As any parent knows, children are amazing and loving beings who fulfill our lives…..
and can drive us crazy on occasion or fifty!
So… what are simple, frugal ways to have fun with your kids without sitting in front of the TV all day, spending a lot of money, or having your kids tell you they are bored a hundred times??
Here are some ideas:
Visit the local farmer’s market (even if you aren’t going to buy anything)
- Visit on a consistent basis and have your kids get to know the vendors and farmers. It is beautiful for your child to learn where the food they eat comes from and who is growing it!
- If your child is older create a scavenger hunt (find 5 heirloom fruits or vegetables, find out what time a farmer has to wake up in the morning, learn what free-range means from a chicken farmer, etc!)
- For your younger children it is a great environment filled with colors to learn and things to count and people to say Hi to! I have yet to meet an unfriendly person at the market!
- Try samples of the various artisanal products and fruits and veggies!
Go to the Park! It sounds so simple, but I am always amazed at how few kids there are at many of the parks we visit each week!
- Enjoy the swingsets, slides, monkey bars and other assorted playground equipment
- Always bring a few simple tools (plastic shovel, bucket) so if there is sand or dirt to play in they can dig and build. I just keep a small bucket with a few toys in the trunk of the car ready to go!
- Find out what time the sprinklers are on and bring your towels – let them run through the sprinklers if it is a hot day (just make sure to respect the park and not damage fragile ecosystems)
- Let your kids make friends with strangers – it will build their confidence and independence, and as long as you are right there it is safe and a good thing.
- Take a walk and let them explore whatever they want!
Just let them play… and don’t interfere (as long as nobody is about to lose an eye!)
Kids have truly AMAZING imaginations – and I feel that it is our job as parents to foster that imagination – by not always planning something.
Have basic toys and supplies available for them to access (paper, writing utensils, blocks, play tools, etc) and just let them do what they want! If that means coloring a piece of paper with a black marker until the marker runs out – then so be it!
Give them freedom to be themselves and learn how to figure things out and fix problems – do not always help (I know, that sounds crazy – and it truly is hard when your 4 year old gives you those big brown puppy dog eyes and says Mommy, I love you, can you please rebuild my tower that sissy jut knocked over again…)
Let them get dirty – Dirt don’t hurt and they are washable!
The list goes on…. and will be continued with some actual ideas for specific activities on those rainy days – and those days when just letting them play is resulting in boredom and mommy insanity 🙂
But I truly believe that it is of the utmost importance to allow our children to experience a “childhood” of simplicity in nature, in play and in life. Because as we know….. adulthood comes all too fast!!
PS. And be silly a lot…