Fun Frugal Stuff to do With Kids

MAKE A CLUBHOUSE/FORT IN THE LIVING ROOM-- Pull every blanket, table, chair, and anything else you can muster up and build a huge clubhouse in your living room.  Our favorite are multi room clubhouses.  My girls also like when we put a small box or basket by the "door" then I write notes or put random small toys in the box and knock or ring a bell and shout "mail's here" they scramble to get the "mail" and see what surprises are there for them.

WATER FIGHT -- Fill a plastic tub with water and get out all of the buckets and cups you can find and have a water fight in your backyard.  Take turns throwing water at each other, dumping it on each other's heads or throwing it straight up in the air and seeing where it lands.

GROCERY STORE -- Set out play food (if you have it), otherwise real empty food containers, or even non-food items.  Get a calculator out and some old receipts, if you have them.  Give each player a bag or basket (or play shopping cart if you have one).  You can cut paper up to be your 'pretend money.'  Then take turns shopping and checking out shoppers. 

OBSTACLE COURSE -- Set out masking tape likes to act as "balance beams",  pieces of paper to jump on or over,  chairs and couch cushions to crawl under or over,  cups to weave in and out of etc.  and have kids take turns running through the obstacle course.

HOMEMADE SALT DOUGH -- Make some salt dough using two parts flour to one part salt and add water until you get a good dough consistency.  Add food coloring if desired.  You can let your creations with this salt dough air dry for a few days or dry in the oven at a very low temp (around 200 degrees) for a few hours, and then paint them. We've made magnets, little trinket bowls, and necklace charms this way.

HOMEMADE SIDEWALK PAINT -- Mix equal amounts of corn starch and water, add food coloring.  Use old paintbrushes to paint designs on the sidewalks.  It washes off just like chalk!

MAGAZINE PAPER PEOPLE -- My daughter is hooked on Wizard of Oz and has some tag board cutouts of the characters that she loves to play with (like playing dolls).  As a kid I loved to cut pictures of people out of magazines, and catalogs, and JC Penny's ads and the like and make families with them and I even gave each family a little shoe box to live in.  Sound's dumb, but I loved it!

RECEPTIONIST - Another thing that sounds dumb, but I loved it as a kid and my girls love it too, is playing receptionist.  We set up a TV tray or desk with paper, a calender, or a spiral notebook for appointment making, an unplugged telephone, and various highlighters and stamps etc, and then pretend to be a receptionist for a doctor or dentist, answering phones and making appointments etc. 

THROW/DROP THE ____ INTO THE_____ GAME --  We've done many versions of this, Throw the washrag into the laundry basket, throw the sock ball into the bucket, drop the clothespin into the bottle.  Take any throw, toss, or droppable item you have and any receiving receptacle you can find and make a game of it.

MAKE LIFE SIZED PAPER CLOTHES -- Lay out two large pieces (as long as your child)of butcher paper or other super large paper one on top of the other and have your child lay down on them.  Lightly trace around them to get their basic shape then draw clothing shapes (dresses are easiest) that will be large enough to fit your child (allow extra inches so that the clothes will go around your child.  Cut the clothes shape out (of both pieces of paper).  Then allow your child to use his/her creativity to color and/or use stickers, glitter etc to decorate the clothing.  Then either punch holes around the edge and use yarn to 'sew' the two sides together or be lazy like me and just use your stapler.  Then help the kids CAREFULLY get into their clothing.  They do tear up pretty easily, but considering that the process is half of the fun, they entertained my girls for quite a while.

PAINT WITH ICE -- Fill an ice cube tray with water add some food coloring or powdered tempra paint to make each cube a different color.  If you'd like you can stretch tape across the top of the tray and use that to support toothpick 'handles' that you stick in each one (popsicle style).  Once frozen you can use the cubes to paint on paper or the food coloring ones work even better to paint on paper towels or coffee filters.  This is messy so it is best to do it outside or in the bathtub.

COFFEE FILTER TIE DYE -- Using non-permanant markers (like Crayola markers) have your child color various designs, dots, squiggles, whatever on a coffee filter.  When they've finished, get a spray bottle full of water and give it a few sprays.  The water will cause the colors to bleed and run making some pretty nifty designs on the coffee filter.

WAXED PAPER PRESSING -- Cut up bits of paper or tissue paper, gather crayon shavings, or even flower petals and leaves from the yard.  Have your child arrange them as he/she desires on a piece of waxed paper.  Then place another piece of waxed paper on top.  Cover this with a paper towel or cloth and iron until the wax on the paper has melted together (and the crayon shavings have melted if using crayon shavings).  Then you can cut your creation to any shape desired.  Make them into a window hanging, or a book mark.  Whatever.

I am thinking I should just start another blog for this stuff so I can add pictures etc.  Oh, well...that'll be another day!

More To Come....But It's Time For Bed Now!