I learned about Amusement Advantage from Brooke and Christine. They have all sorts of fun shops: movie theatres, amusement parks, museums, and more!
From their website: “We only evaluate attractions, amusement locations, and entertainment facilities. Our shops give you the opportunity to have fun with friendly and family and include reimbursement for you some of your guests expenses and in most cases a little extra cash profit or extra free tickets for your time and efforts. Click here to see a list of locations we are currently shopping. Curious what others shoppers say about our company? Click here to see reviews from other shoppers just like you!”
If you want to Check out Amusement Advantage and see if there are opportunities near you, click here. If you decide to sign up, use my email email@example.com as a referral. We’ll each get a little something extra.
We keep to a schedule at our house, even in the summer. I know summer is a time for lazy days, playing it by ear, and fun adventures, but when you have a kiddo on the autism spectrum you need a little structure in your life at all times.
Here is a copy of part of our daily summer schedule, I’ve cut off the afternoons as it contains our therapy schedule, as well as lessons/classes.
Ok, so first of all, I know you are thinking, “Who the hell gets up at 7:30 during the summer?!?!”, well, us. My kids are usually up by 7:30am in the summer, and that’s sleeping in (ugh, 6:30am, you come too early during the school year).
I’ve included the analog clock because the big guy is learning to tell time and it helps him visualize on the clocks in the house.
Despite the structure, there is room for creativity and flux. We have freedom in choosing breakfast, what to wear, and there is a 2-hour window of play time, where the kids can do whatever they want: free play, crafts, read a story, watch cartoons.
When my buddy was younger, we frequently went without a schedule, and honestly, I was nuts. Just wandering all day without a plan, I frequently had a headache at the end of the day, and would be dreading the next. Now we have a loose overview of what to expect each day, and we fill in our time with free or low cost events. Check out your local library branch- they frequently have fun classes or events.
And for some reason, kids are bottomless pits in the summer, we try to check out some of the free lunches for kids a few times a week. It helps keep our grocery budget in check, but most importantly, it exposes the kids to trying new foods, and new experiences. I try and find out the menus ahead of time and expose the kids to 1-2 new foods per week in an environment where there are peers who already like to eat the “new food”. When kids see peers eating something that’s new to them, often times they try it, even if they may give mom or dad some resistance. I’m not saying that peer pressure is always a bad thing.
In addition to free lunches, I try to keep our family snack bag well stocked. I tend to visit Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only for most of our snack needs. $25/week is my budget for lunches and snacks for the summer.
I try not to set our schedules in stone- We get invites to hang out with friends, go to events, or maybe some relatives will come out for a surprise visit (who knows). We want the kids to have fun over the summer, and I do my best to make sure they get a balance of fun times, learning, and relaxation.
I’d love to hear about what you do in the summer: Do you wing it, or have a schedule?
Summer vacation is on the horizon, and that means that there will be choruses of, “I’m bored!”
Having a kid who has ADHD and ASD, I frequently hear that lament after school (like, before we even pull out of the school parking lot in the afternoon) complete with body slump and flailing of arms. To combat this, I’ve assembled a list of events that can keep kiddos entertained with little to no cost.
Everyone knows about their local, neighborhood parks for free fun outside, but don’t forget your local libraries and community centers for sources of free fun!
Our local library has events after school (starting at 3pm) for kids grades K-3, including:
Read with Grandma Marcia ~ Every Tuesday
Kids Exploration Day ~ 2nd Wednesday of the month
LEGO Club ~ 3rd Wednesday of the month
Creative Play ~ Each Saturday from 10:30-11:30 am. Children learn through play! Meet new friends and have fun while developing early learning skills. Geared for ages 5 and under (but they are not strict with it- as long as the kids behave).
With all of these activities, a responsible adult must be present and participate.
