I'm tired of trying to figure out what to do!

United States
July 24, 2010 9:21am CST
Maybe I'm just in a slump or something. It's just every single day I have to rack my brain to come up with something for us to do, and it gets exhausting! As most of you know, we don't have a yard so I can't just send the kids out to play.. so when it's not nasty out I have to take them somewhere. Playgrounds are getting boring, we have the pool but it's not always nice enough to do that, and we don't have money to do much of anything else. Yesterday we didn't do anything... well, we went to the gym then did the grocery shopping, but due to the rain we spent the rest of the day at home, and I feel miserable for that. I don't like sitting around indoors all day, and I always feel guilty when the kids don't get out and have some fun. It is summer vacation after all.. they should be enjoying themselves. Whenever we just stay at home they get bored and start making trouble. They fight, they get hyper and run through the house, then I start getting stressed... then I feel even more guilty for getting stressed about it. I need more things to be able to go do... but more than that I need some nice weather again! It's been nasty and rainy all week long, and today isn't looking much better! It isn't raining yet but it looks like it could start any minute! Do you feel guilty when you can't get out and do something fun everyday? Am I just beating myself up too much? I mean, we've already done a lot of fun things this summer. We had a day at the beach, lots of days at the pool, 2 baseball games.. and if tomorrow's nice we'll have a company picnic at the beach... so should I really feel so guilty because of a few lousy days stuck at home? I guess this is what parenting is all about, right? Constantly second guessing yourself wondering if you're doing well enough for the kids... I'm just wearing myself out! Thanks for letting me rant.
2 people like this
9 responses
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
24 Jul 10
I think it is great that you want to give your kids a special school vacation. When my school was out for vacation my step dad just thought that meant we had more time to do even more chores. So we were always happy when school started back up. We never went anywhere or did things.So it is always great to hear of parents that try to make it fun for their children..You could always ask the kids to write things that they want to do down on slips of paper that don't cost anything or is a low cost adventure put them in a hat,bowl or large jar and pick one or a few a day so it seems fun when theirs are chosen..Have contests..sometimes that might be fun dressing up and all..like a talent contest( some kids like showing off their talent they have) have them practice a talent all week then have a contest..but the fun is when everyone wins..lol.. What about a scavenger hunt at the park? Might be fun to have a scavenger hunt with the kids.. it takes, really, only 5 minutes to make or set up! at the end of the search, put something like old toys/ old b-day favors… kids love it! Maybe yoou could type in a search of Free things to do in(insert your town/state) might give you a few more ideas. I found this list so it might be of some help...although some might not sound like something you might not do..there might be a few that are interesting enough to try. 60 Fun Things to Do for Little or No Money: 1. Enjoy a concert in the park – Spring and summer begin free things to do in the park season. Concerts and movies are just the beginning. 2. Go camping – Still one of the cheapest vacations one can take, especially through the US National Parks system. 3. Go for a hike in the woods. 4. Go for a swim – Many lakes and oceans are free for swimmers, others require a small fee. It’s still a good, affordable way to spend a day. Better yet, find yourself a good, old fashioned swimming hole. 5. Go fishing. 6. Have a picnic. 7. Take the kids to the park. 8. Visit a museum -There are lots of free museums and many others take a donation. 9. Work on an arts and craft projects 10. Play board games. 11. Dig for fossils or gems. Find out where to dig in your area. 12. Build sandcastles 13. Have a barbecue. 14. Run through your garden sprinkler. 15. Play a pickup basketball or volleyball game in the park. 16. Visit the library. Take out books, movies, music or take advantage of some of their great programs. 17. Take a free online class. 18. Find a fireworks display. 19. Go canoeing or kayaking. 20. Do some birdwatching. 21. Make a kite and take it for a ride. 22. Go for a bike ride. 23. roller blade. 24. Ride your scooter. 