How to Reconnect with Your Kids This Summer by Bliss Coulter

Summer Break: How to reconnect with your kids without breaking the bank!!
By Bliss Coulter, Program Director for H.E.A.L: Home Visiting Education and Leadership Program
Summer is a great opportunity for parents to create lasting memories with their children by sharing experiences that are fun for the whole family. But often times, these “experiences” are costly.  Here are some great ideas that won’t break the bank:
Concert under the stars – Once a month, Fort Worth’s Historic Southside district holds an event that features live music from local artists and food and drinks from the neighborhood restaurants.  Families are welcome to bring blankets, chairs, and pets and enjoy the free concert!
Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt– Looking for a way to get more involved with the neighborhood that’s fun for you and for your kids? Plan a neighborhood scavenger hunt with a couple of the other neighborhood parents! Include and take pictures of unique landmarks in the area like a yellow mailbox, crazy looking oak tree, or a duck pond. Then glue the pics into a small notebook for each “detective” to keep notes.  At each landmark, leave a small bag or pouch with a new clue or piece of an age-appropriate puzzle. Make sure you include an activity on the way to each location, too! As you hop, skip, and leap-frog to each clue, you’re guaranteed to bond not only with your family, but with your neighbors as well!
Get Library Cards for the Whole Family- Getting a library card now-a-days goes much farther than it did even ten years ago.  Not only can you get a million and one books, but most libraries have an extensive DVD, CD, audiobook, and eBook collection. Create a family movie night where family members take turns choosing what to watch. Have family reading time where everyone gathers around to read the same book. Going on a road trip this summer? Instead of having an mp3/DVD player for every person, pick up an audiobook and listen to it on the car ride! With your library card, you also get access to free, family friendly library sponsored events, such as the 3rd Annual Jazz Series and the First Sunday Film Club.
Bureau of Engraving & Printing Western Currency Facility
Another fun thing Fort Worth offers families on a budget is the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  Watch U.S. paper currency roll off the presses during a free one-hour guided tour of the production process. Over half of the nation’ paper currency is produced at this facility. The Visitor Center includes two floors of interactive exhibits and displays, elevated tour walkway, 75 seat high-definition theater and retail sales shop. .
If you are planning a trip there this summer be sure to go between July 22-25 when kids can attend a free craftsmanship demonstration with activities and hands on learning experiences.
Fort Worth Water Gardens
Another fun thing to bring the kids to is the Fort Worth Water Gardens.  The Fort Worth Water Gardens is a beautiful and refreshing oasis adjacent to the Fort Worth Convention Center. Visitors can experience a variety of water features as they wander through this relaxing urban park. 1502 Commerce St. Fort Worth, Texas.
Just Add Water – Fun in the Backyard
Spending time with your kids doesn’t always consist of leaving your home, sometimes the best memories are waiting to be created right in your own backyard all you need to do is add water.  Have your kids create their own backyard obstacle course with various backyard items, turn on the sprinklers and have them play a game of trying to limbo under objects and hurdle over others! Don’t have a backyard, no problem! Get a bag of balloons at the dollar store, have your kids fill them up and take them outside to the grassy area of your apartment/townhome etc.  Then they can have a contest to see who can throw them the farthest or they could enjoy a balloon fight with each other (keeping safety in mind of course).  With water balloons the games are endless! Your children can play balloon toss, hot potato and many more.
Water balloons are not recommended for children younger than three years old.
Be a kid with your kids
Oftentimes, we as adults, are so far disconnected from what it was like to be a kid because of all of our responsibilities and deadlines that we forget that we too need to just relax and enjoy the moment with our children.  Acting goofy and playing around with your kids is the perfect way to not only get in touch with your inner child and release some of those feel good endorphins, but it is also a fantastic way to connect with your children. So you let your daughter do your hair and make-up, so what dad? She is loving it! You look silly playing a game of twister with your kids, who cares, your bonding with them.  When children can relate to you, the relationship and bond you share with them grows!

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