Posts Tagged ‘Fun’

Frugal Fun With a Child

March 11, 2008

Tent 1

This was our frugal fun adventure for last weekend. We took a sheet, desk, and the existing balcony railing and made a tent. This was one of the ideas we had discussed in this article. The entire area took a whole ten minutes to set up, and provided countless hours of enjoyment. It was slept in every night, and was not took down till Monday.

Camp fire In this picture you see the “fire” that kept us warm throughout the weekend and provided the source of flame to roast our marshmallows and hot dogs! This was a great chance for our child to express creativity without any adult intervention. Everything was her creation.

Tent 2 Lastly, this is the area that was slept in.  It was simply a comforter folded in half and placed on top of the carpet.  Not the most comfortable set up, but when roughing it, sacrifices have to be made!

It is such a simple thing to do.  Mostly all that is required is time and a little creativity.  It gives the adults a chance to revisit their childhood as well.  I know from personal experience, it only takes a short while before the tent becomes something totally different.

It will be a castle under siege by the evil Lord Greedball;  it will be a submarine folding under the pressure of the tentacles of a giant squid;   a spaceship trying to plot a course that avoids destruction before hastily jumping to light speed;  a police car in pursuit of the bank robbers, and the possibilities are endless.  The thing we enjoy is encouraging imagination, actually leaning with each “turn” or collapsing with each wreck.

Have a great camping trip!


Five Frugal Ways to Have Fun with Your Child

February 18, 2008

This post is by Mrs. Perfectlyimperfectmusing, an Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education major.

Sign for playing children


This post is designed specifically for those with kids in mind. (Or…those who are simply kids at heart!) Whether you are looking for something to do on a rainy day or something fun (and frugal) to do with your family this post is for you.


Let me begin by first stating one of our personal philosophies when it comes to children: First and foremost we believe that learning occurs in young children best through play! This means lots of playing…yes, that means mom and dad get in the floor, in the yard, in the kitchen…wherever and play! We know, sometimes it is hard to do that, but honestly if we don’t play with our little ones and enter their worlds of make believe (while we are still invited) then what makes us think that when our children reach their teenage years that they will want us involved in their lives. O.K. Off of my soap box…

Children love messy, icky, and all around gooey textures. With this in mind, let me warn you ahead of time; some of the fun, frugal ideas here are a bit messy. My recommendations are put down an old sheet or some wax paper and let the fun begin. For those of you who are a bit leery of a mess let me give you some motivation for allowing the icky, messy stuff. Allowing young children to experience the different textures and temperatures is very beneficial to their sensory-motor development; this is true for children with or without special needs.

Certain foods and ingredients make for great fun! I am going to list several activities that you can do at home for a minimal cost, but for maximum fun.

  1. Make some play dough! I am going to list two separate recipes so that even very young toddlers can get in on the fun.

Peanut Butter Play dough
3 ½ cups peanut butter
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 ½ cups of honey
4 cups of dry milk powder

In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar, then beat in honey and fold in milk power. Divide into 15 equal portions and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

The above recipe is great for toddlers who are too young to try to keep them from eating it!

Regular Play Dough
2 Cups of flour
½ cup of cornstarch
1 Tbsp. powdered alum
2 cups of water
1 cup of salt
1 tbsp salad oil

Place all ingredients in saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat until mixture thickens into consistency of cough. Remove from heat and let cool until it can be handled. Knead like bread dough until smooth. Add food coloring if you wish. Store in airtight container. Keeps for up to one month.

**Great for those days when kids are WILD and you need to de-stress….the kneading of dough is a natural stress reliever**

    2. Finger Paint! No, I am not crazy! This is loads of fun and there are some great non-toxic recipes that can be used for children of all ages. My favorite is:

Condensed Milk Paint
2 cups condensed milk
4 small bowls

Various plastic or wooden spoons
Red, yellow, green, blue food coloring
Divide the condensed milk evenly into the four bowls.
Add a few drops of food coloring to each bowl (create more colors by mixing and experimenting)
Mix food coloring into the milk with spoons.
Put down construction paper and let the fun begin!

You can give your toddler wooden or plastic spoons, cookie cutters, basting brushes or anything that they can “paint” with…of course fingers work great.

    3. Make Goop. This stuff is fascinating, it hardens in the air and turns to liquid when it is held, can resist punching, but a light touch causes a finger to sink in. Try to explain this to a curious child of four and you have yourself a challenge.

3 cups of corn starch
2 cups of warm water

Slowly add water to the corn starch. Mix ingredients together with hands. Goop is ready to use when it changes from being lumpy to satiny.


    4. Have children tell you a story or have them act out a story you have told them. This is especially fun when the child is old enough to draw some of their own story prompts. Many people wrongly assume that a preschooler has a limited attention span, but give them your attention and *listen* to them, talk *to* them not at them and I think many would be pleasantly surprised at just how much of an attention span they have and they would be shocked at their creativity.


    5. Sing, dance and use your imagination with your child. Ok, I know this is hard for a lot of us, but I promise you this: young children don’t care whether or not we can sing or dance, they just want us to be involved with them. When doing these things remember that it is irrelevant how crazy you feel or how out of sorts you feel, what is important is that you are showing your child that you are willing to have fun with them in a way that you both can enjoy.


To close this post let me state that having fun with your family in a frugal manner is really rather simple. I believe that it is the pillow fights, the wrestling matches in the living room floor, the make believe princesses and super heroes, and the little things that make great memories. These things will be what children and parents remember most when looking back, not the expensive vacation that leaves everyone exhausted and cranky! So, what are you waiting for? GO PLAY.


What are some of your best memories from childhood? What are ways that you have frugal fun with your family?