Frugal Kid Fun at the Ready

“I’m bored… ” “There’s nothing to do… ” “But I’m tired of that… ” Never mind what a kid’s supposed to do, what about a parent? The long, often whiny groans that accompany a child’s boredom are admittedly hard to take. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of kid-friendly fun likely already at your disposal and the best part is none if will cost you a dime!

The spoon balancing game is a perennial favorite. If you’ve got a few large spoons and some smallish balls (ping pong balls work great!), then you’ve got a game waiting to happen. Indoors or out, kids can have fun seeing who can balance the ball on their spoon for the longest amount of time or the longest distance. Once these are mastered, up the ante by creating balancing obstacle courses to heighten the fun and increase the challenge.

Board game

Every time I visit the fair (which is admittedly not very often due to the sheer cost), I’m always fascinated at the simplicity of what is often the most popular games. Tossing ping pong balls into bowls of water and tossing coins into glass bowls and saucers aren’t especially sophisticated activities, but they are fun for kids and adults alike. Setting up such games either on a dining room table or on the floor is a cinch and can instantly create entertainment. Talk with your kids about what kind of skills and techniques are necessary for hitting (and staying in) the target successfully.

Ever lament all the trees that must be cut down just to facilitate your pint-sized Picasso? Consider shaking things up a bit and saving some trees to boot by unveiling a brand new—well, old—canvas: your windows and/or sliding glass door. Tempera paint can be used right on the glass and then quickly and easily washed away with a sponge and a bit of warm water. Just the idea alone will likely leave your child wide-eyed and excited. (Just remember to protect the floor underneath their “work” space. The paint comes off the glass easily, but the same may not be true for your carpet or floor!)

Lastly, if you’re looking for a bit more active fun, the kind guaranteed to wear your wee ones out, consider instigating some masking tape mayhem! From virtual balance beams to creating a nearly instant four-square (for ball play) to creating targets for a bean bag (or bean sock) toss, masking tape mayhem (and the fun) are only limited by your imagination. The tape goes down easily and comes up just as fast, so go ahead! If it’s too hot to be outside, turn your living room into a masking tape obstacle course or your hallway into a target-hitting galley.

Boredom is completely preventable. We cannot be bored unless we allow ourselves to be. And the same is true for children. Use all or a few of these ideas to help get your own creative ideas rolling and that of your children. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and the need to find something fun to do can often help you do just that if you’ll stop to look around at what’s already at your disposal.

Photo credit: Birgit F

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

One Response to “Frugal Kid Fun at the Ready”

  1. Alexander |  Jul 15, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Really fun and useful ideas. It` s a way to reduce stress as well. Nice, I really like it.