Is your family, like ours, looking for Summer activities that draw the family together, but which are free or nearly so?
These ideas can strengthen family and spiritual bonds, all the while building happy memories that your children--and you--may treasure for years to come.
With warmest regards from our family to yours,
Free, Cheap, and/or Priceless Summer Activities to Enjoy with Your Family
Beginning with your wedding album, share family photos and memories of births, baptisms and more with your children. If you don't have a family album, sorting those precious photos and placing them in albums together is a bonding experience in itself, full of reminders of Our Lord's abiding presence in your family.
Draw hopscotch squares on your sidewalk and hop along with your children.
Let the children plan and pack lunch for a family picnic at a favorite spot. Is there a lonely grandpa or grandma in your neighborhood? Invite them to come, too.
Play catch or jump rope with your children.
Volunteer at a church-sponsored soup kitchen. Feed the hungry, and thank God for His many blessings!
Schoolyards are empty most weekends and summertime. Fly kites there, or play baseball.
Help each child plant his own pot of tomato or flower seeds. [For gardening ideas with young children in mind, see Onions in My Boots: Basic Gardening for Young Sprouts.]
Go walking or biking. Explore a little beyond your neighborhood. Are there any parks that are close by, but that you've never visited?
Teach your children to sew! [See Sewing with Saint Anne for sewing lessons and projects.]
Catch fireflies and put them in a jar. Put the jar where the children can see it from their beds. Marvel at God's creation!
Cook or bake a favorite family recipe that has been handed down from the previous generation. Thank God for families!
Piece a puzzle together. If you have a large family, divide into teams and work two puzzles, racing to see which team completes its puzzle first!
Commit to reading aloud, every night for two weeks, one chapter from a book. [For tweens and teens, perhaps you'd like to use these relaxed Summer days to discuss 'growing up themes' from Tackling Tough Topics or Growing Up in God's Image.]
Clothe the naked! Give each child two sacks, one for toys and one for clothing, and have them sort outgrown toys and clothing to give to St. Vincent de Paul. [Toss out worn items; donate the best.]
Take your children to visit a shrine [or the diocesan Cathedral].
Read together and then select a father-son or mother-daughter summer activity from The Young Man's Handybook or A Girl's Guide to Home Skills.
Introduce your children to Charades.
Print out the words 'Baptism, Confession, Holy Matrimony, Annunciation.' See how many new words can be created using the letters in those words. Score one point for each new word. [Age 15 and up, words must be at least five letters long. Ages 10-15, words must be at least four letters long. Younger children receive points for words of any length.]
Start a family or neighborhood summer book club/lending library. [Browse the books at the following link for a head-start in building your home library.]
Begin a family add-on story. [In a notebook, one person begins the story by writing one or two paragraphs. The notebook is then passed to the next person to do the same, until everyone has contributed at least a paragraph. Leave the notebook out so everyone has access to it to make additions as they spring up in the imagination.]
Host a family or neighborhood paper airplane contest, run in the sprinklers, learn to juggle...
Share your Summer Time Ideas! Post them on CHC's Facebook page to share with other families!