Wednesday, April 18, 2012

20 Summer Activities with our Kids that are Budget-Friendly

It’s summer time! Parents and kids alike are excited to enjoy the good weather, the sun, and to go some place where their families can bond. But aside from going to the pool or beach to swim, can our families also have a good time together this summer? Yes, of course!

You might be asking, what other activities can the kids and the parents alike do that are simple and easy on the budget? Let me share some activities that I have identified last year before the summer months and which I continue to use as guide as I plan our summer activities. This list can be long and I don’t recommend that you stress yourself trying to squeeze each and every activity on this list in the next six weeks of summer. As I’ve mentioned, I started using this list as guide since last year. That means my family and I did not do all these activities last year and I’m not planning to do all of them either this year. We did some last summer. My plan is to choose from this list again a number of activities we can do this summer. So, I encourage you to just pick a few or a number from this list what you think would be most enjoyable for your kids and yourself and schedule when to do them in the coming days.
Yanthy with my parents during our picnic
to celebrate my father's birthday.
1. Have a picnic. I love picnics! Many of my happy memories as a child are during our family picnics. I’d like to continue this family tradition in my own family now. It’s simple and very affordable but the joys that it brings lasts a lifetime. We already had a picnic at Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in Quezon City two years ago when my father’s celebrated his birthday with his first grandson. Yanthy was only a year old then. While it brought back good memories for me and my parents, it created new wonderful memories for my young family. One good thing about Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife is that the entrance fee is only P8.00 for non-students or adults and senior citizens enjoy free entrance. They also have picnic huts and picnic tables that you can use for free. So when we went there in the afternoon, we just brought with us food and drinks and enjoyed ourselves while having a picnic at one of the picnic tables. Yanthy had some time to wander around but the mini zoo was already closed by the time we were finished eating. The mini zoo is open only until 4 pm. Thus, we plan to go back again there in the future.

During an ocular of La Mesa Ecopark in preparation for
the outing of the singles in our community.
My husband and I, together with our kids, have yet to have a picnic at Rizal Park, UP Sunken Garden and La Mesa Ecopark. We’ve been to UP before to walk and run around when I was still pregnant with our second baby. Next time, we will definitely have a picnic and do more stuff together. My husband and I had been to La Mesa Ecopark several times in the past when we were still single. We had a lot fun there before with our single friends so we also look forward to having fun there with our tots. Just like in Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, there is minimal entrance fee. It’s only P50.00 for non-QC residents. You can even grill your own food there because they have barbeque pits that you can rent for a small fee. That would make your picnic experience extra special.

2. Biking – You and your kids can do this in your neighborhood or at CCP Complex. My family planned to go to CCP Complex last year to bike but it didn’t push through. I hope we can go biking there this year at least one weekend since we go to PICC every Sunday to attend The Feast (our community’s weekly worship celebration with Holy Mass and talk). Just make sure that the kids are not left unattended especially when biking in areas where there are no assigned bike lanes and that they wear helmets while biking. This Sunday, my family and I will join in the celebration of Earth Day 2012 at the CCP. There will be plenty of activities such as family fun run, picnic for the planet, doodling, face painting and mural painting for kids, kite-making workshop, bike workshop and Larong Pinoy tournament and workshop among others to be facilitated by Greenpeace. The event will be from 6 am to 5 pm at Liwasang Kalikasan near the side of Aliw Theater. Purchase any of the souvenir items (baller ID and button pin) which are P50.00 only will already serve as entrance fee and ticket to participate in all of the activities. The family fun run at 6 am has a separate registration fee of P400.00. I’m so excited to go!

3. Make fruit shakes or smoothies together. – Let the kids help you wash and cut the fruits or if they are too young, involve them by letting them put the fruits that were already cut into smaller pieces into the blender and let them push the button in the blender. This is a healthy alternative to sodas and other drinks with caffeine and too much sugar. To make your drinks healthier, opt for yogurt instead of evaporated milk. We love making fruit shakes at home even when it’s not summer. Our favorites are papaya, banana and mango.

4. Play piko. - You may use a chalk to write on the cement. If you will play on dirt or soil, you can use a stick to draw on the ground. When my son and I cannot go out to play, we use his crayons to draw the lines on our floor and use Scotch Brite eraser pads to erase them when we’re done.

5. Play Frisbee. – Kids love to throw and run so I’m sure they will enjoy playing this game. I recommend that you play this game in big spaces like in UP Sunken Garden, La Mesa Ecopark, Rizal Park and other parks or fields near your place.

6. Fly a kite. – This is a great activity in big open spaces when the wind is strong. Some good places for flying kites are UP Sunken Garden, Esplanade near Mall of Asia and The Fort in Taguig. I learned earlier that there are people like the Fort Bonifacio Sport Kite Community who fly kites as a sport and you can watch them during weekends around 3 to 6 pm at The Fort. Sometimes, they would even give free lessons. Actually, every year NIDO organizes a Kitefest. This year, the NIDO Kite Fest was held last Sunday at Greenfield City Sports Field, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. We missed it this year but maybe we can attend a kite fest next year. We need to plan ahead for this since it’s a yearly event anyway.

