Summertime is here along with its parade of outdoor activities: swimming lessons, soccer teams, baseball games. If you are not careful, summertime can be more hectic than the school year. Here are four inexpensive ways to enjoy a slower and simpler summer with your children:

Bubbles – Have you met a child (young or old) that didn’t enjoy making bubbles? Instead of buying the expensive bottles in the store, you can make your own for much less. Here is a tried and true recipe for making an endless amount for your family to enjoy:
2 quarts of water
4 – 6 Tbsp. of liquid dish detergent
3 – 4 drops of glycerin (Can be purchased at discount stores in the
cosmetics department)

Sidewalk art
– Purchase washable, colored chalk and let your children create their own murals on the driveway or on the sidewalks around your house. Enlist the aid of an unbiased judge, and have a competition for most unique or most colorful drawing or suggest a theme.

Scavenger hunt – Make a list of items that can be found in your back yard. Let your children decorate an old grocery paper bag (the ones with handles work great), and print their names on it. Draw pictures of the items they need to find or write the list on the back of the bag if your children can read. Offer a special frozen treat to everyone who finishes the hunt. Offer a grand prize to the one who finds the most – water toys are always a cool idea!

Picnics – Pack a picnic lunch and either bike or hike to a favorite spot. Bring an old blanket so you can all lie on the ground and find animal shapes in the clouds. Best of all, you won’t have any crumbs on the floor to clean up when you are done.