25. Visit the zoo. Most zoos are affordable and if you get a summer zoo pass you can visit as often as you like for one price. 26. Read 27. Sell lemonade 28. Watch a play at a local theater 29. Visit a vineyard – some tours are free while others are affordable. 30. Visit a street fair. Food is cheap, plus craft displays, flea market finds and entertainment abound. 31. Tour a college campus 32. Lounge on a hammock 33. Adopt a pet – Actually adoption fees aren’t as cheap as they used to be but it’s well worth the cost. 34. Tour a fire house or police station 35. Bowling – A night out for the family really doesn’t cost much, especially if you bring your own snacks. 36. Tour a brewery 37. Bake 38. Make a chalk mural in your driveway. 39. Tour a television or radio station 40. Attend a tv show taping 41. Shakespeare in the Park – If your area has it 42. Make a birdhouse 43. Stroll through a public garden 44. Work on your own garden 45. Visit the state or county fair. 46. Join a book club at the library, Borders or Barnes & Noble 47. Browse the flea markets. 48. Find a drive in movie theater in your area. 49. Take advantage of local cultural events. 50. Visit a dairy farm. 51. Visit historic battlefields. 52. Take a day trip to Washington DC where most of the museums are free. 53. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or another place that feeds meals to the homeless. 54. Have a scavenger hunt. 55. Teach yourself a new language using online tutorials and materials from the library. 56. Start a scrapbook and fill it with items found outdoors. 57. Jigsaw puzzles! 58. Make a working volcano 59. Have a campfire in your backyard, roast marshmallow and tell ghost stories. 60. Clean out your house and have a garage sale. Add to the list. What are some great things you can do with little or no money?
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Jul 10
Of these things that I would do.. most of them we have done this summer or plan to do.. others that I want to do aren't affordable (it may be cheap for a family with 1 or 2 kids.. but almost everything is expensive with 5 kids). Like I said, we've been to a couple ball games, we saw fireworks on the 4th of July and an orchestra, we did do smores on the grill on the 4th too, we had a beach day and brought a picnic too. I read last night about concerts in the park but last night was too rainy to go.. it's Friday nights.. so when it's nice we will do that. It's more or less the day to day stuff.. like what can I do this afternoon to kill some time and enjoy the day... that's the hard part. Going to the pool is great when it's nice, thank goodness I got the membership so that's free all summer... but aside from that, playgrounds everyday get boring, nature walks get boring, the kids can't play outside here and even if they could they don't all have bikes or scooters or anything like that.
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
24 Jul 10
Sorry I couldn't be of any help. Hopefully you will be getting other suggestions that will be a big help and help you and your family have alot more fun with what little time is left of their summer vacation.
• United States
24 Jul 10
I certainly don't mind suggestions.. but honestly I've already thought of it all. This isn't the first summer I've been in this situation, and many of my friends are in the same boat as well.. so whatever I don't come up with, they do, you know. So it's not that I'm looking for suggestions.. I'm just trying to vent and make sure I'm not alone with the guilty feelings and such, you know...
@PDBME2 (1015)
• United States
24 Jul 10
Don't worry I feel the same way about my own kids being inside the house. We live in a an area where it's either too hot or too cold to go out. I was telling my husband last night that we don't have those so so days. This summer we have done some things but like yesterday it was just going to the market and the optometrist then heading back. In the evening the kids went to play outside but then it was still hot, the neighbours were having a family reunion and my kids were bugging to go. To me the day wasn't fun but to them running around the house or outside in the heat was fun. I usually plan to attend museums that are free on the first Tuesday of the month, or go hiking, to the river, etc... but now as I get older I just am so tired lately. Have you checked out sites that offer free things to do with the kids? I know here Home Depot or Lowes has workshops for kids on the weekends. The library sometimes has events, museums might offer free days, I think you are just trying to be a good mom. I know I feel guilty when we don't do anything but I find that my sister doesn't do much with her own kids but she doesn't feel guilty.
