What Shall We Do Today? Kid-Friendly Activities That Won’t Break The Bank
We’ve all experienced toddlers having more fun with shiny wrapping paper than with their actual present. You don’t need to spend a whole lot of money for your kids to have a good time. Here are some things you can do for free – or very little.
Go on a Picnic
What could be easier, and more fun, than throwing together a picnic basket with homemade sandwiches and snacks, and finding a grassy, shady knoll at the park to throw down a blanket? Kids absolutely love picnics. Bring along a ball, a deck of cards or, even better, a kite, and get ready for an afternoon of relaxing fun.
Visit the Fire Station
Another fun activity is a visit to your local fire station. Kids love sitting on the big fire trucks and learning how firefighters react in a state of emergency. And some firehouses still have poles! You may also be surprised to know that many fire stations are well equipped with coloring books, stickers and other kid-friendly fun.
Build a Fort
Forts are a childhood staple. If you’ve got an outdoors area and big box or tarp, encourage your kids to find creative ways to create secret spaces just for them. Indoors, all you need are sheets and blankets to drape between chairs and the sofa or bed and furniture. Kids love setting up camp with a kitchen, visitors and sleeping area. If you’ve got a tent on hand, let them pitch it the backyard. Make sure you knock before entering!
Have a Scavenger Hunt
Indoors or out, a scavenger hunt is a fun and easy way to encourage discovery and learning. Get a few things from the dollar store; then write down a few clues that will lead them from place to place, with small surprises along the way. Save the best treat for last!
Go to the Flea or Farmers Market
Flea markets are always full of interesting things for kids: antique cars and dolls, comic book collections, medieval weapons like swords and pistols, and so much more. You will find lots of small items that cost little but mean a lot.
A visit to your local farmers market can be part of a plan to bake a fresh strawberry tart or apple pie. Choose a simple recipe and let your kids pick the fruits or produce. Do some research to discover the indoor and outdoor markets in your area.
Conduct a Science Experiment
Stop by your local library for a kid-friendly book on DIY science experiments. Skip the Diet Coke and Mentos and amaze your kids with a ‘volcano’ eruption using baking soda, food coloring and vinegar.
Find Your Inner Jackson Pollock
All you need is a long roll of paper, sheet or canvas to encourage your kids create Pollock-like action and splatter paintings. Once they’re dry, hang them in their rooms.
Participate in a Workshop
Both Lowes and Home Depot offer workshops for kids. If your kids are between the ages of 9-12, visit the Depot on the first Saturday of each month between 9:00am and 12:00pm. Lowes lets kids build wooden projects on the weekends.
Stage a Play
Encourage your kids to write a play and choose roles. After they practice, they can put on a show for family and friends. Make a movie with your smartphone or tablet and work together to choose special effects.
This is by no means an exhaustive list – there are plenty more fun, free activities available. What are your favourites? Let us know in the comments.