What Are You Doing with Your Kids This summer.....ideas Needed !!!!

Updated on May 17, 2010
D.C. asks from Plano, TX
20 answers

I'm in desperate need of activities to do with my 9 and 3 year old.

I've planned movie theater visits (Toy Story 3, Marmaduke, Shrek) and a visit to the Zoo.

We have a pool so they'll be swimming daily (weather permitting) anyway.

But what else can we do ??

What have you guys planned ???

Thanks so much in advance !!!!!!!

2 moms found this helpful

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You guys are AWESOME !!!!!

I love all your suggestions.....so much to do.....

Thanks sooooooooo much !!!!!!!!!

Featured Answers



answers from Toledo on

Pick up a Family Fun magazine or go to familyfun.com. There are great and creative ideas for things to do. A lot of them will keep them busy at home. Good luck and have a great summer!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Sharkarosa Ranch is a good, inexpensive place to spend a good part of the day; not too far away and they have all sorts of animals and such.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

Have you checked out your local rec center? I am signing the kids up for Soccer this year and possibly gymnastics. There are SO many choices -- and makes easy and cheap kid entertainment.

The three year old would probably like Story Time at the Library.

Barnum and Bailey's Circus is coming at the end of summer :) We're definitely getting tickets.

What about going to a farm and picking fresh fruit? http://www.pickyourown.org/TXdallas.htm Here is a list of local farms.

Some DFW ideas -- http://www.discoverdfw.com/attractions.htm

Good luck :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Hi there, my kids are 8 and 2 so these suggestions should be relevant for you too.

We purchase season passes to our local amusement/water park every summer. They include free parking, bring a friend discounts, and early entry to the waterpark and only cost about twice the amount of a regular ticket so they're totally worth it. We go at least once every two weeks all summer.

We take the kids on at least one camping trip every summer to include hiking, spelunking, nature education programs, survival skills training etc.

Our local community center (parks and rec) sponsors many wonderful programs for families all summer long including things like friday night flicks, play groups, fishing derbies, parent/child classes including music, foreign languages, crafts, cooking etc.. and most of them are cheap to free.

We live close to the Smithsonian so we're always driving into DC to check out another of the Smithsonian buildings...find a local children's museum, they're usually packed with great activities for kids and most major cities have one.

Fun and cheap things to do at home include:
side-walk chalk
bubbles including trying recipes found online for make-your-own-bubble-soap
nature walks to look for animal tracks (find a book online to help you recognize these)
library story time or just perusing the library for interesting books
walk to your local playground if you've got one
slip-n-slides are still a favorite
plan and execute a garden (veggie, flower or spice) - there are tons of book available that can help you with this and millions of ways to do it, you don't have to have a lot of land available or any really if you're putting together a container garden
arts and crafts
write a play together and act it out for dad or grandma
go to an appliance store and ask for a huge cardboard box then transform it into a puppet show - make puppets out of socks or cut outs and popsicle sticks and put on a show
order a butterfly garden and watch them grow and transform
put together a scavenger hunt for your kids, help your younger one with the clues and have something great for the prize at the end
buy a book (or if you have a Droid download the Google Sky app) on the constellations and lay out at night to see if you can learn some astronomy together
build a fire in the evening and make s'mores, roast hot dogs and sing campfire songs (if you don't know any, then either sing silly children's songs, or look some campfire songs up online)
build a tree fort together
form a book club with another family - read the same book together as a family one week that they are reading, then get together with focus questions and discuss the book you all read
encourage childhood enterpreneurship (summer is perfect for this) by helping them put together a lemonade stand or build birdhouses and try to sell them or selling the fruits of your gardening labors or your older child can start a lawn mowing service...

etc... etc... etc.... Just get creative, find something you can all get into and get started. Even if things don't go perfectly, the results can still be funny and entertaining! We've done all of these with our children at one point or another and we all had a blast!

