Summer often feels financially overwhelming to parents because the cost of activities, camps and vacations can be expensive. Whether you are a working mom or you stay at home, here are some suggestions for free experiences that will enrich your child’s life: • Time together. Parents, especially of teens, often underestimate how much their children enjoy spending time with them. Anything that allows for interaction can be a positive experience for children. I often found playing with Barbies and Legos to be dull after a little while, so I read chapter books to my children. Even after they could read to themselves, I’d read them anything from Little House on the Prairie to Harry Potter. Sometimes, I had separate books going for each child so we could have our own special activity or sometimes it was the same book for both. There isn’t a “right” activity, rather it’s about what works for you and your kids: riding bikes, doing crafts, putting a puzzle together, etc. These activities are free to inexpensive and can grow your bond and build memories. • Teach your child something you love. Choose anything you feel passionate about and share it with your child. Just like the previous suggestion, the list could include anything: gardening, cooking, photography, fixing the engine of a car… You get the point. Children see you as competent and they want to learn about the things that are interesting to you. They may not share your passion and that’s okay, but they can learn something in the process. You can turn this around as your kids get older and have them teach you something that they love to do. It can be a very powerful experience for a child to be the competent one in the relationship! • Share a connection to their roots. Kids love to hear stories about the past. They like to know about their own early childhood, your experiences growing up and those of their extended family. Take some time and look through a photo album or old childhood videos. Tell them about the day they were born or a funny memory from your childhood. As the saying goes, a parent’s job is to give their child roots and wings. We want to help them feel grounded and connected as well as give them skills to fly on their own. These free experiences give your child both and that is priceless. What are you going to try first?