Fun with Children: Making Memories on a Budget
What childhood memories do you hold dear? For me, it was all the times “life happened”. The little things like playing outside, riding my bike with the wind in my hair, playing at the park, swimming in the lakes, giggling with friends. None of those moments cost a cent, yet they are some of my most treasured memories.
Making memories on a budget is very easy to do. Choose any of the 31 ideas below and you’ll have a fun-filled time without breaking the bank!
Garden - Plant flowers, fruit trees, herbs, or vegetables. Your child will learn science, responsibility and have fun!
Snip-it - Give your child old toy catalogs or magazines and safe scissors. Watch them cut all day.
Diggin’ It - Send your child outside with a bucket and small shovel. Shoveling snow, sand, dirt or rocks — it’s all good fun.
Sing - Turn up the radio and sing! Teach your child the music of the 70s, 80s, or 90s.
Play Catch - Throw different items (balloons, tennis balls) to your child. Roll balls to young children.
Sidewalk Chalk - Lay on the sidewalk and take turns outlining each other. Decorate your flat selves.
Cardboard Boxes - Make towers, build cities, design play houses, airplanes, trains, forts and more!
Bubbles - Blow Bubbles. Take turns chasing and popping them.
Masks - Create Masks from Paper bags, paper plates, foam, or anything on hand.
Cards - Introduce your child to all the classic games — UNO, Crazy 8, Go Fish, Old Maid, Memory Match.
Scavenger Hunt - Give your child a list of clues and send him out to find them. Clues can be simple (find a rock) or very advanced (find a piece of granite).
Throw Rocks - Go to a pond, creek, or lake and throw rocks. Try to skip them or aim for different targets.
Bath Time - Bring kitchen utensils into the bath tub. Bubbles and water can become an imaginary gourmet dinner.
Office - Give your child Junk Mail, stickers, a calculator and pen — they’ll have their own office!
Photography - Let your child use a disposable camera or a digital camera and witness their creativity. They may surprise you!
Picnic - Make some sandwiches and eat them outside.
Cooking - Find age-appropriate recipes and let your child help in the kitchen.
Tag - How many versions of tag do you remember from your childhood? Teach the oldies to your children (freeze tag, TV tag, etc.)
Write a Story - Younger children can write wiggle-worm sentences (much scribbling and pictures). Encourage older children to write chapter books — your child could pen the next Harry Potter or Magic Tree house.
Charades - Toddlers can act out and guess their favorite animals (usually with many sound effects). Older children will enjoy acting out movie titles.
Flashlight - Turn off the lights & make shadow puppets. Or get two flashlights and chase the light beams.
Wildlife - Feed the ducks, squirrels, birds, turtles or fish near you.
Abundance - Every day, have your children tell you what they are thankful for.
Dress Up - Give your children your clothes and watch them imitate you.
Treats - Make cookies and decorate them.
Dance - Turn up the music and Dance!
Play Games - Teach your child all your favorite board games.
Journal - Present a notebook or diary to your child and encourage them to express their feelings with pictures and words.
Tea Party - Grab the stuffed animals and treat them to a delicious cup of imaginary tea.
Keep in Touch - Write a letter to Grandparents, Aunts or Uncles. Teach the importance of family.
I Spy - Come up with age-appropriate clues and let you child guess what you are thinking.
Be sure to print out this list and keep it handy for the next time your children say “MOMMMMMM — we’re bored!”
Nicole Dean is a co-founder of http://www.KidsActivityCalendar.com -- a resource to help parents teach their kids the alphabet in a fun, positive way.