Frugal Fun for Kids

Summer is here and parents know what that means – summer vacation. The kids will be excited just to be out of school for, say, the first five minutes. Then they will want to be entertained for the rest of the summer. Having just one child can tear up the family entertainment budget. More kids and you can kiss the budget goodbye. So how do you combat the summer blues and stay on budget? You have to be crafty.

It’s best if you plan ahead and collect the supplies throughout the school year but you can still do most of these with things you have around the house right now.

Rock Painting

This activity can be geared up or down depending on the age level of the kids. Collect some smooth rocks. They can be flat or round. Clean them thoroughly with warm water and dish soap and allow them to dry. Draw some patterns on paper before you start painting the rocks to be sure you have worked out the design. Then draw the design on the rock with a pencil. For young children, you can paint the outline on the rock with black paint and let it dry. They can fill in the spaces with paint like they would do with crayons and a coloring book. The designs can be simple like a lady bug or complex like a nature scene. The activity can take up plenty of time and be repeated throughout the summer. The rocks can be collected and displayed as a rock garden. Use acrylic paints and coat with polypropylene to protect the paint if you plan to display them outdoors.

Paper Dolls

Paper dolls harken back to a simpler time. Many kids have never even seen paper dolls. There are numerous websites where you can download free paper dolls to print out for your kids to play with. Popular characters such as the Berenstein Bears and sailor moon have free printables as well as historical and sports figures. Do a quick search for free paper dolls or printable paper dolls and you will dozens of selections. Print them out and pass them to the kids along with some age-appropriate scissors and watch them have fun all afternoon. (Supervise young children while using scissors.)

Popsicle Fun

Staples in your kitchen can make for fun in the summer. Make your own popsicles. If you don’t have molds, you can use disposable paper cups and Popsicle sticks you purchase at the craft store. Even ice cube trays will do in a pinch. You can use fruit juice or drink mixes to make the chilly treats.