Best of luck for a fun summer with your kids!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

vacation Bible school

the summer reading program at our library

the summer reading program at Half-Price Books (google it)

attending shows at our local children's theatre and community center

attending programs at our local library and our local county park

kids bowl free at AMF lanes (google it)

hitting the playgrounds in local neighborhoods


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The Arboretum is a great place to go - they have Peter Rabbits houses on exhibit right now.
Pump it up has a lot a drop in jump times
Free storytime & movies, etc at the library
There are tons of summer day camps out there - my daughter is taking one at The Dallas Museum of Art, Kids Cooking Company, Gotta Dance, and Woga Gymnastics
Vacation Bible Schools are cheap or free at most churches all during the summer
Last year we got a Season Pass to Hawaiian Falls Water Park - that was fun - they also have a lot of activites and movie nights
My daughter is going to play indoor soccer with Plano Sports Authority
The movie theaters have free movie days or very cheap
There are cheap workshop days for kids crafts at Joann's. They have an open house on June 12 where you can sign up for classes half price
The Zoo, museums, and Arboretum all have day camps and one day workshops

If you are in the Plano, Frisco, or Allen area or even if you're not, there are lots of ideas for free things to do and for camps at Aroundtownkids.com

Hope you have a fun summer!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We got a zoo pass and will be getting a texas parks pass(hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, picnic- it is really worth it- I think it's about $45).
Chores in the morning. Gardening. Outside play time. Friends over. You don't have to do something big every day- I would do it maybe once a week. We also do movie/game nights on Fridays. We do video games or board games or we rent a movie- we have popcorn and snacks. We have also done $1.50 dinners- everyone gets $1.50 and we go to the store to see what we can buy for $1.50. The rules are: you can buy whatever you like, but it has to be under $1.50- you are allowed to combine your money with anyone(you might have to raise the amount to $2- there are 7 of us and you can get alot for $10.50!)
My kids love to do different crafts so I have paper, glue, glitter, sequins, felt, pipe cleaners, etc. on hand for them to use. We have made paper plate masks and painted rock animals.
Just have fun!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I only have a 2 yr old, we love to window shop, go to the pet store and the animal shelter to pet and see the animals. But found this online the other day - Reading Clubs around town at local bookstores. Your kids can earn free books. I haven't seen all the forms yet, but don't think there's anything that says that you can't read to your 3 yr old with the Borders/HalfPrice/ChuckECheese ones. See links and descriptions below:

Barnes & Noble - for kids in Grades 1 thru 6, you can earn a free book after reading 8 and some locations also have a regularly scheduled story time. Starts May 25 and ends September 7. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/summerreading/

Borders "Double Dog Dare" - for kids under 12 you earn a free book after reading 10 books There are 10 titles to choose from for your free book. Starts May 4 and ends August 26. http://www.borders.com/online/store/MediaView_doubledogda...

Half-Price Books "Feed Your Brain" - Stop by a Half-Price Books and CiCi's Pizza where your kids can make money on reading! Kids under 14 can earn a $3 Half-Price Books gift card each week (up to $27 if you participate every week) for every week they read at least 15 minutes a day from June 1 to July 31. Talk about a rewarding reading program! http://www.halfpricebooks.com/feed_your_brain.html

Chuck E. Cheese Reading Rewards Calendar - fill the reading chart for 2 weeks and turn it into Chuck E. Cheese for 10 free tokens (with pizza purchase). https://www.chuckecheese.com/promotions/pdf/RewardReading...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm all about saving money...

We buy the Six Flags Season Pass. For just $50 per person you can go as often as you want. We like to go for just 3 hours at a time, so we don't feel completely exhausted and we dont' have to eat a meal there. Plus did you know that Six Flags in Arlington is open until the first weekend of january the following year? Yep. A deal WELL worth the $50.

Also, if you're going to do movies, check out the local movie theater "kids clubs" or something like that. SMG, Cinemark, and United Artists theaters around me have movies on Tues or Wed or Thurs for $1 or 50 cents or free at around 10am. They go on all summer long. It's CHEAP entertainment and Air Conditioned!!!

