Saturday, May 2, 2009

9 frugal fun Activties for Kids

(Christof Koepsel, Getty Images News )
Reported by: Sara Noel

Families are redefining fun. Many are staying home more often. Some are canceling summer camps, too. That leaves a lot of hours to fill to combat boredom. Your community offers many free activities. You can often find where to go and what to do on the bulletin board at your local library, by calling your chamber of commerce or in your newspaper. While independent play fosters creativity and confidence, you'll still have to plan some activities, or kids might start climbing the walls. Many old-fashioned activities and outdoor games are making a comeback, but with a fresh twist. They're homemade and often with materials you already have at home. Coincidentally, they're frugal, too. What types of frugal activities have you done?Here are a few fun ideas.

SENSORY BAG: You can make a sensory bag that kids (and you) will love to squish. You'll need a plastic zip-closure baggie, hair gel, craft foamies, glitter and clear Contac paper. Fill the bag with the craft supplies and gel. Seal the bag closed and then sandwich the bag between two pieces of Contac paper. This will prevent leaking.

SHAVING PAINT: You can also combine non-gel shaving cream with a couple of drops of food coloring. Let your child use construction paper, a sliding glass door, a section of foil, a cookie sheet or just sit in a tub for finger-foam fun. Easy to clean from household surfaces. Simply rinse with water. Puffy paint can be made from shaving cream, too. Use equal parts glue and shaving cream. Add a couple of drops of food coloring or tempera paint for color. Use a paintbrush and paint onto construction paper.

SIDEWALK PAINT: You'll need 1/4 cup of cornstarch, 1/2 cup water and food coloring. Combine the cornstarch and water. Using a small container, mix until smooth. Add a few drops of food coloring. You can make a few batches of different colors. Kids can use paintbrushes, foam paint rollers or sponges to paint the sidewalk.

WINDOW PAINT: Mix together equal parts dishwashing liquid and washable liquid paint or powdered tempera. Mix until it's a creamy consistency. Use paintbrushes. Easy to clean from windows with a moist paper towel, too.

FLUBBER: This makes oozing, gooey, cold and wet play goop.
2-1/3 cups warm waterfood coloring, optional2 cups Elmer's school glue3 tablespoons borax
In one container, mix 2 cups warm water, food coloring and glue. Stir until glue has dissolved. In a separate container, combine 1/3 cup warm water and borax. Stir until borax has dissolved. Add borax solution to glue mixture, and mix with hands for about 5 minutes. Pour out extra water. Let sit for a few minutes on a tray before playing. Store in airtight container.

TABLE-TENNIS FUN: Two or more people sit on either side of a table or kneel if it's a lower table. Each person blows the ping-pong ball and tries to get it to fall off the table.

BAGGIE ICE CREAM: This recipe makes a delicious anytime treat.
1 gallon-size zipper-type bagcrushed ice6 tablespoons rock salt1 cup liquid half-and-half1/2 teaspoon vanilla2 tablespoons sugar1 pint-size plastic zipper-type bag
Fill the large bag halfway with crushed ice. Add rock salt. In the small bag, add half-and-half, vanilla and sugar. Seal bag. Place the small bag in the large bag. Seal it. Shake for up to 7 minutes until it is ice cream.

POOL NOODLES: Not just for swimming pools. Drag them out of storage. Visit your local library, and find the book "50 Ways to Use Your Noodle" by Chris Cavert and Sam Sikes. It offers hours of ideas for fun.

CAT'S CRADLE: All you need is some yarn or string. Don't remember how to do string games? Directions can be found at, or look for the book "Cat's Cradle: A Book of String Games" by Camilla Gryski.

Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (, a Web site that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016, or e-mail

1 comment:

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