As I watch neighborhood kids get off buses and enter their schools, I refuse to admit that schools are back in session. My own daughter’s preschool starts September 8, so I am still wallowing in the joys of summer. This summer my preschooler, toddler, and I embraced Lake County, and even my own back yard, to find my top 5 favorite free summer activities.
- Playgrounds. What better way to wear your kid out and guarantee a good nap than visiting a local playground. All the local parks have great playgrounds but our favorite is Warren Township Center on Washington St.(Gurnee). This park is HUGE. Many sections to the playground including a very big sand pit, water, buckets, and shovels included!
- Bird and fish feeding. If you ever find yourself with extra bread ends, hot dog buns but no hot dogs, or even extra pancakes after a lovely Sunday brunch, hop over to Independence Grove in Libertyville to feed the HUGE native fish, ducks, geese, and seagulls. This has become one of our favorite activities this summer. The fish and birds are always willing to eat our leftover carbs! My kids (3.5 and 1.5 years old) get a kick out of the fish and birds gobbling up our leftovers, and when the carbs run out, we go for a stroll around the park.
- Small kiddie pools. We have yet to attend a public pool or spray park this summer because my children entertain themselves with the kiddie pool way too easily. It is amazing how much imagination can make such a simple activity last for hours. Instead of throwing out plastic food containers, clean them and give them to your kids in the pool and they will have a blast.
- The library. Any public library will do for this activity, but we frequent the Warren Newport Library. Not because it is closer to us, but because the preschool-aged area is ENCLOSED. Oh heavenly closed doors to keep my daughters loud voice from bothering other library patrons! Starting this summer, we have been going to the library weekly, rain or shine (especially rain!).
- Public beaches. We actually didn’t go to the beach all that much this summer, but we went a few times, each time a major hit. We go to the beach on the Naval Base because that is what is closest to us, but there are others in the area. Pack your sunscreen, buckets, shovels, and a picnic and you are good to go.
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