It’s the time of year when students jump for joy.  Summer is finally here, and school is out.  However, millions of parents across the nation will scramble to figure out what to do with kids over the summer.

Here is a list of the top 10 nearly free activities to do so that everyone can keep sane.

  1. summer in the sand

    Summer’s here!
    Image: Shutterstock

    Stick to a schedule.  Either set an alarm clock or at least plan a time to go to bed and wake up every day.  Sticking to a schedule helps kids (especially younger ones) stay on an even keel.

  2. Chores.  Giving kids something to accomplish each week creates a sense of responsibility and pride in a job well done.  You can incentivize chores with a star chart with stickers as rewards.
  3. Eat meals together without technology.  Turn off the cell phone and computers, and come to dinner.  Research shows that families who eat at least one meal together are closer and the kids do better in school and life.
  4. Family outings.  Plan a picnic and take it to the park.  Or, visit the local beach for a swimming excursion.  The key is to do activities together.  Any time spent as a family fosters a positive relationship with parents and other siblings.
  5. Education.  It is essential not to let all the schooling go to waste by forgetting everything over the summer.  Find educational games, toys and even summer camps.  Anything you can do to keep up their skills over the summer is a good investment.
  6. Exercise and play.  Get kids outdoors in the fresh air.  Take them to the park where there’s a playground.  Watch them go.
  7. Socialization.  Set up play dates with friends from the neighborhood.
  8. Free Time.  Take some time to just chill out.
  9. Explore.  Take a walk in the woods and check out all the sights and sounds.
  10. Cook together.  Take the kids to a local farmers market.  Let them pick out vegetables with you.  Then supervise as they help you with the cooking.  Suddenly they’re happily eating a healthy meal.