Okay so it is the school holidays, the weekend or the grandchildren are visiting and the question that always comes up is “What can we do to entertain the children – that doesn’t cost the earth?”
When I was growing up we were just an average family with average income, yet my Mum always made our holiday time fun – even though we never went on a vacation. I fondly remember the days of my youth.
Each school holiday we would be able to invite a friend for the day and we would play on the swing set in our yard, sharing secrets, singing, dancing and putting on shows we made up and having a great time – FOR FREE! Mum would then make a picnic (in our backyard) of sandwiches, cake and drinks and that would top off the day.
These days we feel the need to entertain our children every minute of every day. My friend Terri Webster Schrandt, from Second Wind Leisure Perspectives, recently wrote a guest post for me about how children and adults are losing the ability to have unstructured play. Click here if you would like to read it.
We need to remember that the most important thing we can give our children and grandchildren is our TIME – NOT HOW MUCH WE SPEND ON THEM TO HAVE A GOOD TIME.
I love spending time with my grandson who is two years old. He loves playing in the garden, making creations with play dough, painting,blowing bubbles and just following ant trails. Of course when they are little their expectations are not as high and society hasn’t influenced them – yet!
As children get older their expectations are higher but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy time with them and you definitely don’t have to spend a lot of money.Enjoy time with children is all about encouraging them to be involved and use their imaginations.Click To Tweet
11 things to do that are free or low cost
1. Make a picnic and go to the park
Encourage the children to help you prepare the picnic, pack the picnic basket, blanket and a ball and take off to the park. Most of the parks in our city of Brisbane have play areas for children to explore. They can run free in the fresh air and sunshine and just be children.
2. Explore your city
Catch public transport into the City and explore your home town. Pick up brochures and pretend your are tourists for the day. Not only will you discover things about your home town you didn’t know but it will be an educational experience for the children as well. Take plenty of photos and then make a photo album. I know a little old fashioned but something you can all look at together in the future and relive the moment.
3. Have a painting/drawing morning
I always have colouring books, pencils, paper and paint so that when my grandchildren visit they can spend hours using their ‘creative juices’. Of course at the end you need to have an art show to display their work.
4. Read their favourite books
Ask each child to select their favourite book and take the time to read together. I love hearing someone read a book, especially when they use different voices for the different characters. Make it interactive with you reading parts and then letting the children read aloud also. This will help to develop their confidence.
5. Have a cooking class at home
If the children are old enough have a baking session. Make some cupcakes and let the children decorate the cupcakes themselves. Then have an afternoon tea party.
6. Watch a movie
Let the children select a movie, make some popcorn, draw the curtains so the room is like a cinema and enjoy some relaxing time watching a movie.
7. Have a dress up day
Gather together old clothes, costume jewellery you never wear and old makeup and put them in a box. Add to the box occasionally and then let the children have a ‘dress up day’ and a fashion parade.
8. Encourage them to write and perform their own play
If you have more than one child why not encourage them to write a play and then perform it for you? It will encourage them to use their imaginations and again develop their self-confidence.
9. Build a rainy day tent inside
I remember on rainy days I would give the children some dining chairs and an old sheet or blanket. They would make a tent and take their toys in to play for hours.
10. Make a garden or vegetable patch
Buy some inexpensive flowers or seeds and planter boxes and let the children plant them in their own garden. Encourage them to look after their plants as they grow,which gives them responsibility. They will also be able to harvest their own vegetables and see nature at work.
11. Visit the museum
Usually during school holiday time, museums have free activities and exhibitions for children.
This list could be endless it is just a matter of you taking time to plan the activities and then enjoy! What would you add to the list?Spend time not money on your children and grandchildren and enjoy the experience.Click To Tweet
Having a budget makes life easier and also can allow for special treats during holiday time. Personal Capital has personal finance software and analytic tools so you can keep track of your finances.
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