If you’re like most parents, you know how important it is to create pleasant memories for your children. Parenting is a tough job. You must juggle the responsibilities of raising children, working full time, and tending to the household chores. Fortunately, young kids are not hard to amuse. Here are five inexpensive fun things to do with your kids that will pay a lot in childhood delight.
Have a party just with the kids
Everyone loves a good party, and who better to share an occasion with than the ones you love most? Find something to celebrate. It can be anything from celebrating the start of the season to a good report card; the main idea is to radiate joy and enthusiasm. Designate a day and time for your party; give it a name, mark it on the calendar, and talk it up. Your excitement is contagious, so spread it to the children. Next, pick up a few party favors and decorations at the dollar store. You can even make up a couple “prize bags.” These don’t have to be costly; kids are thrilled with the idea of prizes. On the day of the party, let the children help you decorate (that’s part of the fun). Put on your party hats and pass out the party favors. Order pizza or anything else special that they don’t get too often. Don’t forget the cake. You can even sing a silly song to the tune of “Happy Birthday.” Finally, play a few games and give out prizes. Make sure you participate and get a prize too. Kids love to see their parents having fun.
Read to them
Reading to your child is invaluable in many ways; not only does it encourage bonding, but it offers educational benefits as well. Jim Trelease, author of the Read-Aloud Handbook, says that reading aloud to your kids will make them smarter. In addition, kids who are read to are less distracted by electronics and will have an appetite for books as they get older. Trelease refers to reading aloud to kids as “advertisement for books.”
You can read to your kids at any time, but having a routine makes it your time special. Maybe you can establish a nighttime reading routine. Check out some books at the library, get the kids in their pajamas, and you’re all set.
Go on an outdoor adventure
You don’t need a lot of money enjoy the outdoors. Many parks host a variety of free activities for families. Every family is unique and has different activity abilities but here are a few ideas to consider:
- Plant something. You can do this indoors or outdoors. Watch it grow together.
- Go sledding (in the winter)
- Go tubing (in the summer)
- Lie out under the stars or take a late night drive to see the moon.
Camp out (at home)
Kids love the idea of camping out. Even if the weather doesn’t allow you to do it outdoors, you can still do it in your living room. Get out the tent, sleeping bags, and popcorn; help the kids decorate paper stars, the moon, and fluffy clouds, which you can hang from a ceiling fan or tape to the walls and ceiling (use masking tape for protection). Once you begin your camping adventure, “roast” some marshmallows over a toaster, pop some popcorn, then settle into the campsite. Your kids may want to build a make-believe campfire. Use a phone app or nature sound machine to play outdoor noises such as crickets. Don’t forget to turn off the lights; a flashlight or LED candles make a nice ambiance. Sing, tell stories, snack, and snuggle. Your kids will be thrilled with the camping adventure.
Find free outings
Many places offer free or low-cost activities. Check online or at your local library for places to go and things to do. Some examples of activities you may find are:
- Historical reenactments
- Special exhibits
- Bird walks
- Garden Fest
- Kids cooking
- Free art/craft activities
- Library programs
- Kite flying
- Plane watching
Make special memories that will last into adulthood. More than anything, your kids want you. Enthusiastically engaging in fun things to do with your children, even the simplest activities, means more to them than if you were to take them somewhere expensive but remain disengaged. When kids feel you are happily enjoying their company, their hearts are content.