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Busy Families Need to Sign Up and Organize Summer Plans Now

By Jodie Lynn

Make plans and sign up for economical SUMMER activities
I need some good and economical ideas for summer activities for kids ages 4-9.

Our library has a summer reading program and you can begin to sign up now. They offer great prizes and a sidewalk chalk art day for families that is all free. If you are near a rural area ask a local farmer if you can help feed chickens or pet horses one afternoon. If not, pet stores charge nothing for browsing and even touching most of the critters. Fire stations and bakeries will usually give free tours to small groups if you make arrangements ahead of time. Grab another mom with kids and make it a field trip. If all else fails, sidewalk chalk with a little water makes great body paint that washes off easily with a run through the sprinkler. - Leslie in Idaho

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I had 4 children all under 5 and understand what it is like to get more for less. At those ages I would take my kids to different parks on certain days of each week, attend library classes, story time and workshops. I collected all kinds of things from the home and had craft days. A small pool for the kids on hot days provides great fun for the backyard. Use one day a week for play dates with friends. The consistency of the planned activities allowed them to look forward to the next week. - Jodi in NY

I've found that hosting a family movie night once a week is an inexpensive way to spend time with my children. I also give the kids some responsibilities - the child that's not responsible for selecting the movie gets to select the menu for dinner that night (and help prepare it). We often try theme dinners -- for example, when we rented "Angels In The Outfield" - we had hot dogs, soda and popcorn for a baseball theme evening; and for "Alice in Wonderland" - I served tea and finger sandwiches for a Mad Hatter tea party. - J.D. in Calif.

From Jodie: Just like many of us, you are probably interested in economical and fun activities. These are anything you can do with your children that may be different but yet inexpensive and/or free. Get their creative juices flowing by suggesting they either put on a play of a favorite book, TV show, game or better yet -- just make one up. Let them help to write it and decide on who plays which part. In fact, they will be busy for days just writing and rehearsing it. Go bananas on the wardrobe by making do with "stuff" you have around the house. For example, use old hats, shoes, dresses, pants, shirts, belts, and, etc., to make up awesome costumes. Get out the glue gun (or purchase one for $1.99) and create and design awesome custom-made dress up clothes. Let them add beads, ribbon, feathers or whatever you have handy to jazz up old clothes. The kids can go around and sell tickets (made out of construction paper) for .25 and tell neighbors to bring their lawn chairs. Select music and have fun with a huge and successful neighbored play. Before you know it, the kids will make up many other plays.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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