Making Memories on a Budget
What childhood memories do you hold dear? For me, it was all the times “life happened”. The little things like playing outside, riding my bike, playing at the park, swimming in the lakes, laughing with friends. None of those moments cost a cent, yet they are some of my most treasured memories.
Making memories on a budget is very easy to do. Choose any of the ideas below and you’ll have a fun-filled time without breaking the bank!
Plant flowers, fruit trees, herbs, or vegetables. Your child will learn science, responsibility and have fun!
Give your child some old toy catalogs or magazines and safe scissors. Watch them cut all day.
Send your child outside with a bucket and small shovel. Shoveling snow, sand, dirt or rocks — it’s all good fun.
Turn up the radio and sing! Teach your child the music of the 70s, 80s, or 90s.
Throw different items (balloons, tennis balls) to your child. Roll balls to young children.
Lay on the sidewalk and take turns outlining each other. Decorate your flat selves.
Make towers, play houses, airplanes, trains, forts and more!
Go outside and Blow Bubbles. Take turns chasing and popping them.
Make Masks from Paper bags, paper plates, foam, or anything on hand.
Teach your child all the classic games — UNO, Crazy 8, Go Fish, Old Maid, Memory Match.
Give your child a list of clues and send him out to find them. Clues can be simple (find a rock) or very advanced (find a piece of granite).
Go to a pond, creek, or lake and throw rocks. Try to skip them or aim for different targets.
Bring kitchen utensils into the bath tub. Bubbles and water can become a gourmet dinner.
Give your child Junk Mail, stickers, a calculator and pen. They will play office for hours.
Let your child use a disposable camera or a digital camera and witness their creativity. They may surprise you!
Make some sandwiches and eat them outside.
Find age-appropriate recipes and let your child help in the kitchen.
How many versions of tag do you remember from your childhood? Teach the oldies to your children (freeze tag, TV tag, etc.)
Write a Story
Younger children can write wiggle-worm sentences (much scribbling and pictures). Encourage older children to write chapter books — your child could write the next Harry Potter or Magic Tree house.
Toddlers can act out or guess their favorite animals. Older children will enjoy acting out movie titles.
Turn off the lights & make shadow puppets. Or get two flashlights and chase the light beams.
Feed the ducks, squirrels, birds, turtles or fish near you.
Every day, have your children tell you what they are thankful for.
Let your children dress in your clothes.
Make cookies and decorate them.
Turn up the music and Dance!
Teach your child all your favorite board games.
Get a notebook or diary and encourage your child to express their feelings with pictures and words.
Grab the stuffed animals and treat them to a delicious cup of imaginary tea.
Keep in Touch
Write a letter to Grandparents, Aunts or Uncles. Teach the importance of family.
Come up with age-appropriate clues and let you child guess what you are thinking.
Be sure to print out this list and keep it handy for the next time your children say “MOMMMMMM — we’re bored!”
Nicole Dean is the owner of Show Mom the Money ( Showmomthemoney.com) — a fun and exciting site for Moms