• United States
24 Jul 10
The problem with free programs is somehow it still costs money. The 2 ballgames we went to we had free tickets, but I still had to buy some snacks. Last year we joined a site that offered free bowling for the kids, but I still had to rent the shoes. The mall does free movies on a particular day of the week in the morning, but I'd still need the gas to get there and some soda and popcorn. The library does do a story hour, but my 2 year old won't sit still and I end up stressing over having to chase him around a library where he shouldn't be running crazy. Last night I noticed on a local website that they're going to have concerts in the park on Friday evenings.. it's about a 10 minute drive and totally free... so we could do that, but last night the weather was wet and nasty so we couldn't go, but maybe next week.
@PDBME2 (1015)
• United States
24 Jul 10
I take snacks for my kids at most events. I sneak them in a bag. We had tickets for a baseball game too so we packed my bag with sunflower seeds, water bottles, candy, etc. My kids know the routine "Don't ask because it's expensive..." If we have money then I tell them to share. Half the time they don't really want it but they just have to ask. One time I bought them a frozen banana at Disneyland only to have them throw it in a trash can because they wanted to see a show. The gas will always be an issue. I try to have my tank full so that will be the least of my problems and I don't go too far if possible. Well I understand how you feel. Having five kids myself, on one budget is hard, but I tell my kids that they are lucky to have experienced whatever they have had and to have a mom who cares. So many moms abandon their kids or just shoo them out to the streets so they can enjoy life without kids bothering. I was noticing you live in New York so I can imagine it's expensive and more crowded. Visit friends or family, churches sometimes have things going on during the summer, take them to convalescent homes to read to the elderly. We did a community clean up day picking up trash but afterwards they gave us free pizza, t-shirts, and played in the park.
@PDBME2 (1015)
• United States
24 Jul 10
Oh ok... I guess my kids are just used to it. I see that most places don't allow food in but I manage to bring them in anyway. If they were to find it then I am more than happy to go with the flow and take it back out. We used to go to Disneyland several times a year with an annual pass and for the most part people are allowed to bring food in. They used to be so strict but with the economy failing, it's that or no one afford to be there. In the theaters I haven't had anyone check my bag. I usually buy a tub of popcorn that is refilleable. I bring bottled water inside with candy.
@lilybug (21145)
• United States
25 Jul 10
I have been working so much the last few weeks I have not really had time to bring my kids to do anything, not that I would have the money to anyway. It has been so muggy out that they really do not want to go out in the yard and play either. I have been feeling a little guilty that they have been cooped up in the house too.
• United States
26 Jul 10
How is work going for you? Some days I wish I could have a part time job.. then other days I'm glad I don't. Maybe this fall I'll look for something for Saturday evenings... I keep saying that but never get around to it! It's been muggy here too.. but mostly the weather can't make up it's mind. It keeps looking like it wants to rain, and we might get a 5 minute downpour, but it stays cloudy. So we can't go to a playground because it will be wet, we can't go for a walk in case it rains again, we can't go to the pool in case it rains again... and I can't afford to take them anywhere else. It was like that almost all week this past week and after a few days of being stuck home you really start to feel crappy about it, you know!
@GardenGerty (116776)
• United States
26 Jul 10
Have them cut up magazines and make books out of the pictures. Use recycled paper.The two year old is the one that is having the hardest time, I am sure. If you have a floor that is tile and will not be hurt by spills, make a sensory tub--use an old dishpan or larger Rubbermaid tote. Squirt shaving cream in the bottom and have the little one run his hands in it. Or have them all do it on a table, or put it on the floor and have them squish it with their feet. I know, mostly you need to vent here, but we all want to help you out as well.
@lilybug (21145)
• United States
27 Jul 10
Work has been interesting...I am still getting used to working again. Getting used to working TWO jobs for a total of around 55 hours a week is taking a little getting used too.
@GardenGerty (116776)
• United States
26 Jul 10
We always went to the library at least one day a week. Those who were old enough could go to groups. We checked out educational and fun toys that we could not afford to buy. All of this was free, it was out of the weather and they kept their brains going. If you are stuck inside, you need to have a craft type day. Use the items that you would normally recycle. If you can spare the flour, make play dough or air dry clay and make things. Play board games, or just play with blocks, all together. Cook kid friendly recipes that they can help with.
