By Rubina Ahmed-Haq
I’m bored! This comment is inevitable for mothers trying to entertain their kids during the long summer break. Often camps and programs for kids can be expensive and out of reach for families whose financial situation may have changed in the last few years.
Here are a few tips that are both fun and cost effective to keep your kids occupied all summer.
1) Plan With Your Kids
Sit down and ask your kids what THEY want to get out of the summer. Do they want to learn to swim, take an art class or perhaps spend more time with their cousins? Whatever it is, make sure your kids are part of the planning process, so they don’t have unreasonable expectations. This way you can decide on the programs that are affordable and space them throughout the summer. This will keep your kids occupied for the entire two months. Remember if you enrol your kids in programs they don’t like, it’s a waste of money and time.
2) Collaborate With Parents
Talk to other mothers in your neighbourhood with similar aged children. See if they would be willing to have a play date twice a week. Offer to share the duties of watching the kids. This will save you money and give you some time to yourself as well. Use social networking to coordinate and post pictures. Create a Facebook page. It’s a great way to keep in touch with several moms in your neighbourhood.
3) City Run Programs are Affordable
Contact your local parks and recreation department and library. City programs are affordable and sometimes free. Well-trained professionals operate the programs, which ensures your kids have the best experience. Also, check surrounding regions to see what programs they offer as well.
4) Your Kids are Little Project Mangers.
Give your children a “project for the summer.” Ask them if they want to build a tree house, or a fort in the backyard. If they like to paint, buy them a big canvas and watercolours and see their masterpiece come to life. Making this a summer project will help give kids something they can work on all summer. Tip: Ask the local grocery for big cardboard boxes that can be used to build a fort.
5) Plan For a Rainy Day
Stock up on DVDs that are on sale, borrow some from friends or order movies online. All are very good and affordable options. Pull out all the old board games and get your kids playing games the old fashion way. Visit your local Blockbuster, the company is bankrupt and clearing out their DVDs, also go to Value Village or Goodwill to find a good selection of board games.
Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a financial Journalist with more than 10 years of broadcasting experience. Her career spans three continents in radio, TV and online. As a financial Journalist she has worked at CP24, BNN and Newstalk 1010. Rubina has reported live from the TSX during the many months of the recent economic meltdown, she has commented on the stunning stock market recovery and put into perspective the day-to-day business stories that affect everyday people. Rubina has worked as an Anchor and Reporter at CBC, BBC and CFMT in Canada, England and Pakistan. She has recently launched her blog Always Save Money, its dedicated to helping Canadians save money in their everyday lives. Rubina’s motto is to save money on the little things so you can spend on the big things. She is an accomplished academic with a degree from York University, a Journalism diploma from Humber College and she holds her CSC designation.
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