By: Jessica Azar
As I mentioned in Saving Money and Having Fun, Too! Our family is trying very hard to cut out wasteful, mindless spending because, although it’s seriously fun, we are not meeting our savings goals when we have the means to be putting a serious dent in them. In attempting to do this, I’m seeking every possible way I can to find fun things for the Herd to do that don’t cost much money or (even better) any money at all. It’s requiring more effort on my part, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing… It keeps me more engaging with them and less time mindlessly playing on social media (which I love and isn’t ALWAYS just playing, but still… They deserve more of my divided attention). So here are my latest attempts to provide fun on a budget… I present Five Ways to Have Fun for Free.
What kid doesn’t like Bubbles? I decided to go to Target at buy each of the kids a Bubble Wand (they were $.99 each), a toddler bubble bucket with wands for LLL to make it easier fir her and less messy ($5) and a huge jug of bubble solution ($2)to refill the wands when they ran out of bubble liquid or spilled it all over the place, which I totally knew would happen. Let me point out that this was kind of a step for me, because Ive been against buying anything messy for them, because that translates into more messes for me to clean up. We took the Bubble goodness home, and all of the kids had a blast! They spent several hours outback blowing bubbles.. Chasing and popping each other’s bubbles… Having bubble wars… You name it. It’s so fun to watch kids have fun with a pure simple joy like Bubbles. The newness hasn’t worn off yet, either! Most days LLL beeeeeggggs to go outside for bubble time.
2)Daisy Chain-Making/Clover Necklaces
As a kid, I absolutely loved taking clover stems and splitting them with a thumbnail to make a little hole so that I could put another clover stem through it and make chains. I made necklaces, bracelets, crowns, lassos… You name it. I did this on the playground from the time I was the Princess’ age on up… And I still have a hankering to do it when I see a spring field of fresh clovers. So last weekend, we were down at my family’s farm, and while the boys were fishing with my Dad and the High roller! I took it upon myself to teach the Princess how to make them. She’s learning, and LOVED the adornments that I made for her. LLL did too, and we had a blast for about an hour until LLL stepped in an ant bed. THAT will put an end to any fun activity! But I am grateful my Mom taught me to do this as a kid… Hope my girls will love it and have fun memories of doing this with me, too!
Yes, you have to buy the sugar cookie mix, and have some butter and an egg on hand, but if you look for sales at the grocery store you can stock up on a few cookie mixes for next to nothing. I did this last week, and got some awesome Betty Crocker Sugar cookie mixes for like $.50 a piece. This is another activity that I’ve had to ease myself into and let to of my phobia of making “even more messes” to clean up. It’s also been good for me to let the kids attempt things on their own and not stress about it being done “just right”. It builds confidence in them and gives them lots of satisfaction. But be prepared… You may have to give baths afterwards. I went to get something out of the refrigerator and came back to see LLL had covered herself in icing. Hilarious but messy.
My kids… All of them… Still love to go to the playground, but they kind of get bored when we go to the same one all of the time. We are blessed to have one in our subdivision, which we hit up all of the time, (and it even has a Fence Around it Yay! No toddler chasing) but it loses it’s luster after awhile. So I started researching and found TONS of neighborhood parks around us and we’ve started going to different parks each time. It’s like a brand new fun park for them to explore and conquer… Which leads to less whining and pleas for me to entertain them with even more ideas. For added variety and and even more fun, set up Park meet ups (low pressure… Not something stressful where people think they HAVE to come or roll will be taken…. I hate that kind of junk) with friends of your kids and their parents… Or other neighborhood families. It’s a great way for everyone to get their energy out and provides some relief from the monotony of playing with siblings.
I’m finding more and more that my kids don’t know how to play games that I grew up with as a kid. I have started keeping a running list of games that I can lead them in outside as well as ones that can be played indoors when the weather is yucky… And so far they love it. I’ve heard them leading their friends in “Mother May a I” and “Uncle Sam May I Cross the River” in our yard, and I LOVE it. A post is forthcoming with a list of all the games I can come up with, so that you can try them with your kids too!!!
What are some other fun, free or cheap things you like to do with your kids?