• United States
26 Jul 10
I have been known to be quite creative when it comes to trying to find fun things for the kids to do.. but there are other forces against me aside from being broke. There's a major lack of space for 1.. we live in a tiny mobile home.. we don't have space in this house to do much of anything... so that adds to my frustrations on yucky rainy days.. we all just feel sort of cramped and miserable. Then of course I have those days where I don't want to do anything.. but then I feel guilty because if I'm not doing anything then they're not doing anything.. it's a no win situation.
@aurorastorm (1135)
• United States
24 Jul 10
First of all stop feeling guilty. Kids need to find some entertainment for themselves also. Summer vacation does not mean you have to figure out something to do every second of everyday. There are some good activities however you can do at home that is not too costly. You can do a treasure hunt, make up maps that lead the kids around the house. Get your kids in the kitchen, make cookies or even to help you make dinner. There are some places that are free to take kids on certain days, aquarium's, museums and things like that. Also, National Zoo's if the weather is nice.
• United States
25 Jul 10
We don't have any cool places around here at all... none that I'd take these kids to anyway, lol. My youngest is only 2 and he's stubborn and defiant so places like museums are out.. unless it's a kid oriented museum.. but the only one of those we have around here never does free days or even coupon days because they think they're already pretty cheap... but not for a family with 5 kids, you know! We used to get memberships to the zoo so we could go do that whenever we wanted, and we'd even drive to different towns to visit their zoos just for a change of scenery. Our zoo gets pretty boring, especially when each kid goes there on school field trip at least once a year, then we were going like every other weekend for something free and cheap to do. They don't add many new exibits often.. and their exhibits are so big you can rarely ever see any of the animals. Anyways, we just haven't had the desire to go to the zoo lately. Whenever the desire does hit us, we'll get the membership, because it costs like $30 for all of us to go once, but like $60 for the yearly membership... we figure spring for the membership and as long as we go 1 more time in a year we've paid for it!
@Opal26 (17686)
• United States
24 Jul 10
Hey kats! I think you are being way too hard on yourself! You have been keeping your kids busier than most moms would try to. And of course, you can't do anything about the weather. At least they get to go to the pool, some kids don't even get to do that! Stop beating yourself up, you are a good parent and your kids are lucky to have such a caring mom and hopefully someday they will realize it!
• United States
24 Jul 10
Nah, they won't, lol. Just yesterday my oldest asked me how come I got to do so much fun stuff when I was a kid that he's never done. I had to explain to him that I had a larger extended family, and I was bascially an only child (at least I was in my foster family) so friends and relatives would line up to take me places whenever they planned a trip. Now we have practically no friends or family and I've got 5 kids so even if a friend of ours was going on a trip they wouldn't want to take all my kids and they know it's not fair to ask if only 1 can go. Plus, my oldest has done a lot of great stuff, he just doesn't remember most of it. He was in Toronto when he was a year old and saw the Yankees play the Blue Jays in the Sky Dome... like I said, he doesn't remember, but at least I can tell him he's been there!
@TheCatLady (4695)
• Israel
24 Jul 10
What about a nice game of Monopoly. It takes hours to play. The kids learn counting, buying and selling. It's a lot of fun.
• United States
24 Jul 10
My kids are too young.
24 Jul 10
I too hate it wehn it rains especially on my day off from work and I am then stuck inside.....I already work from home so on my days off from work I like to escape as such! lol Of course bad weather is no fun but, it does get so boring being stuck inside sometimes and I sometimes go and do food shopping just to give myself something to do!
• United States
24 Jul 10
That does stink.. but I don't know if I'd feel as bad if it weren't for the kids. I don't usually mind sitting around the house all the time.. but I feel guilty when the kids can't get out for awhile, you know.
@dorannmwin (36656)
• United States
14 Aug 10
Well, when the weather was lousy here during the summer, we made our own fun at home. One day we did a pajama day at the movies where I let all of the kids wear their pajamas and we watched movies all day. We did an indoor camping day by making a tent out of chairs and a blanket and stuff like that. You might even be able to come up with craft ideas that you would be able to do with things that you have laying around the house.