Saturday, July 21, 2012

Free Summer Activities to do with Children

This summer we've been enjoying a lot of free activities - some are new things while others are favorite activities we've done for years. Here are some of the things we've done that are free this summer:

Activities at the state parks. 

We live near two state parks, and both are offering quite a few programs for children and families. We have learned about owls, fish, skulls, rocks, geology, and life in the glacial potholes. 

Also, there have been many hands-on activities with each program. For example, we learned to rock climb, paddle a canoe, dissect an owl pellet (and determine what the owl ate), and make a dream catcher.

Sophia and Olivia trying to determine 
to what animal the skull belonged.


The website says that geochaching is a “real-world treasure hunting outdoor game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices” such as your smart phone “and then share their experiences online.”

Reading a Clue for Geocaching
The girls geocaching at a local state park.
(May 26, 2012)

Activities in towns and cities within an hour's drive. We've enjoy some small-town festivals, farm tours, a stamp show, and other free activities...all within 50 miles of where we live.

Olivia Playing Animal Croquet

Olivia playing animal croquet
at a small-town festival.

(June 1, 2012)

Take a Hike.  On cooler days, we enjoy hiking - either on our farm, around the rural area where we live, or at nearby state parks. We especially enjoy trails that have special features - like lots of wildlife, a waterfall, river, or lake.

Hike to the Monument
Sophia and Olivia hiking in a forest
(June 10, 2012)

Enjoy hobbies.

Summer is a good time to build upon a child's interest and/or introduce her/him to a new hobby. One of the hobbies that we enjoy is stamp collecting. We use postage stamps quite a bit in homeschooling, and each of us does a special collection for the county fair.

Each year, in July, there is a free stamp show that draws dealers and customers from all over the mid-west. There are several youth activities, and the vendors always seem excited when they see children taking an interest in stamp collecting.

Sophia is looking for stamps featuring U.S. presidents, and
Olivia is looking for stamps with snow leopards and 
other animals on them.

Visit Family Farms.

We have enjoyed going to many small, family-owned and operated farms this summer - including vegetable/produce and dairy farms. These were all free tours - and one even had a free lunch! 

Going on farm tours helps Sophia and Olivia (and other children) understand where their food comes from and why supporting local farmers is such an important undertaking. 

Autumnwood Milking Barn
Cows at a dairy farm.

Girls & Colton Ready for Tour
Sophia, Olivia, and their cousin ready to go into the creamery
to see how milk is pasteurized and bottled.
Everyone had to wear blue, plastic boots 
to keep the facility clean.

Inspire Learning While Having Fun.

Many of the activities we do have some sort of educational component to them. In June, we went to southwestern Minnesota and southeastern South Dakota. We learned a lot about this area, and discovered some new things that none of knew which was exciting.

At the Start of the Des Moines River

Sophia at the start of the Des Moines River 
(in southwestern Minnesota). 
The brown ledge is part of a bridge 
that is over a dam leading from 
a lake to the start of the river.
(June 10, 2012)


Donate some time to your local animal shelter, visit a nursing home, or make some artwork for sick children or the troops. There are so many ways that children can make a difference in the lives of others.

One of the projects we're doing is collecting 1,000 books to establish a library in Lesotho, Africa. Currently, we have 737 books...only 263 left! Our goal is to collect all the books by the end of September, and then raise the funds needed to ship the books to Africa.

Books We're Donating to the Book Drive
Sophia and Olivia with some of the books 
for the library in Africa.
(June 16, 2012)

There are many free things to do, and summer - with the extra time off of schooling (whether at home or at a public/private school) - offers a perfect time to do meaningful, educational, and fun activities.


Patty A said...

Looks like there's tons of fun stuff over there. Wish we had some of that over here.

Mandy Currie said...

I do so enjoy your blog, you've such a full life and do so many interesting things. You're girls must be ever so clever.

Mrs. K said...

Coming over from the summer blog challenge :) As a park ranger/mom/often volunteer and believer in getting the kids outdoors, I LOVED this post! I'm your newest follower :)

Dorky Crystal said...

All of that looks so fun! I've read about the Geocaching, and I know we have a few of those here, but I haven't really looked into them. I'll have to give it a try. I bet the girls have a really good time with all of those activities!