Now that the summer solstice gives us more time between sunrise and sunset, Americans have officially entered the summer mode-using extra daytime to spend time with family. But in many states, the unemployment rate is above 10%, and the recession shows no signs of ending early. Many of us are cutting expenses. The Auto Club estimates that a traditional holiday requires an average of US$244 per day for two people, only for accommodation and meals. Add in airfares, children’s expenses and other expenses, and the price of a one-week family vacation could reach $10,000.
The economic recession has hit government agencies and individual families. Do you want to know how to entertain your children this summer? Many cities cancelled summer schools, county governments cut various services, and some state parks closed. So if you need to interact with kids this summer, here are some tips that can help you replace expensive summer activities with free and low-cost alternatives-the emerging trend of “accommodation”:
1. Make the most of your local library. Time may be reduced, but the library is still a great place for children to have fun. With the library card, you can buy DVDs and CDs and books without having to buy them. Moreover, many libraries are still sponsoring programs that benefit the whole family. Why not create a summer book club for your kids, teenagers or yourself? You can decide to read “beach books” or some classics, settle in a best-selling non-fiction category, beautifully written novels or award-winning titles. The choice is up to you. Your weekly discussion group will be fun for everyone.
2. View museums in your area. Many of them may enjoy days without holidays, especially for local residents. Plan a schedule in these few days or so so that you can introduce your children to art, history, nature, music and handicrafts. The good thing is that you will also learn something from these visits and enjoy the time you spend there. Visit a water park, zoo or aquarium that is performed for children. They will learn directly about the habitats and lifestyles of many species.
3. Enjoy free concerts, community festivals and low-cost theater productions in the park. Check your local newspaper for notifications about events near you. You and your children can experience various ethnic celebrations informally. Search for public tours of civil buildings and company business. Educational day trips to government offices and companies will give you the opportunity to view exquisite artwork and learn about what is happening behind the normally closed doors. Community theaters usually revive classics, musicals or novel avant-garde performances at reasonable prices. You can explore the small theaters in the city, or you can line up to buy discounted tickets in more sophisticated theaters.
4. Hang out with the children. Find a map of your neighborhood, then hike in the mountains, stroll in areas you have never explored before, or bike in the apartment by the lake. The community pool tour is fun for everyone. Plan to have a picnic at home or spend the night in your own backyard. Sitting in the stands to participate in a baseball game. If you can, drive to the lake or ocean to spend time with your family and enjoy the vast water scenery, the warmth of the beach, the sound of waves crashing, the smell of sunscreen, and the open blue sky. Or drive to the hills for a full day of hiking and camping in the simple beauty of nature. The park ranger may provide you with informative lectures about the flora and fauna you see.
5. Cook or bake together. Even in summer, it is always fun to hang out in the kitchen together. Make some real favorites that you have tried, such as chocolate chip cookies. Teach your children some of your old family recipes, or try some interesting new recipes. Summer may be the time to arrange a sultry night with family and friends. Everyone can participate to reduce costs and create diverse menus. Bring recipes to share, and you will have new dinner ideas for use in the coming year. In the evening, you can participate in entertainment performances and team games, and you can also set up board game competitions according to your children’s age.
6. Explore new fields or hobbies with children. Summer may be the right time to make people start to continue to warm up this strong interest. Do you want to build a family tree? Now, take a moment to go online and start researching. Organize snapshots? Find these photos and arrange them in an attractive scrapbook or e-book. Understanding the universe and staring at the stars? Visit a planetarium, observatory or library. Buy cheap fish with the kids-then teach them how to clean the bowl, how often to feed their pets, and even about the life cycle of the fish.
7 If possible, include some accommodation plans specifically for adults. Arrange a joint massage for you and your partner at the local spa. Take a day trip or short train trip-only two people. Splurge and stay at the nearby bed and breakfast. You will find that spending a romantic holiday alone will refresh your relationship with you.
Planning and conducting a real stay will free you from daily worries and create memories for your family to share throughout the year. Now that you have heard of many great ideas for accommodation without wasting money, go out and enjoy! Also, don’t forget to take a lot of photos so that you won’t forget any pleasant details.
©2009, Her Mentor Center