1. Check out local kid programs!
This may involve some travel for those living in more rural locations, but it will be well worth it. Check out what free or low cost programs are available in your city. For instance, in Louisville, my hometown, we have a cultural pass for everyone ages zero through sixteen. What does that mean? They get one free admission to most local museums, and so does the parent accompanying them. It's great for kids who want a trip to the zoo, a swing by the science center, or a glance at our art museum. While your city may not have such a low cost program, odds are your local attractions will have some kind of deal going on, you just have to check their websites and maybe start following their Twitter to get in the know.
2. Check out the library programs!
Your kid might be too old for toddler story time, but most libraries have programs all the way up through the teen years, such as reading challenges and classes to attend. You'll get a really cool experience and you can avoid the summer learning loss through programs at your local library.
3. Leave some unstructured time!
While filling the days with activities can be an issue for some parents, overfilling the days can be a whole different ball game. If you've signed your child up for five different summer camps and put them on the swim team and started a reading challenge and on and on, your child won't get the rest they really need from summer. A lot goes on during those school days and kids are exhausted. There is such a thing as doing too much. Try to give your child unstructured time every day and entire weeks off to be a kid.
Remember to have fun and enjoy the days with your children. I know they days seem long and sometimes it seems like a lot, but I promise this time is a great time to get to know who your kid grew into over the last school year. Enjoy each other and put aside worries about next school year.
Emilie is a high school English teacher with two children. She holds a Bachelors in English and a Masters in Secondary Education. After completing student teaching at an urban, Persistently Low Achieving (PLA) school, she was placed at another PLA school in the same school district. Her Ask a Teacher column can also be found over at Teaching Ain't for Heroes.