Free, Cheap, and Low-cost: A Guide to Fun Activities for Kids

children laughing

Why is raising kids so different, difficult, and expensive right now? Back in the day, families have three or more children. That number has dwindled in recent years. On average, families now have 2.4 children. This is the trend for the past two decades. The factors vary, of course, but one overarching reason is the lack of financial resources. It is more expensive to raise children now, which means parents consciously decide not to have more kids.

Over the years, fun activities grew from playing hopscotch in the backyard to having the latest smartphone. Children as young as three years old have tablets and laptops of their own. They have a room full of toys. Their rooms are designed to the nines. But this isn’t true for every family. Some families hardly get by. Still, low-income families look for opportunities to make activities fun for the kids.

Make the Most of the Backyard

You don’t need a large backyard to play sports and other activities with your kids. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to go camping? You can make use of an old large cloth to make a camping ground for your kids. Make a hole in the corners of the cloth and then wrap a string around it so you can tie one end to your window and the other to your fence.

If the space is too small, simply enclose a corner of the yard with a plain white sheet. This will create more privacy from the prying eyes of the neighbors. During wintertime, you need a roof to cover the “tent.” You can use another large cloth for that. However, this idea will work better with high-quality motorized retractable awnings because you can simply retract the roof during summer- and springtime when your kids can spend the night looking at the skies.

woman with 3 children painting easter eggs

Look at Community Center Activities

Community centers have loads of free activities going on. You can watch concerts and plays by the local community theater members. You can enroll your kids in taekwondo, swimming, and other sports for a fraction of the price of a private tutor. Even adults will find something in community centers that can interest them — whether it’s yoga, dance class, and sports, too.

Have a Movie Marathon

Is there anything better than having a movie marathon with your kids on the weekend? You need only a Netflix subscription to watch those scary movies kids seem to love so much. A bowl of popcorn and a bucket of chicken wings will complete the whole idea. But if money is tight, you can forego the chicken wings and get a tub of butter popcorn and some soda.

Go to the Beach

Thankfully, public beaches are open now. There are a lot of things kids can do at the beach. The little ones can build sandcastles while the older kids can play beach volleyball. Hotdogs from food carts cost just $2 each. Bring your own water, so you don’t need to buy soda. If you can, prepare a picnic of super cheap and simple food such as chicken fingers and catsup, and some vegetables on the side.

Make Your Own Play

Why don’t you make a movie of your own? It’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Ask your family what stories they want to make. Maybe a horror or a comedy film? You can collaborate on ideas and write the dialogues yourself. With a trusty smartphone or handheld video camera, you can enact the scenes in your made-up story.

If making a story of your own isn’t something that you will enjoy, choose a film or play that you want to be a part of. Each member should pick a character to imitate. You can recreate the scenes using whatever you have in your home — cardboard boxes, sofa sets, costumes, and other props.

Do a Scavenger Hunt

You may have a tiny space, but that doesn’t mean your kids shouldn’t enjoy spending time there. A scavenger hunt does not require a huge space. All it needs is secret hiding places in your house and around the yard. Whoever finds the “treasures” will be free from house duties that day. It’s important not to give them material prizes when they win the hunt because they have to understand that this is more for fun than it is for competition.

The lack of financial resources should not stop you from letting your kids enjoy their childhood. Make sure to find free and cheap but fun activities that they can do. Your resourcefulness will go a long way toward improving your kids’ well-being especially during trying times in your life as a family.

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