Now that school is out, don't let your kids sit around and become couch potatoes. Encourage your kids to get out and explore the great outdoors. There are countless options to choose from that can fit into anyone's budget. Every locale will vary as to options, but here's a list of some suggestions:
1. Go fishing. Every state in the union offers fishing opportunities. Ask your local Bass Pro Shops about areas that you can hit locally, what lures and bait to use and how to fish them. Also talk to your local Fish and Game office. They love to help introduce kids to the outdoors.
2. Take a day hike. Take day hikes and explore your locale. I don't care where I visit, I always find unique hiking trails and discover things that half the locals may not even know about. Buy the kids a daypack so they can carry their own personal items.
3. Cook outdoors. On your day hikes, build a small fire and cook lunch, even if it is only opening a can of chili and making Frito pies. You can wrap the pan/utensils in a plastic bag when you're done and throw them in your backpack.
4. Go camping — in the backyard. If your kids are small, let them do backyard camp-outs. Teach them how to make S'mores. They will soon want to graduate to bigger camping trips.
5. Buy a rock identification book. One year we visited South Dakota when my girls were small. Katy and I bought the kids a rock book and the kids tried to find one of every rock in the book when we went hiking.
6. Pan for gold in the Mountain States. When the kids were small, we'd go for hikes in the mountains here in Idaho they'd take along some gold mining pans. So if you go vacationing in the mountain states, let your kids try their hand at gold mining.
7. Take up archery. With the wildly popular Hunger Game films, there has been a huge upsurge in archery. Visit your local Bass Pro Shops and see what bow they recommend. They will pass a lot of hours practicing with their bows.
If you're near a Bass Pro Shops store, the Family Summer Camp runs June 7 through July 13 and features free activities, including shooting arcades, fishing ponds and crafts.