Cheap Fun

by beagoodmom on May 13, 2007

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I am a big fan of fun. I am an even bigger fan of cheap fun. Over the past 4 years, the kids and I have discovered some great ways to have cheap fun. Every city has its own unique cheap fun for kids, petting zoos, parks, riverwalks, etc. But here I will try to list some things that you can do no matter where you live.

Cheap Fun At Home:

  • Rainy day walks. If it’s a quiet rainy day (no thunder/lightening) we like to go for walks, jumping in the puddles, twirling our umbrellas. Geetle likes to look for worms too.
  • Bubble Baths. For the sake of time, we usually make the kids bathe together and it’s a quick process. For fun, sometimes we take a morning bath, one at a time, with bubbles. No time limits. Pookie is quite a good bubble swimmer.
  • Kitchen fun. There are alot of things that the kids can make that are “fun.” Our kids like to make muffins, hot dogs wrapped in biscuit dough, PBJ cut with cookie cutters, and macaroni and cheese.
  • Dump out your toy box. There are things in there no one has played with in months. Once they see it again, they will play with it for several weeks.
  • Art projects. Try hanging poster board on the wall in your garage and let the kids paint on a vertical surface. It’s a nice change of pace from painting on a flat table. Mix glue and shaving cream together to make puffy paint. Glue anything you can find to paper, making collages. When the kids get bored with crayons and coloring books, these cheap alternatives will jazz things up.
  • Chores. Young kids love to do chores. Let them wash vegetables in the sink. Mix water and a bit of vinegar in a spray bottle for a safe window cleaner that they can use. If you have little stick vacuum, let them try it. Pookie loves to stuff dirty clothes in the washing machine. Geetle loves to wash windows.
  • Make something for someone special. Cookies, paper flowers, a card, etc. Even if you have to go out and buy a few supplies, it’s worth it.
  • Paint on the sidewalk with chalk and water. You can brush water on the sidewalk for quick designs or scribble with chalk first and then paint on water for a cool effect.

Cheap Fun Out and About:

  • The automated self-serve machine at the post office. If there is no one waiting, this can be alot of fun. You have to push buttons, stick on labels and at the end you get to put the letters/packages in the slot. If you had to mail the package anyway, this is free fun.
  • “The Tubes!”. The kids love playing in the playground at McDonalds, affectionately called “The Tubes.” In my experience, if you go between meals, the most they will hit you up for is a juicebox. $1 each.
  • The library. Our library has an indoor children’s area with a play kitchen, puzzles and a turtle tank. They rotate the toys frequently and its always something new. Free, even if you go home with some books and videos.
  • Unnecessary trips to the grocery store. This might sound like torture, but its not. The reason kids don’t like going to the grocery store is that they are forced to follow Mom/Dad around and have no say in the process. Sometimes we go to the chain with the mini grocery carts and I give the kids little lists. They wheel thru the store looking for Cheerios and applesauce. Then they pay for their purchases, carry them to the car and we go home and eat them.
  • The Pet Store. We have several pet stores nearby. One actually sells puppies and kittens. Sometimes we go there and ask to pet a puppy. The clerks think we are cute, so they let us. So far, no one has pressured us to buy a $3500 Puganeese.
  • Wal-Mart. This could be a vacation destination for preschoolers; there is a lot of cheap fun here. You can look at toys, try on funny hats, buy a bag of popcorn, watch the fish, sniff flowers in the garden center, and pretend to get your blood pressure checked.
  • The Bookstore. Ours has a train set.
  • The Mall. Our kids like to throw pennies in the fountain, dance on the Reatrix screen, play in the soft playground, etc.
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