No family should spend more than they can afford on a luxurious vacation only to return just in time to face even more expenses in getting their kids back in school. Why not cancel the vacation away this year and find cheap things to do at home instead?
An idea we have tried with great success is the, Project a Week, idea. Not only are the kids excited by having something new to look forward to every week of the summer, but they also learn a lot in the process without even realizing it.
If you’d like to give it a try, here are some suggestions to get you started.
Get In Shape Week
After being cooped up at school all year, your kids are more than ready for Get In Shape Week. Make a list of different physical activities for every day of the week. Have a Hike To The Top Of The Mountain day, a Go Swimming At The Local Pool day, a Visit The Local Animal Shelter or Pet Store day, a Go Skating day, a Go Fishing in the Nearest River day, a Neighborhood Basketball day, a Rent a Boat at the Nearest Lake day, etc.
Pick things as close to home as possible, and if you can, hike to each one. Maybe, on the last day of the week, since you have done such inexpensive things the rest of the week, you can have a Hike to the Local Ice Cream Store day
Learn To Do Something New Week
Have each family member pick out a project and get involved in it all week long. On Friday afternoon, have each person present an activity demonstrating what he has learned that week. You might want to have a list of suggestions for those who can’t think of a project of their own. Here are just a few possibilities.
1. Learn about foods that are popular in another country. Use the library or internet to find some recipes, and then, to demonstrate their new knowledge, actually cook and serve one or more of the items to the family.
2. Find out 100 interesting facts about the state you live in. For a demonstration they could pick the most unusual facts and illustrate them with pictures or talk about them, or even prepare a quiz on your state for the rest of the family to take.
3. Learn some basic sewing skills you don’t already know. For a small child, this might include learning to sew a button on, doing straight stitching by hand, or a simple embroidery stitch or two. For older kids, it could be as complicated as making a garment on the sewing machine.
4. Learn to play a simple musical instrument. This could include learning the history of that instrument and treating the family to a few songs.
5. Make a list of words you might find useful to know if you were to visit a foreign country. Learn how to say those words in the language of that country and demonstrate your ability to say them to the family.
6. Learn to plan a meal, purchase the supplies needed, cook the meal, and serve it to the family.
7. Make a neighborhood map, showing each house and any unusual landmarks that might help someone find their way around. T ransfer the map to a large chart and color in grassy areas, each house in its current color, and add any other details you can think of before showing it to the family for your demonstration.
Rent Cheap Movies Week
Assign one night of the week to each family member. For this one night, he or she gets to choose what you have for dinner, what video you will rent from the video store, and what snacks, within reason, you will serve during the video. That family member gets to serve the snacks. This is an inexpensive evening, but one the kids will look forward to all day long—especially when it is their day to do the choosing.
Help The Needy Week
Have family members gather canned goods and used clothing items from friends and neighbors during the week and then make an appointment to deliver the items and take a tour of the local mission at the end of the week.
This is a real eye-opener for kids who have never faced real poverty in their lives. After such a tour with my grandchildren several years ago, we were told that each child who arrives at the mission is given a small quilt to keep for his very own. My granddaughter, only 12 at the time, decided to make a baby quilt for one of these children, which she did and we made another trip to deliver it. a few weeks later.
There are countless other titles we could attach to each week of the summer. Of course the activities under each title will not fill every minute of your kids’ summer, nor should they. Children need time to do things on their own, but having a project of the week will give them something just a little extra to look forward to and assure that they won’t have time to miss the usual summer vacation away from home.