My goodness, kids are expensive! I mean, I love them with all my heart, but those little jokers sure do cost a lot. These costs can build up especially fast during the summer when kids are home from school and mom’s patience is at its end. Here are some fun and cheap activities available around town to save your sanity … and pocketbook.
As a teacher, I become a de facto stay-at-home mom each summer. I spend the vast majority of our days at the library because of their endless array of quality, fun, and free activities for any age.
With 9 branches across the parish, Lafayette Public Libraries offer programs both in person and virtually. There are activities for everyone from toddlers to grandparents — family storytimes, Lego clubs, ukelele lessons, virtual trivia nights, and even a maker’s space in which you can learn how to use a Silhouette Cameo just to name a few. You can even check out video games, movies, cds, and video games in addition to books. There are also weekly grab-and-go crafts for kids, teens, and adults that include instructions and all supplies needed to complete the craft.
This year’s summer reading challenge theme is “Tales and Tails.” You can sign yourself and/or your child up to read 600 minutes by July 31st. This may seem like a lot of minutes at first glance, but it only comes out to 10 minutes a night. When you reach your goal of 600 minutes, simply turn in your reading log sheet to a librarian to receive prizes!
Each of the five regional branches have been decorated to depict a different environment for animals–African Savanna, On the Farm, Louisiana Wetlands, Australian Outback, and Amazon Rainforest. Each location will have photo ops, scavenger hunts, and opportunities to learn about animals of that environment. Kids ages 3-12 can earn “stamps” in their Summer Safari Reading Passport by visiting each of the participating branches.
The best part of all of this is that it is free with a library card! And if you haven’t already heard, all student IDs for Lafayette Parish Schools work as library cards.
In addition to the wonderful activities at each branch, the library offers a program in which patrons can check out passes for 5 different locations around Lafayette–The Children’s Museum, Lafayette Science Museum, Vermilionville, The Alexandre Mouton House, and The Hilliard Art Museum. These passes allow families free access to these museums. I recently checked out a pass for my own family of four to the Lafayette Children’s Museum and saved approximately $27.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 am, The Grand Ambassador on Kaliste Saloom offers Summer Kids Flicks. For only $4 per person, both adults and kids can enjoy a movie, popcorn, and a small drink (this includes ICEEs). The Summer Kids Flick movie changes each week and goes through August 11th. (Pro tip–there are booster seats located just outside the theatre door to help little kids see over the seats in front of them). Click here for a schedule of which movie is playing each week.
Splash pads are a cheap and easy way to beat the heat this summer. There are many splash pads located all across Acadiana including ones at Park Sans Souci, Girard Park, St. Julien Park, and Palmetto Island State Park. Don’t forget a towel and some sunscreen!
Each year, the Hilliard Art Museum offers a fun day of art and creativity for kids. This year the event is taking place online and has a nature theme. It provides opportunities for children to learn about nature through pollinator gardens, storytime, videos of bee hives, and interviews with artists. It also features art projects such as dance like a flower, floral bookmarks, and coffee filter butterflies. These activities could definitely keep your little one busy as a bee!
Explore your kids’ interests
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to help your child explore some of their interests or passions. Simply talk to your child about topics that they want to know more about and then explore it. When my daughter was younger, she was fascinated by airplanes. I took her to the airport just to see what it looked like. She got to see people checking in and we watched travelers boarding their planes from behind the plexiglass. I showed her the baggage claim and we went outside and watched the planes land and take off. At each step, we discussed what we were seeing and I explained what was going on. As a teacher, we often tell parents that two of the best things that you could ever do for your child is to read with them and to help them to explore their interests and curiosities. Not only will these activities help to build your child’s background knowledge and help them to better understand topics in Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies, but they will teach your child about life and the world around them.