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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

A fast way to lose your mind is keeping your kids cooped-up in the house, with nothing but the TV to entertain them. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can take the kids out or get resourceful at home, so that everyone is happy, including you. In good weather and in bad, here is a list of six activities to entertain the kids while staying in your budget.

Scour the Local Sunday Paper

In almost every newspaper throughout the United States, there is a local calendar section published in the Sunday Paper. There, you will find an abundance of free or cheap activities listed for the upcoming week. Activities usually include music events for children, interactive tours through state parks, discount days at theme parks or arcades, and much more. So you don’t continue to do the same activities, plan out your budget-friendly week with the kids and give them options to choose from for each day’s activities.

Look-up Retail Store Activities

Many retail stores offer free activities for children. Stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Michael’s have workshops where kids can build a bird house, a toy boat, a game, or lean how to sew. These workshops are often free, and only require you to pay for the materials needed. For rainy or cold days, entertaining the kids inside will keep them happy, and you, the parent, from going stir crazy.

After attending a workshop, you’ll understand what materials you’ll need for future projects, and how to build different things. So even if you can’t always attend the workshops, you’ll have a new activity to do with your kids.


Baking treats with the kids keeps them entertained, encourages creativity, and they get to enjoy the results of their projects. You could have make-your-own cupcakes or cookies with different candies and fruits to add to them. Set-up an icing stand and have a contest for the best icing creations. If you don’t want to give your kids too much sugar, you could have a make your own pizza, or pie set-up. Making and rolling your-own dough is hands-on fun for the kids, while you can feel good about knowing the exact ingredients going into their food.

Just remember to monitor your kids, because accidents do happen. Keep them away from the stove and sharp objects like knives. For a back-up plan when accidents do happen, like forgetting to turn off the oven, there’s homeinsurance.com to give you affordable, peace of mind.

Check-in With the Library

librarian telling story to children, holding puppet

Local public libraries always have activities for children. From inviting children’s authors to read for story time, to arts and crafts, the library is a free, easy way to entertain the kids, while enriching their lives with literature.

Family Board Game Night

Board games are great way to spend time as a family, and engage is some wholesome competition. Depending on the age of your kids, different games will be appropriate. Even card games facilitate a fun atmosphere that will last all night. Many games can be found at thrift stores or garage sales if buying a new game is out of the budget. Dust-off some retro games and bring back memories from your childhood. Some classic games include Monopoly, Clue, and Scrabble. While some newer games that will keep the family entertained are Apples to Apples, Cranium, Trivial Pursuit, Scene It, Uno, and Risk.

Backyard Camping

On a cool fall day, or a clear summer night where the temperature is moderate and there isn’t a rain cloud in sight, set up your backyard so that it resembles a forest. Whip out your tent, or make one with wood posts and old sheets. If it is legal in your community, build a small campfire and eat s’mores or roast hot dogs. Backyardcamping is a great way to spend time with your family in the great outdoors, while enjoying the garden that you slave over every weekend.

There are so many activities to do outside, and you have the added benefit of not having to clean up after the camping trip. If it’s warm out, play some games involving water, water balloons, or water buckets. Drip, drip, splash is the wet alternative to “duck, duck, goose”.

Keeping kids entertained doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. Kids usually enjoy the simpler things in life, and so with a positive attitude, and this list on your side, you can keep the children entertained while staying in your budget.

Image courtesy of Mosman Library via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.