If your like my family, you make it month to month with money. If its not school pictures, its soccer fee's. Hair cuts to an unexpected bill. There is always something thats needing to be paid. So we have found lots of ways to do things as a family and cost nothing or next to nothing. Here are some idea's for you.
1. Take a walk. Its so beautiful right now with all the tree's turning colors, leaves falling all over the place and all animals looking for food to store away for the winter. After dinner, take a walk around the neighborhood. Let the kids bring a bag and find lots of pretty fall stuff. Take it home and do a craft project with them. I let my kids pick pretty leaves that I will put around my home to decorate. We do this every week because the leaves will dry and be britle and make a mess. So try this every week, its fun and you get exercise.
2. Go to the library. We like to go once a week and read books about the current season. Its super fun and free! Plus alot of libraries have programs for free. They will have readings, and even craft projects. Pick up a flyer next time your there and you can plan ahead.
3. Movie Night. Once a week I go through the tv schedule and find kid friendly movies to dvr. I have a old school popcorn popper that I use to make our own popcorn (available in bulk). The kids look foward to this every week. While I pop popcorn, the kids all go get their pillows and a comfy blanket and set up by the tv. We turn almost all the lights off and watch a movie together. This usually will take up a hour and a half.
4. Craft time. I always pick up craft things on super clearance all year round. I put them away and usually forget about them. But when we have craft time, the kids will purge and find what they want to do a craft. Usually we pick a subject to do a craft. Currently its fall. So usually all orange, brown, reds and yellow papers are out. After were done, we decorate the house with what we have made.
5. Story Time at home. I have a shelf full of books ive found for free at our local thrift store free box or will get for super cheap. I let the kids each pick their own book for me to read. We have a rocking chair by the shelf and a space for the kids to sit down and relax while I read a book. My 4 yr olds really love this.
6. Parks-Usually there are several parks within walking distance from your home. Try walking to a differant park each week. Pack a picnic and enjoy the day. Maybe try to find animals , or even pick up trash. This is a great thing to teach the kids. We do this everywhere we go. My kids just love bringing home plastic bottles to put in the recycling bin.
7. Have a playdate. Either with neighbors who also have kids, or friends in the area. Just pick a meeting place and let the kids have fun. Maybe bring some board games, or a movie that the kids havent seen in a long time. Kids will have fun doing nothing as long as they have someone else to hang out with.
9. Cooking-One thing my kids love doing is helping me cook. Either when im making dinner or snacks. This helps us have one on one time with my girls. I teach them how to cook, and they in return help me cook dinner. Its a special time that we have with each other. Having 4 daughters keeps me pretty busy and they still need one on one time with me.
10. Chores-Yes, even chores can be fun. During the spring time we start planting flowers and the girls have their own space for their very own flowers to grow. They are in charge of weeding and taking care of them. During the summer they like to dead head them once a week. And even in fall and winter, they keep busy. We rake leaves together, pull out plants, and have a scavenger hunt looking for oak balls. If you make it fun, they wont know they are doing chores.
11. Cocoa-This is a bonus for my girls. They will do pretty much anything as long cocoa is involved. I go to the bread store once a week, then the thrift store and if they are really good I will get them a cocoa from our local coffee shop. Its only $1 for a kids cocoa. I will get 2 and have them split in half so each of the kids can have one. Their is so much sugar in them that they will get a tummy ache if they drink a whole one. My oldest learned this the hard way. They are on cloud 9 when they get cocoa. This cost me $2 but well worth it. Its our special thing that only we do(me and the kids, not daddy) and im hoping they remember this growing up. If $2 is not an option, just make it at home. On the back of the baking cocoa box is a recipe. Just use powdered milk and it is even creamier. Have any marshmellows? Throw those in as well. Have cinnamon? Make a mexican cocoa. Try it out and just watch your kids eyes light up.
I hope ive inspired you to try these creative idea's. This is what helped us get through this summers high gas prices time. We had to do these things or we would of gone crazy. They were not a option. I really am glad to have that expierence. It tought me that you really just need each other and nothing else to have fun. Makes me appreciate my family all that much more.