Inexpensive Family Entertainment

” Laughter is the jam on the toast of life; it adds flavor, keeps it from becoming too dry and makes it easier to swallow. ”    ~Amish Proverb

Have you made summer plans for family fun? No ideas?

Ask around. Ask your children. Use your imagination.

And always remember – your children need to hear you laugh.

What are some ideas? Share yours with us.

Family Entertainment

By Jonni McCoy, Miserly Moms

“Hey, Mom! I’m bored! Can we go somewhere?”

These are common words in most homes. Instead of paying a bundle to go to an
amusement park, we have found some creative activities that cost very little.
Most take some time and a little creativity, but your kids will love the time
you spend with them!

* Make face paint and use it
one each other’s face. To make the face paint, mix together 1 tsp. cornstarch,
1/2 tsp. cold cream or Crisco, and 1/2 tsp. water. After mixing, I divide the
cream mixture into small portions, then add

different food coloring to each. This way I have many colors available. I use
either a paint brush or cotton swab to put it on.

* Make paper airplanes. My
kids love making them, and we have a few books that help with model designs and
instruction. Many of the books come with paper to fold. Here are some of our

Amazing Paper Airplanes, Hui
Edmond, PhD

Best Jumbo Paper Airplanes, Campbell Morris

Fantastic Paper Flying Machines, E. Richard Churchhill

* Have a game night. Pull out all of your board and card games, make some
popcorn, and have fun!

* Take a picnic basket to a

* Borrow videos from the local
library. Search for the old classic movies or old television series.

* Visit your local pet store
— it’s like a mini-zoo. If you get to know the owners well, they often let the
kids play with the pets.

* Have a taffy pull. Make it
together and then stretch it as far as you can.

* Build a gingerbread house.
This can be a fun activity any time of the year. Let everyone decorate a part
of the house their own way.

* Have the kids put on a magic
show or skit for the family. Have popcorn to add to the fun.

* Take advantage of local
museums and any free days that they may offer.

* Look into music concerts or
local plays offered in your city. Many are free.

* Visit a factory that offers
free tours or crafters in their studios (pottery, glass blowers, etc.).

* Ride the public transit of
your city, and see the town. I was amazed that the kids loved this.

* Go star-gazing. Many
community colleges have free observatory nights.

* Go miniature golfing or
bowling. Look for 2-for-1 coupons in the local paper.

* Take some old bread to a
pond and feed the ducks.

* Do a jigsaw puzzle.

* Make water balloons and have
a water balloon fight.

* Make sidewalk chalk (Plaster
of Paris in paper cups) and cover the driveway with art.

* Go on a treasure hunt or a
scavenger hunt.

Dating Your Spouse

Even married couples need to go on dates. It can be a source of real enjoyment
and a needed break from busy routines at home and office. It’s not necessary to
spend a lot of money on these dates – indeed, many can be done free. Before
movie theaters, snow mobiles, ski lifts, or even cars, people had fun.

When my husband and I need
some time alone, but can’t usually afford the combined cost of a sitter, dinner
at a restaurant or movie theater tickets, we find a cheaper alternative that is
as fun. Some people complain that these

aren’t as exciting as a dinner out or a movie. That may be true, but focus on
why you’re going out in the first place – to be together. Romance is all in
your point of view.

Below are some of our ideas
that we have tried. To add your own to the list, think like a tourist: read the
Sunday newspaper’s travel section and get ideas, or read the visitor’s guide
put out by your city.

Inexpensive Date Ideas

* Drive to the tallest place in the city and enjoy the view or drive around the
outer limits of the town.

* Rummage through a flea

* Visit a local art gallery or
a local bookstore’s poetry reading.

* Go out for coffee and
dessert instead of dinner.

* Go to a matinée — they are
sometimes half price — or find the cheap movie theater in your area. They
often cost $1 per person.

* Pull out the music you used
to listen to and reminisce.

* Cook something together.

* Go square dancing.

* Go for a walk.

Reprinted with permission; Jonni McCoy,,
copyright 2011

One comment

  1. Love the Amish proverb at the opening of this post. The Amish are great at saving by living simply, doing things for entertainment that don’t cost a lot. I learned a lot about their ways of saving and living on less by reading “Money Secrets of the Amish” by Lorilee Craker. I’d recommend it to you and your readers!

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