Running after bubbles at a birthday party.
7. Blow bubbles. – This is fun in its simplest form. My little boy can spend so much time blowing bubbles anywhere you’d allow him to. I suggest that you always have bubbles with you because this is a sure boredom buster. Bring it with you when you go to parks and playgrounds. There are many kinds of bubble toys nowadays. You can choose from a wide variety from the smallest to the biggest bubble toys, from the manual to the battery-operated ones. Have fun with your kids taking turns in blowing bubbles and running after them.

8. Have an ice cream party. - You may want to make it a choose-your-own-topping ice cream party. Let the kids’ imagination run wild as they add toppings to their ice cream.

9. Make your own pizza. – This is similar to the concept of an ice cream party. You teach the kids how to prepare a pizza by buying frozen pizza dough from the supermarket or by using a pandesal that’s cut into halves. You and the kids spread pizza sauce or tomato sauce on top and decide what toppings to put on your very own pizza. Depending on the kind and size of dough you use, you can use your ordinary oven at home from the oven toaster to the convection oven, whatever you have.

10. Play badminton. – We started teaching our eldest son badminton last year when my husband and I played badminton again with some of our friends. We stopped for a while when my tummy was already big and I was nearing my due date. Maybe in the next month/s, we can get together again with friends to play one of our favorite sports.

Yanthy playing at the nearby playground
after his soccer camp.
11. Go to playgrounds in your own neighborhood or other nearby subdivisions and parks. - I loved going to parks when I was a little girl. My younger brother and I grew up in a neighborhood where there’s a nearby park and we loved going there and playing there with our cousins and childhood friends. Nowadays, there are plenty of parks and playgrounds to choose from and many of them are free of charge.

12. Have a puppet theater. - You can even make your own puppets that you’ll use in your puppet theater. I bought our eldest finger puppets and hand puppets when he was younger and we still play with them now especially when we tell stories.

13. Go to a charitable institution to share your blessings to the poor. – I’m excited to go to Tahanan ng Pagmamahal orphanage this month. I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday this month through an outreach. I’m organizing a princess-themed children’s party at the orphanage on April 28. This will be the first time for my son to participate in an outreach so I’m doubly excited for the event.

14. Play with clay. – You can even make your own home-made edible clay if you want instead of buying from the stores. This activity sparks kids’ imagination and creativity and improves their fine motor skills.

15. Go to a weekend market. – There are a number of weekend markets to choose from. There are weekend markets in Quezon City and in Makati. Not only do you find good deals and fresh products here, you also get to bond as you buy produce for your household. Plus you let your kids experience buying food and non-food items outside of the usual grocery or supermarket setting.

16. Do art activities or projects. – Unleash your creativity along with your child’s as you engage in more art activities and projects this summer. There are many simple art activities you can do together. You can ideas from my previous post here. If you are really bent on honing your child’s creativity and you have the budget for it, then there are many art programs you can choose from. There are even programs that allow parents to participate with their children so it becomes a wonderful binding and learning activity for the family.
Yanthy at his first soccer camp.
17. Play soccer. – This is an easy sport for the kids to learn and play since kids naturally love to run around and kicking is something that they learn fast. You just need a ball and plenty of space preferably with grass and your child will have his/her first experience of soccer. But you can also choose to enroll your kid to a soccer camp this summer like what we did with our eldest son who is now enrolled at Team Socceroo Summer Soccer Camp. Next year when he’s already four years old, I plan to enroll him at the Younghusband Football Academy.

Our first visit at Museo Pambata.
18. Visit museums. – There are a number of museums which are accessible and are easy on the pocket. We have already visited the Aerospace Museum in Villamor Airbase and Museo Pambata in Roxas Boulevard before. But we plan to go back to Museo Pambata again because there are other areas or theme rooms there that we weren’t able to explore the last time. They also have reopened new theme rooms. We only spent a half day touring the place then. I suggest that you allot at least a day to visit the place. You can also schedule several visits so you and your kids would have ample time to explore the different rooms. One of the things I like with Museo Pambata is that children below 2 years old can visit for free.

19. Go to the zoo. – Another memory of my childhood which I’m fond of is our visits to the zoo. I remember that my parents brought us to Manila Zoo a number of times when my brother and I were still small. We also went to mini zoos like the one at Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife. Now that I’m a parent myself, I plan to bring my kids to the zoo as well as one of our family field trips. One of the zoos in my list is Avilon Zoo in Montalban. It has a smaller counterpart in Pasig called Ark of Avilon so if you are not willing to travel all the way to Montalban, this is a good alternative.

20. Expose kids to music. – If your kids love music like my kids, I suggest that you expose them to different kinds of music by playing music at home often, letting them play with toy and real musical instruments and bringing them to concerts and performances. Let them meet musicians as well if you have the opportunity and if your musician friends. You can also let them join music and movement classes if you have the budget for it. One of our to-do’s since last year is to attend trial class of Little Mozart. But this is something that’s not limited to the summer months because it’s a year round program. I was planning to enroll my son since last year when he turned two in a music and movement class then I found out that My Masterpiece Movement has a program called Super Saturdays. I love the Super Saturdays program because my son likes it and he gets to interact with other kids. And believe it or not, it’s free! It is held every second Saturday of the month but there are exceptions like this Saturday, April 21, where my eldest son, Yanthy, will be joining for the second time.

Enjoy the summer heat and have fun with your family!

No comments:

Post a Comment