There will come a time when your children will tell you that they’re bored. What is a parent to do, especially one who is on a budget? Theme parks and fairs are fun, but can leave you with a huge dent in your wallet. Luckily, there are many things that your children can do to occupy their time that are low-cost or even free. Whether you are looking to stay at home or venture out into your local area, here are some ideas to have fun.
Make playdough. Not only is it fun to play with, but it is fun to make, too. Kids can make their own colors by using food coloring or Kool-Aid. Kiddin’ Around offers three easy recipes.
Make bubbles. What kid doesn’t love blowing bubbles? Forget buying them at the store. Make and Takes has an easy recipe that uses ingredients you likely already have in the house.
Bake a cake. No special event is needed. Grab a cake mix and frosting and watch your kids have fun measuring ingredients and licking the frosting. Plus, you are teaching your kids life skills such as math and baking.
Fly a kite. Buy a kite, wait for a windy day and have the kids go outside and see how high they can get the kite to fly.
Help around the house. You can assign chores to your children based on their age. Setting the table, doing dishes, vacuuming and laundry are all chores that young children can help with.
Have your kids help save money. They can scour newspaper ads for grocery deals. They can also clip coupons or search for them online.
Break out the board games. You likely have a deck of cards, Scrabble or a checkers set lying around. Teach the kids how to play.
Have a water balloon fight. Fill up a bunch of water balloon and let the kids bombard each other with them. Be sure to establish clear rules ahead of time (such as where the kids can throw the balloons) to reduce accidents and real fights.
Watch movies. This is especially fun on a rainy day. Movie rentals are quite reasonable when compared to what a theater would cost and are free if borrowed from the library or on TV.
Go camping….in the living room or backyard. You can have the kids set up a tent made of blankets and pillows in the living room or set up a real tent outside compete with sleeping bags and pillows.
Do a puzzle together. Pick a puzzle that doesn’t have too many pieces, as the kids will get bored. This activity can help you spend quality time together as a family.
Play free video games. While parents want to limit this time, there are lots of free games online as well as many free or cheap apps that kids love. Many of them are educational.
Activities around the neighborhood
Look for specials on movies at the local theater. You may be able to see movies at a reduced price on certain days of the week, especially in the summer, when many areas offer $1 movies.
Take advantage of your local library. Not only can your children pick out books to read, but many libraries also have story time and other activities at various times during the week.
Go to the local park. Your children can get some much-needed exercise by swinging on the swings, playing in the play structures or playing basketball. Plus, some parks have trails perfect for riding a bike or hiking.
Go bowling. Many bowling alleys have specials for children on certain days, especially in the summer. Although bowling requires skill, it can still be a fun activity for young children.
Go to the beach or lake. Most have free or low admission prices ($10 or less). Go swimming for the day or stay for the weekend and enjoy other activities such as camping and fishing.
Check out your town’s recreation center and see if it offers any free or low-cost classes or activities for children. Many offer arts and crafts, as well as sports, music and dancing.
The most inexpensive activities for children can be some of the best for learning and bringing everyone together. Try them with your kids for both the savings and social benefits.