Saturday, July 11, 2009

Need to entertain the kids but have no money?

Over the years I have found many ways to keep my kids entertained with little or no money. Most of these idea's result in family time which is a good thing if you ask me. Now days our children are busy being being zombies with the cartoon box (tv) or playing games on some game system. I hope these idea's can help you out in a pinch.

Think local
1. Go for a walk. Pick a different way each time. Sometimes we go for walks and the kids determine which way we go. Its fun to walk around places we haven't seen in a while. We talk about what we like about each house, and try to find birds or cats.

2. School Grounds. Walk to your nearest school and let the kids play on the play structure. Maybe bring some fun things like balls, Frisbee's, or jump ropes. Sometimes we pack a picnic and make a couple of hours out of it. When my daughter has soccer practice at a school, I like to get my jogging time in. She practices and I get exercise.

3. Local parks. Now days most home neighborhoods are built with their own play structures for everyone to enjoy so look for those. Or just find your local park and go for a walk and let the kids play. We have 4 local parks so we can just take turns going to each one. Sometimes we meet up with friends and the kids can play while moms get some big people conversations.

4. Play dates. Maybe plan a play date with a neighbor or just meet up with friends at their homes. Maybe each person bring something to snack on but make it a rule that you have to use what you have. Kids can play while moms hang out.

Look around your home

5. Board Games. Remember those things you have stashed away? Yep, those are games and you can play them. Who would of thought? Pull those out and maybe each game night a person gets to pick what game to play. Pop some popcorn (hopefully you have a popcorn popper) get drinks and have fun at the table or on the floor.

6. Craft time. My girls love to go through the recycle bin and use stuff to create things. Ive accumulated lots of things over the years for them to have fun with. Buttons, pom poms, wooden craft sticks, etc. During the beginning of the school year there are tons of sales on glue's and anything else they would need for school. I just buy extra and the kids use them at home all year long. So remember this when you find a excellent deal.

7. Game systems. Yes even those are entertaining. We choose not to use ours often and encourage our kids to think of other things to play, but sometimes its just fun for the whole family. We have a Wii system (after much discussion about good/bads about it) and play games like bowling, tennis, boxing, etc. By the time were done playing, were all tired and want to go to bed. I recommend playing before bedtime, this way no chasing the kids around and the kids go to sleep right away.

8. Kitchen time. Let the kids help out when you are in the kitchen cooking. Let them add things, cut up things, and talk about the healthy benefits. My kids just love helping me do anything in the kitchen. Well except clean, still working on that one.

9. Movie time. Go through all your movies you own and pick a movie you haven't seen in a while. Pop some popcorn, get some blankets, and have the kids grab their favorite pillows. Just chill out and enjoy the movie.

10. Gardening. My girls love picking a good book to go out in the garden with me. They sit on a bench and just relax while I'm watering the garden. Sometimes they will help me pick weeds or even water for me. Get them involved and discuss all the stuff your growing. This is a great way to get the kids who do not like veggies to get excited about whats growing and will want to eat it more this way.

11. Cleaning. I have a child who just does not like to clean, no names please. Sometimes the whole family will go into their rooms and help them clean. Doesn't sound like much, but that child will love having you all in there helping them. It teaches them to help others and accept help at the same time. Its nice to find stuff we didn't know we still had, stuff they lost and maybe even rearrange their room or change it up a bit.

12. Play in your own back yard. Wow, what an idea. lol. Maybe play tag, or just watch the kids play. My kids love doing stuff and saying "Mom watch this!" or "Mom watch this!". I usually will do some yard work while I'm out there. They get mommy time, I get stuff done. Win win.

Have a little bit of money?

13. U Picks. Find a local farm and do a you pick. Kids fill up their tummies while you pick and this usually will take a few hours up of your time. It supports the local economy and its healthy for your family. Teach your children about why local is better and enjoy the scenery while your there.

14. Memberships. If you have a zoo membership, take advantage when your broke. Go during the non peek hours, pack your own lunch, and linger as long as you want at each animal. Maybe you have a local library, go there and let the kids read books. Our local library has a wonderful pond so we usually walk around it and look at the ducks. Think about what memberships you have and use them as much as possible. Have a friend with a membership? Maybe they can get you in for free. Have a friend who works somewhere they can get you in for free? Rethink who and what you know.

15. Remember it doesn't take money to have fun. And spend as much time with your kids while they are home. They will grow up and leave the nest eventually. Its sad but true so spend your time making good memories. Remember to take a lot of pictures!

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