We also go to the splash park, which is a free park but it's got water features that squirt up from the ground or pour down from overhead, etc. But we're down here in Arlington, I don't know what's up there by you.

Also, we do the library a ton. Again, air-conditioned.

I second the VBS programs. They are always free and teach kids good values.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lafayette on

Most public libraries have free children's activities like book clubs, craft times, puppet shows, etc. In season, can visit a pick your own farm, or grow a garden at your home. Are there parks where they can go play with other kids? Our local scouts, 4H and YMCA sponsor summer camps. Some are overnight and some are day camps. Do you enjoy fishing?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Pool, pool, pool! Definitely enjoy that. I can't wait until we can have our own. We will do lots of swimming this summer also. Little Elm has a public beach that is free and pretty fun. Kind of a change from a pool.

Check out the hiking trails. In Denton we have Greenbelt 380 and Lake Ray Roberts. Bring a backpack with lots of water and snacks. It's guaranteed to wear kids of any age out. Bring a bug net and let the 3 yr old attempt to catch bugs.

Also in Denton we have the Concerts at the Courthouse. One is every Wednesday at lunchtime and the other is every Thursday at 6:30. They will go on until the end of June. Bring a blanket and or lawn chair, picnic lunch and you are good to go. It also introduces the kids to different music that you might not always listen to. There are also some great restaurants to pick up/ eat at when you are there. Beth Maries has delicious ice cream that they make themselves.

Sharkarosa is somewhere in this area. We haven't been yet but I have heard it is really fun.

We will probably go to the Fort Worth Zoo and if I get brave enough we may venture into Dallas to the museums.

Good luck. For the first time ever my daughter has been in preschool so I am also wondering how we are going to fill all of our days.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

All great suggestions, we used to set up our tent in the back yard and camp out there.. Especially during the week.

When (and if) it ever rain, we would make our living room as dark as possible during the day And poll out all of our sheets, blankets, pillows and build forts in the living room. We would have flash lights and watch videos or read stories..

I would collect huge refrigerator boxes or appliance boxes and let our daughter construct a maze to crawl through.. We would tape it all together..

Have a lemonade stand or do a bake sale and donate the money.

Lots of picnics with dad at lunch.. We would pick him up and take him to a nearby park or he would meet us there for a special lunch.

Have a fun summer..

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

We are in an area with several libraries around the city. Most of them have schedules for the summer already with reading sessions, activities, crafts, family movie nights, etc. Sadly, some of the activities are not geared toward multiple age groups, but a 9-year-old can read while the younger one does part of a group. See if your local park departments have community activities as well. I am putting together a list of activity options for my husband, who is the one mostly home with our boys as well. :)

If you have the option, you might try a zoo membership instead of just a visit. For a lot of zoos it is considered a non-profit donation with the benefit of a pass (so you can claim it later) and you can go anytime you are in the area, even if you are just squeezing in an hour or two. Some of them let you in earlier or later as well than normal hours (that is assuming you don't already have a pass).

See if there are any national parks or attractions within a hour or so and team up with another mom and a few kids for day trips--pack a cooler to keep it cheap. I think we're both getting our fishing licenses this summer (I usually don't because in the past I've been hanging out with a baby while my husband fished with the older one or alone), so fishing trips are always great, even if you don't catch anything. Or, if you have any fish hatcheries, farms, etc, see if they have anything for visitors, like a petting zoo day, etc. Someone also mentioned Barnes and Noble--a lot of bookstores host special events or activities throughout the year. One of the Lowes stores in our area (hardware store--always a fun trip just to shop!) has a Saturday morning project for kids that is every other week and free, usually building something small.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Macon on

