Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Save Money, Entertain Children Without "Toys"

Is it just me or have the toy catalogs increased in frequency recently?  Farm & Fleet, Target, Toys R Us.  We are inundated with them, and oh how they work so well.  My four year old is drawn to them like a moth to a flame.  The prices of toys are also quite manageable, but just because they are cheap doesn't mean we have to purchase them.  And so I don't.  Oh sure, they kids have toys, plenty of them.  But they also entertain themselves with items and activities that did not come from the toy aisle.  Whether you are the parent or hosting young kids in your home, keep the following in mind as the a holidays approach:

  1. Laundry baskets make ideal boats.  Outfit with throw pillows, books, and blankets as well as a little exertion (i.e. pushing) you can give a child a wonderful high sea adventure;
  2. If the energy level is high, put the laundry basket at the end of the hallway and have a toss game.  Use tennis balls or rolled up socks;
  3. Build a fort with chairs, blankets, pillows and other odds and ends;
  4. Play hide-and-go-seek.  It is a great way to work on counting with pre-school aged children, and guarantees giggles.  Caution, avoid this in public places.  Kids can hide well, sometimes too well.  We only do this one at home;
  5. Fill up the bathtub and toss in plastic containers.  Filling, pouring, dumping can yield a solid 45 minutes of play....just stay in the bathroom with them!
Image by M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2012, -- recent fort constructed by my children.  
You can't tell, but they are hidden underneath with a stack of library books.  This keeps them busy for hours!  
I love the creativity that comes from them, but a warning.....when structures tumble meltdowns are likely. 
 I think I know what Frank Lloyd Wright's mom felt like some days.

These are the five most common ones used in our frugal home.  How about you?  Leave a comment and share your ways to enjoy children without breaking the bank!

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas, though we disagree on #3: we encourage our kids to get lost in (most) public places.