How to Have Fun with Your Kids Without Spending Any Money
As a small business owner in the construction industry, I have been hard hit by the economic downturn. The tough winter has added to the lack of work. Between the two, my wallet is running on empty. You can well imagine how hard it is to keep my young nine-year-old son happy. You can understand my dismay this afternoon when he asked if we could do something fun. My adult brain immediately wanted to wander into the dark abyss of financial woe. My thoughts turned to “what kind of fun can we have without money”? My son, on the other hand, in his child like wisdom said, “Lets go sled riding”. We already have a sled, there is a local hill close by, and it does not cost anything to go down that hill, Eureka!
While he was going up and down the hill, my thoughts began to turn around. I began to think of other ways to have fun without having to spend money. I jotted down a short list and closed my notebook. When we got home, I added a few more items and thought that I should share them with the world, or at least those of us who are broke. I decided that the title of my list should be “How to have fun with your kids without spending any money”.
Number one, of course, is sled riding. Most folks already have a sled and, at least this winter, many areas have snow. While this is a wintertime activity, it can provide hours of fun. Your kids will remember the “old sledding hill” when they become adults and share this with their kids. It is an activity that will live on long after in their memories.
When I was a kid, there was a dirty, old football in the corner of the garage. My brothers and I would throw that thing around for hours and we had a blast. The ball was half-flat and it hurt when you caught it, but at the time it did not matter. Therefore, I decided to put this at number two on my list. It does not have to be a football, a baseball, kickball, basketball or any ball will do.
In 1891 James Naismith, an instructor at the Young Men's Christian Association Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, Invented the game of Basketball. He took peach baskets with the bottoms cut out and attached them to the wall. Number three on my list is, invent a game. I drink a lot of coffee and in doing so I have a large collection of empty plastic coffee cans. My son, who is very inventive, made them into a pyramid and knocked them down with a ball. He tried different configurations, refined the rules, tested his theories and played all night long.
Coming in at number four, and one of my favorites, go on a nature walk. This activity can also be a teaching tool. You can identify leaves, look for animal tracks or just take in the natural beauty of your surroundings. Alternatively, try a local history tour. You should be able to check out a book at your library on the subject. Take the book along with you and try to find the places that make your town unique.
This, by far, is not a comprehensive list, but it is a start. Think of your own fun, free activities. Having fun does not mean spending money. The economy may be in the tank, but your kids do not need to know. We can let our kids be kids without them realizing our struggles.