Here are some additional ideas for summer activities…mostly free or cheap.
1) Regardless of where you live, check your parks and recreation calendar. Here are some opportunities in Bloomington, IN.
A. Activities for youth (specifically check the outdoor activities)
B. Activities for preschoolers (My boys loved Touch a Truck)
C. Outdoor concerts (These are so fun. Take a picnic and let the kids run and play while you enjoy some music.)
2) Also, check schedules for your local state parks. If you live close, an annual pass for $40 is a great deal. In Bloomington an annual parks pass can be used for entrance to Fairfax and Paynetown. Paynetown offers different activities for free throughout the year. Your kids may not like the lake water, but they may enjoy building sand castles on the beach.
Indiana State Parks Schedule (Check Monroe Lake, Brown County, and McCormick’s Creek)
3) Finally, check your local visitor’s bureau web site if you have one. Ours, Visit Bloomington, lists many great activities all of the time. You can narrow your search by” Kids & Family.” Bloom magazine also has an online calendar of local activities that includes things the visitor’s center doesn’t. Click here to go to their site.
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What I’m about to tell you is pretty unusual. I doubt many people can say this. My eight year old loves mulch. He has since he was two. I have no idea why. This time of year rolls around and he loves pointing out the businesses that have just mulched their beds. He begs to get ours ordered. He smells freshly spread mulch from a mile away. And it isn’t just because he loves playing in it. He actually enjoys loading it in the wheelbarrow, rolling it to the right spot, unloading it, and spreading it.
Our yearly supply was delivered yesterday. You should have seen his eyes light up like fire when I told him the plan for the evening was to work on spreading it.
No joke: he worked from 4:00 until 8:00 last night. He got almost every bed in the front yard done with only a little help from me for the first hour and half. His little body was so sore when he woke up this morning. His pants soak in the washing machine as I write, evidence of his endeavor.
Today he came home from school, dropped his shorts in the entryway and ran up to put on his work jeans.
I was gone last night when he got finished. This morning I observed the kitchen floor. It was covered in mulch debris. I sighed as I began to sweep it all up, but then I started to offer thanksgiving for an incredible young man with an amazing work ethic. As a parent, I often wonder if I am getting it right. I truly try, but I know I’m not perfect. This was one of those moments that I was able to see a shadow of what he might grow up to be like. Someone hard working and responsible. A person driven and appreciating God’s creation. He said last night, “The yard looks so much better doesn’t it, Mom?” What a guy!
My dad would be so proud. I wonder if you can get a gardening gene? If so, there is no doubt that is who gave it to him. Watching my oldest is a sweet reminder of my dad’s love of landscaping.
Now the only key is to hope he still likes to do this as a teenager! I best not hold my breath.