the local movie theaters often have free day or you might have to buy a drink to get in. The movies are sometimes last years or so but they are great with a 3 yr old because if he/she gets restless in the middle than no money spent and no sweat if they want to leave. be careful because some movies may be inappropriate. if you are into this, bible vacation school is usually a week long and most churches have them. the museums have extra activties for kids, sometimes free. the book stores all have reading sessions. my kid has been going since before she could crawl and she gets a cup of goldfish, a story, a coloring page (you may have to bring your own), time to play with the trains, and then we go to the cafe, each with three books to look over and sometimes we get a treat! now she can go to the bookstore at 4 and spend 2 to 3 hours there! the libraries all have reading programs and osmetimes we even drive to the next town over if they have something better that week. also, the libraries have summer reading programs that any kid, any age can sign up for. the fancy shmancy school in your area may also have camps. Mine charges 105 dollars for a week of activities and she loves it (the tuition during the school year is 11000 so it is a way to try to hook you in!). Sometimes we will take short day trips to a nearby town and just browse/shop or do something there that you can't do in your own town! It is low cost comparitively! Does your town have a gym like Sportzquest or Gymnest? Classes are relatively cheap and it doesn't matter if your kid is a boy or girl. At 3 and 4, they just love to do this. Look into tumbling or dance. I recommend Karate for the older kid. It will actually help build their confidence, teach them how to protect themselves, get them better grades, be active, and learn listening/patience technqiues. The younger one can't begin until 5. For us, there is a nature preserve 18 miles away and we go in the early morning before it gets too hot and walk around. Zoo, aquariums, and science museums all have kid activities which you can sign up for even if it is a little drive. Children museums within a few hours is like a slice of busy heavenliness! Also, look up indoor slides. My kid loves them (and not kangaroo Bob, Monkey Joe stuff but the more local mom&pop places which cost less than $5 but keep kids running for hours!). Going anywhere out of the house can be an adventure that is different. we go to pet stores or the mall or sometimes to a different playground-- some of those pick yor own fruit farms have superb playgrounds too! check on line for suggestions in your area!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

We do a ton of camping, have every year since the boys where just tiny babies. They love the outdoors and all the adventures they have.

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answers from New York on

we will do a lot of beach, parks, sandy parks (love those), movies, playdates, barnes and noble, eating out, ice cream runs, and then yard play. we don't have a pool but the beach is nearby
of course if the summer is anything like last year then we will be miserable. it rained through july and only got to use the beach for 2 weeks the entire summer. so sad.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The Heard Museum in McKinney is nice. Has inside exhibits- dinosaur bones, shells, jewels & more. Also has outdoor hiking paths through beautiful wooded and wetlands areas. Lengths vary from 1 to 3 miles.

My kids also enjoy visits to Owens Farm in Richardson. Has animals to see, displays of old farm items, and a hay ride.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

For our 7/8 year old (july bday)

- School (we homeschool, and school year round... in addition to stuff we do at home, he's also in art & music & gymnastics classes)
- Swimming
- Swimming lessons
- Sailing lessons
- Drama Camp (1 week, day camp)
- Circus Camp (1 week, day camp)
- Home remodeling (sigh. as always ;)
- Hiking
- Camping (for real camping, and backyard camping)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

almost every church has vacation Bible school and you do not have to be a member for them to attend. If you do not have a home church it is a good way to find one. Most public libraries have summer reading programs. Those are generally free, I do not know what your budget is but there are tons of camps from sports to arts to education. The three year old may be too young but the 9 year old is at a great age.

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answers from Philadelphia on

How about your local church for Daily Vacation Bible School for a week.
Going to a lake to picnic or fish.
Playgrounds of course.
Please touch museums (if you have those there!)
Are you taking a small vacation? Maybe go camping.
Amusement parks and theme parks. (Go on days that they are having specials so that it doesn't cost as much.)
You know when I was a kid we never did anything. We had a pool and always had neighborhood kids over to play and swim. We would take a two week vacation to go camping and that was it. We never felt like we were lacking or missing out on anything. Kids don't have majorly high expectations, it's the parents that do. If you don't express boredom or disappointment your kids most likely won't either!
Have a good summer.

1 mom found this helpful
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