1. Parenting

Readers Respond: Cheap Fun for Parents and Kids

Responses: 11


Cheap fun is often the best kind, isn't it? After all, you don't really have to spend money in order to have fun with your kids, or to create lasting memories.

Below, share your family's best tips for having fun together, without spending a lot of money.


There are a lot of free things you can do at the library. All the books and use of the dvd's and cd's and such are there for your free use. The books take you to more places you could ever visit in a lifetime.
—Guest Carol McCroskey

Boys Do Color

I have two boys who are almost 11 and 12 now. The loved to color when they were little, but now that little league, football, golf, and a laundry list of other sports are in their lives, there's little time for much else. Last night, however, we had my girlfriend's daughter over and another neighbor boy. Chole started coloring a wonderful drawing, and before we knew it, all of them were coloring and praising each others artistic skills! Wow, what a wonderful sight--and all free!
—Guest Valerie Pferdehirt

Cheap Fun Idea...

Play with puppies, walk a dog, or pet the cats at the local animal shelter.
—Guest Sheila

Cheap Fun Ideas

When I had 2 granddaughters visiting, I made sandwiches and had other picnic items, put down a quilt in the back yard and told them we were having a picnic. While we were eating and using our binoculars to look for birds, one granddaughter said "Grandma, how do you think up such neat things to do?" That granddaughter is now 38 years old and that memory is one of my best. My 9-year-old great granddaughter said other day that she has never been to a sit-down on the ground picnic. She has been to the beach, tubed several rivers, and camping many times, but ate at a table or on her tube. I'm planning on having a sit-down on the ground on a quilt in our back yard and to take her to a near-by park when I can get her Dad and her grandmother to go with us. You don't have to spend money to entertain children. My great-granddaughter was thrilled when I took her to a public library not the school library!
—Guest Colleenss

Great Ideas for Nana's too

Many of these ideas will also work for a Nana with three very rambunctious grandbabies. Thanks for sharing!!

Cheap Fun Ideas for Families

When our son was young we lived in a city with a transit system. We also had a tiny entertainment budget. For the price of bus tickets we would take the bus to the subway, the subway to the airport, go on the escalator, the moving sidewalk, and watch planes take off and land. He loved it. I always had drinks in my tote bag so we didn't even spend money there. Our son also liked to watch the earth moving machines so we would drive up and park near new construction sites (but still behind the construction barriers) and discuss safety, the machines, and the workers' training. He could watch those machines for ages it seemed. But it gave us a lot of conversation starters, sitting side-by-side watching the machines.

Simple Ways to Have Fun

Kids need to go outside more and play, even just outside in the front yard. There is so much to do, like play soccer, ride a bicycle, and swimming (just don't forget to apply sunscreen). Reading is definitely good for the kids, and it helps adults with memory. I like reading to my granddaughter, who is 3, even if she doesn't want to read. She still listens and absorbs what I'm reading. I like to go for a walk too with my grandkids and look around at what we can find on the way to the park. One day we found a very interesting bug. It looks somewhat like a cricket only with a gold stripe on its back and it hops like one. Yesterday we saw the rocket go up at Cape Canaveral, my granddaughter actually saw it first and pointed at the sky. It was beautiful watching the rocket going up and disengaging as it went higher into the sky. Time like this spent with kids or grandkids are worth every minute.
—Guest Diana Cases

Cheap Fun Things

We live in the country, so going places with the kids/grandkids always costs something. We have a fire pit for toasting marshmallows and wieners, a "secret pathway," "forest," a "jungle," swing set, and sandbox. The grandchildren LOVE our yard. When they come to visit and go home, they cannot wait to come back again. We always are outside playing with them, too.
—Guest Helen


My 6 year old daughter loves it when she "catches" me doing yoga. She loves to crawl all over me. Sometimes when she's hanging onto me the modification or adjustment feels super good! I try to remember to go with the flow, enjoying our time together rather than expecting a perfect practice. Including time together is most beneficial!
—Guest Katie A. Campbell

Shame on me . . .

D'you know what? I feel quite shame-faced reading this list: so many of these things are the easiest-peasiest things to take time out for, yet I'm always so 'busy' - and use my single mum status as the reason that my daughter is growing up fast and furious, watches too much TV, and doesn't get anywhere near enough 'me' time. Before I know it, she'll be an adult and out of that door! I think I'll go and get those satsuma pips she kept from her fruit yesterday and go and plant them with her. It doesn't matter that they probably won't grow (Britain's climate is far too cool). What matters is that we just spend some quality time having fun in each other's company. And before any of you tell me to be less harsh on myself, I will acknowledge that we do bake cakes together, we do go cycling (though always at my daughter's bidding) and I used to do lots and lots and lots with her when she was smaller. But this article was an appropriately timed kick up the backside for me. Thank you!
—Guest Gillywilly

The Literacy Ambassador

Don't forget that reading with your children is cheap, relationship-building and fun.
—Guest Cathy Puett Miller

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