It is summertime in Florida which means it is pretty much too hot to do anything outside that doesn’t involve water. Here in Charlotte County, the retirement capital of Southwest Florida (where the median age is 64), there aren’t a whole lot of activities for kids, which makes it even tougher. A lot of times I am so desperate to get out of the house that I just take the kids shopping, usually to Target, which inevitably means spending a lot of money on things I don’t really need, just for something to do. So I decided to start a list for myself of fun activities that don’t cost much to keep on hand for those times I can’t figure out what to do:

1.)  Face Painting. (For Princess’ birthday party last year, I bought this amazing face painting book on (Face Painting (Klutz))  I think it may have been the best $17 I ever spent, because not only was the face painting at her party a huge hit, we have had more fun at home with that book than any other activity I’ve ever purchased. It is so easy to do, Princess will happily spend a whole afternoon getting painted from head to toe, and the paint that came with the book is still almost completely full after a whole year of use.)

2.)  Splash Park. Punta Gorda has several nice parks, but it is way too hot for most outdoor playgrounds this time of year. The splash park is a lot of fun, especially in the early evening, when it has cooled off just a little and there aren’t so many rowdy kids.

3.)  The Beach. I keep a beach bag stocked with toys and sunscreen so that all I have to do is grab their suits and towels and head out first thing in the morning.

4.)  Living Room “Park.” Since it’s too hot to go to the park, we make our own park in the living room. We bring the climbing slide inside, along with a few other toys, and make a “jungle gym” out of the furniture.

5.) Duplo Blocks. Princess loves to build things, and Trouble loves to destroy the old projects.

6.) Dance Party. In the early evening, when the girls are crabby, daddy’s not home yet, and I need to make dinner, I will turn on the girls’ favorite songs and we will all dance around the living room to blow off some steam. It usually cheers everyone up, including me, and the girls will keep dancing even after I stop to work on dinner.

7.)  Memberships. We have annual passes to Jungle Gardens in Sarasota, Gatorama in Palmdale, and Walt Disney World. The WDW pass is great to get away for the weekend, especially when we can get good Florida resident deals on lodging during the slower times of the year, while Jungle Garden and Gatorama are fun daytime activities.

8.) Mall Play Area. The girls love this simple little play zone & I am usually bored long before they are.

9.)  Fast Food Play Areas. I don’t like to do this too often, but Chick-fil-A and McDonalds both have fun play areas for kids.

10.)  Free Movies at the Regal Cinema Family Film Fest. All summer long, Regal Cinemas throughout the country show free movies for kids at 10am every Tuesday and Wednesday. This is the local schedule for Port Charlotte:

Town Center Stadium 16

1441 Tamiami Trail
Port Charlotte ,FL 33948
07/13/2010-07/15/2010Doogal (G)
Alvin And The Chipmunks Squeakquel (PG)
07/20/2010-07/22/2010Charlotte’s Web (G)
Monsters Vs. Aliens (PG)
07/27/2010-07/29/2010Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything (G)
Night At The Museum II (PG)
08/03/2010-08/05/2010Trumpet Of The Swan (G)
Hotel For Dogs (PG)