
Chicago, for example, has more than 400 neighborhood festivals each summer, which are listed on the city’s website. If your kids or grandkids are older, give them the task of doing the research and planning a day trip.
Give the kids a photography project. Everybody takes pictures these days. Let the youngsters choose a theme or subject and take photos all summer. They can then use those photos in a scrapbook, storybook, collage online slideshow or gift for relatives or friends.
Explore your local library. Not only can you borrow books for free, you can also check out movies and download music. Plus, many libraries have story times, movies and other activities for kids and teens during the summer. Most libraries have a summer reading program in which kids can earn free books or other prizes. Barnes & Noble also has a summer reading program that awards a free book to youngsters who read eight books and fill out a journal.
Fundraising Corner
Summer is a season full of fun, staying up late, taking vacations, and spending time with friends. It can also be the perfect time to volunteer and give back with some simple fundraising ideas. Whether it's your kids or yourself, everyone has a cause that means something to them. Arranging a summer party with a purpose is a wonderful way to keep everyone busy and help those in need. Summer fundraisers can be easy to organize, especially during a time of year when people have more flexible schedules
Here are some summer fundraiser ideas for you and your family to try this summer:
  • Have a charitable yard sale: Organize a neighborhood yard sale and donate all the proceeds to your favorite charity or community cause. Send digital invitations from The SignUp Hub with all the details.Plan a barbeque after the sale and get everyone together for some hot dogs, hamburgers, and s'mores. You can also ask a few charities to come to the sale and talk to people about their organizations. Ask people to make a personal contribution as well.
  • Volunteer outside: In every community, there are public areas that always need volunteers to help with the upkeep. Talk to your town or city officials and determine where and when you and other party-goers can help the community. It may be picking up trash, building a rock wall, or planting trees. Send digital invitations from The SignUp Hub with all the details. Whatever it is, spend a few hours helping out and then regroup for an outdoor party in someone's backyard. Set up an outdoor movie theater, serve popcorn, and enjoy the warm weather.
Once you've picked a summer fundraiser theme, all the pieces will fall into place and guests will be clamouring to attend. When you plan your event on The SignUp Hub, you can add a Donations request to your digital invitation and ask guests to contribute to the cause. This is also a great option for someone who can't attend to still participate in making a difference!
                                                                   More Ideas

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