Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Frugal Family Fun

My enrichment class yesterday was supposed to be on Summer Fun, but I changed it a bit and talked about having fun for very little money. I told them a story I found in the Ensign from 1981. A father was telling a story about a summer that he had planned to take his family to Lagoon. He had limited funds but they were all excited, especially about riding the white roller coaster. Unfortunately he went to the gas station to realize gas had actually reached $1.02 per gallon (wouldn't that be nice!) and he wouldn't have enough to get to Lagoon or pay for the tickets. He was pretty bummed especially when he came home and his kids were all perched in front of the tv. He went out to the garage and got out a whole bunch of stuff and made a go-cart. His kids and the entire neighborhood had a great time with the go-cart all summer long. They actually said they enjoyed it more than the white roller coaster, and it cost a lot less than a 1-day Lagoon ticket.

I put together a list of 100 frugal family fun activities. Preparing the list made me stop and think about how I view Summer. When I was young it was the best time of the year. There was so much free time and time to play outside and with friends. It hasn't felt like that the past few years. As an adult I feel like there is very little free time and so much work to do. I haven't always felt this way (high school and college!), but I want to get work done before I play. The problem is -- with 7 kids the work is NEVER done! As I put together my list of fun things to do I made a promise to myself that I would do everything on my list! Many are very simple (like the ones I put on my last post), and require almost no preparation. The others are worth a little extra effort.

Here are just a few that I shared:

Have a girl’s night out at the “spa”. Do each other’s nails and give each other makeovers. Wouldn't that be fun with adults?!!

Buy a non-toxic face and body paint that washes off easily. Have kids change into bathing suits and let them paint each other

Set up an outdoor stage. You can throw a couple of blankets over a clothesline to use as a curtain. For costumes put out some of your old clothes, or the kids old dance recital or Halloween costumes

Wash the car together

Eat ice cream for dinner – just one night each summer! It’s a memory everyone should have!!

Give kids a disposable camera and encourage them to take their own pictures. Take them to a park or forest so they can photograph nature, or have them be the photographer at a family event. It is fun to see what they can come up with

Go to the zoo (our zoo is very cheap -- you're welcome to visit us here!). How about a scavenger hunt at the zoo? Prepare a list of things to look for. Separate into teams and search for the animal with the long nose that eats ants or find the birds that eat pink shrimp and turn orange. Give the winning team an inexpensive prize at the end of the hunt

Watch a movie outside on a blanket

Have a read-out / pig-out! Everyone brings blankets, cushions, books,
and lots of treats to share

Make papier-mache puppets or masks

Go the airport and watch the airplanes take off and land

Become a tourist in your own area.
Check out all the local historical and interesting sites around town!

Surprise the family. Go on a mystery walk. Only you know the destination.
Have something special waiting at the end of the walk

Schedule a family Olympic day in the park or at home. Have pillowcase races, tug-of-war, and a soccer game. Then, have the family make ribbons for each event. On the day of the Olympics, hold an opening ceremony and let the games begin!

Volunteer as a family to help at animal shelters, community centers, park programs, the local library, or even in the hospital. Choose an organization which is interesting to the entire family

Tour a local establishment (newspaper, office, radio station, city hall)

Find some old family albums or old family videos and have fun reminiscing

Wake up early and watch the sunrise then make breakfast

Have a dutch-oven cook-off with neighborhood friends

Play croquet

good things:
something fun to do every day of the summer
having kids home for a couple of months
the hope that warm days are coming ????? (It snowed today - crazy summer!)


Genelle said...

Yeah, that sounds great! I do stuff like that all the time in the summer! (I may be 15, but I have the imagination of a 6 year old)
Maybe we should do that while I'm here? I would love to look at your old photo albums again! hee hee

Katie said...

Fun ideas Ang. I'm in Enrichment counselor in my ward and always looking for new classes. I may have to steal this one if you don't mind!

jenjen said...

Love it! We are definitly doing the pig out read a thon and some of the other fun things. We have a pool here and I haven't used it like I should yet, thanks for the reminder. I am having a pool party tommorrow!

Cox Family said...

I LOVE frugal family fun! If you have all the ideas typed out, email me a copy!:-)

julie said...

It sounds like your class went really well Ang, and you got so much accomplished this week. One more week, and a paycheck at the end! Yeah!

Carissa Johnson said...

That's awesome, Ang! You don't even need kids to do those things cause they ALL sound fun to me. Maybe Genelle and I can do some of those things this summer. I wish I had taken advantage of those summers I had off. Now I work and you don't get summer off.

Tamara said...

FABULOUS ideas Ang!! You are just so CREATIVE!!

Boy - I wish we had wonderful Enrichment classes taught by you!