Cheap fun for the family

You don’t have to shell out the big bucks to give your kids a great time. Although one day we do hope to take the family to one of the Disney parks, for now, we’re keeping it under budget. I’m not willing to spend a lot of money on a vacation that my kids might not fully remember and continue to appreciate when they become adults. As long as they can be entertained by watching water run through a Brita filter, we’re not paying for a luxury vacation.

With that in mind, here are some fun things you can do with your family that don’t cost much.

  1. Open up a large cardboard box at both ends, find a hill, climb it, let your kid crawl in and roll down the hill in it.
  2. Find a vacant lot, (check to make sure there aren’t any needles or drug addicts lying around), give your kids each a bucket or two and tell them they have one hour to find as much treasure as they can (but if they find needles, don’t touch them). Then set up your lawn chair and crack open a good book.
  3. Get in your vehicle and go through a drive through car wash. My kids really love doing this one.
  4. Take the kids to play with the toys at a local thrift shop. We’ll take the kids along to Value Village in town and do our shopping while taking turns watching the kids play with all of the toys on the shelves. We’ve trained them to put the toys away when done and get out of the way when a shopping cart comes down the aisle. Sometimes, but not usually, we’ll even let the kids spend a maximum of $5 on a ‘new’ toy.
  5. Buy a package of jelly beans. Throw the beans in the back yard, call it a jelly bean hunt and relax while the kids hunt for jelly beans.
  6. Build a blanket fort… because who doesn’t love a good blanket fort?

Of course, you can always do the usual stuff like go to a park or playground or beach, do something crafty, hit the library, hike, ride bikes, you know, the stuff you’re probably already doing.

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Wednesday morning fun

This morning my son asked if he could watch the water run through our Brita filter in the water jug. Maybe tomorrow I’ll paint something and he can watch it dry.

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Vacation hangover

On Thursday we got back from a family vacation to a great beach town a few hours away. It was great to get out to the beach, swim in the river, watch the kids run around with their cousins, and visit the monstrously huge playground near the beach. We were there for 4 days and 3 nights.

Vacations are great, until they’re over. Suddenly your dirty laundry basket explodes like a real life size volcano. Sand residue spreads throughout the house no matter how much you shook out the beach towels before packing up. Two seconds after walking back in the door the kids are whining…

I’m bored.
I don’t know what to do.
Can I watch TV?
Can I play on the iPad?
Will you play a game with me?
I don’t know what to do.

And then, just as the light at the end of the tunnel appears… the light of day camp on the horizon, the light of your office full of only grown ups… one bored little munchkin gets sick and you’re stuck at home, holding the puke bucket and doing even more laundry, this time in the middle of the night.

Sigh, maybe next time we just won’t come back from the holiday.

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