School’s out for summer! And, while it can sometimes feel like school’s out forever, the Women’s Centre of Halton (WCH) would like to give moms a few helpful tips to get through these long hot days with little effort and cost.

Pack a picnic and catch the bus to the nearest park with a splash pad or pool. Each city in Halton has a variety of locations so you can keep a wide range of kids and youth happy and cool. Here’s a complete listing for Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Georgetown. Keep in mind that while most splash pads are free, some pools charge admission so check before heading out.

Many of these parks also have additional facilities you can use for free like swings, slides, hiking trails, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and tennis courts. Please check specific park details online to see which activities are free, which have a cost attached, and the hours of operation.

Libraries are fun to visit especially when kids get to pick their own book, audio stories, games, movies and music CDs to take home. Moms, remember your local library is air conditioned and many have cafes within the complex where you can get a coffee or tea and buy a popsicle for everyone slurp on the walk home.

Art galleries are a fabulous way to spend any day. If its raining outside, the gallery gives kids and youth a chance to explore new ideas, mediums, materials, and introduces them to artists from across the city, province, country and even the world. If it’s sunny, most galleries have outdoor spaces to explore before heading home.

Oakville Galleries has two locations and both are free to the public. Centennial Square is right downtown (120 Navy Street) located between the library and the performing arts centre. It’s just a short walk from another interesting attraction, Oakville Museum at Erchless Estates (8 Navy Street). Once home to Oakville’s founding family, visitors can enjoy a magnificent view and explore the beautiful buildings, grounds and gardens of Erchless. The Oakville Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday and admission is free.

Farther east you’ll find Oakville Gallery’s second location better known as Gairloch Gardens (1306 Lakeshore Road East). While you’re at Gairlock Gardens wander around the spacious gardens and make sure you take along a picnic because this is the perfect place to enjoy it.

Oakville is also home to Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre where original local art is displayed in an 1827 pioneer gallery. Open Tuesday through Sunday the expansive lands surrounding the gallery are home to organic community gardens, a labyrinth, and picture perfect natural surroundings of flower gardens, ponds, pools and patios. This privately-owned art centre has free admission to the galleries and selected outdoor areas.

The Art Gallery of Burlington known for its ceramics collection offers a wide variety shows and boasts a beautiful court yard with a fountain and tables with chairs – a cozy spot to have a snack before wandering across the street to Spencer Smith park to cool off under the splash pad.

Finding interesting and engaging summer activities for youth can sometimes prove more challenging for moms. Fortunately, youth 11 to 19 years of age can hang out and chill or use free Wi-Fi, Xbox, PS4, computers, big screen TVs, pool table, cafe, and much more at youth drop-in centres located in community centres throughout Halton region.

Youth can also earn volunteer hours by donating time to programs run through local community centres, libraries, art galleries, food banks, and community gardens. Check out your city’s website for more information.

Summer is a time for kids to be kids, but it’s important that moms plan family events and outings that they enjoy too. It’s also really important to fit some ‘me time’ into that summer schedule. Check out the summer services, programs and drop-in dates on the WCH website because the entire family benefits when mom gets some down time to just breath and recharge.