If you have a Starwood Mall nearby you (Here in San Diego, Parkway Plaza is a Starwood property), check out their kids club called MallStars. From the Parkway Plaza website, “MallStars Kids Club offers exclusive kid friendly events in a safe, community environment, throughout the year. MallStars Kids Club is a FREE kids club open to kids 10 years of age and younger.
The program features exclusive, kid-friendly events for its members throughout the entire year. MallStars members also receive free giveaways; a quarterly newsletter with upcoming events and special offers; as well as priority registration and exclusive invites to mall events.”
Last Month we got to make pizzas, and learn how to roll out dough with friends at Fuertes NY Pizza!
My kiddos love the beach- I know not everyone has the beach near them, but if you do- take advantage! Google your favorite beach and Tide Chart and find out when low tide it. Low tide is the perfect time to hunt for shells. If you are in San Diego, or will be visiting this summer, check out Coronado for the SS Monte Carlo. It’s a sunken ship that is visible and explorable at low tide.
If you have a YMCA membership, check out their free programs for members. Our local Y has Open Gym three times a week, plus a mommy and me craft time for little kids, and lots of other fun programs that are included in our monthly dues. If you are interested in checking out the YMCA but are lacking funds, I encourage you to visit your local Y and ask about scholarships or financial aid.
I also find lots of local events and free fun stuff by checking the “Events You May Like” section on Facebook Events.
Talkback: I’d love to hear what kinds of free (or cheap) fun stuff your family does!
Ya’ll know I love to baby wear…. Well, Itty Bittums isn’t so bitty anymore and we have had to pass along some of our smaller carriers to new homes. I am sooo looking forward to checking out the new Freeloader!
The Freeloader is the First Child Carrier Built Specifically for Toddlers! It is a new, better child carrier. Compact, lightweight and portable, the Freeloader child carrier uses advanced materials and design to create a better experience for parents who love spending time with their kids. Whether you are traveling by air, going to the zoo, or hiking with your little ones, the Freeloader is ready to help carry the load. When not in use, the Freeloader’s integrated aluminum seat folds up neatly to the size of a daypack. The Freeloader is a perfect fit for parents that want a lighter, more versatile carrier. The Freeloader features an easy-to-use, 5-point safety harness. The safety harness is specially designed to fasten securely and safely out-of-reach of your child.
The Freeloader provides wide, ergonomic shoulder and waist straps to evenly distribute your child’s weight to your hips and core. The contoured shoulder straps are adjustable and provide extra padding for comfort and support. Padding in the back panel and seat offers extended comfort for your child.
The Freeloader is small enough to carry-on and stows away neatly, making it perfect for air travel, road trips and more! See more at http://www.myfreeloader.com/ and find Freeloader on facebook.
Thanks to Freeloader and the great folks at USFG, you can save on your Freeloader! Freeloader FUN with the Family – 10% off your Freeloader Child Carrier when you enter the code “freeloaderfun” Take your children on the adventures of their dreams!
I’ll be receiving my Freeloader in a few weeks, testing it out, and I’ll report back with my thoughts, as well as some pictures and even a video or two!
One of Henry’s favorite things to do on a Buddy/Mommy date is go to LegoLand! And, lucky for him, LegoLand hosted us yesterday to experience the fun of Lego Batman days!
There was so much to do, that we only went on ONE RIDE!!
We did the Mosaic build, which was super fun (We left before it was finished), and it was fun to sort through legos and build something that was going to be part of a project that was so big!
We got to Meet Lego Batman, but by that point my phone battery had died. Henry didn’t care, he was just so excited to meet Batman and tell him how much he loved his movie.
We did the scavenger hunt and built and raced our own Batmobile creation. That was probably the most fun. Henry won two races! It was so much fun watching the kids (and adults) build cars, sharing Legos, swapping, and helping each other.
And of course, no trip to LegoLand is complete without building and racing boats!
If you’ve got little friends that love Lego Batman, you’ve still got one more weekend to check out Lego Batman Days! Next weekend, the 25-26th, there will be tons of fun to be had!