Summer is a great time to finally squeeze in all of those activities that you don't have a chance to do during the school year. Here are 25 fun, cheap, and easy ideas for keeping your kids busy until the school bell rings again in the fall.

1. Map out all of the different parks in your county and hit each one (on a different day) with a picnic lunch.

2. Teach the kids some jump rope rhymes from your own childhood.

3. Find a new trail to hike.

4. Plan a scavenger hunt. All you need to do is list 20 or so items that are frequently found in nature. Then distribute the list to each of the kids. The first person or team to find everything and bring them back wins a small prize.

5. Tour a local factory or museum.

6. Take the kids to a scenic area with a set of watercolors and ask them to paint what they see.

7. Visit a local botanical garden.

8. Call your local public library to ask if they are sponsoring any reading contests or special story times.

9. Get a group of friends together and take the kids to the nearest water park or amusement park.

10. Start your own reading incentive program for the kids. For every three books, treat them to a sundae or a special trip to the bookstore.

11. Check your local newspaper for fun community events, such as local dance performances or magic shows.

12. Explore a new bike path.

13. Each Friday, eat a picnic lunch somewhere new.

14. Teach the kids how to cook or bake something delicious.

15. Teach the kids how to decorate cakes and let them experiment with a few cupcakes.

16. Bake a dozen muffins and take them to your spouse's office. Visit for a bit.

17. Take turns with other parents in your community teaching the kids about different crafts.

18. Get a nice new workbook. Before the school year ends, ask the teacher what books she recommends, so your child will keep up with her studies.

19. Plant a vegetable or flower garden together.

20. Ask your children to research a charity and brainstorm ways that they can raise money for it.

21. Visit a local farm or orchard and help out for an afternoon.

22. Ask the kids if they would like to learn a new sport or activity. The summer is a great time to try something new without the commitment that often comes with starting it for a school year.

23. Assign the kids a pen pal, and encourage them to write notes and letters every couple of weeks.

24. Have the kids try out a new musical instrument.

25. Make an obstacle course with sidewalk chalk and time each other on how long it takes to complete the course.

Get creative and think of your own ideas to enjoy some fun in the sun, and don't forget to spend some unstructured time, doing absolutely whatever you want.

Author's Bio: 

Jamie Jefferson writes for and, where she shares discounts and specials on specialty kids' clothing as well as coupons for name brand outdoor gear.