Thrifty Fun at Home

If you have children, you’ve likely heard the words, “But I’m bored…” more than a few times. I’d even venture to guess that you’ve also likely suffered from cabin fever a time or two yourself. But sometimes – either due to weather or budget or any other number of infinite reasons – getting out is just not option. There is good news, though. There’s a plethora of fun, creative activities just waiting to be explored right at home courtesy of what’s already within your own four walls.

Board game

Open the pantry to find great chemistry experiments. Create a small volcano courtesy of a molded piece of aluminum foil. Place it inside a glass casserole or pie dish. Carefully fill it with a few tablespoons of baking soda and then pour the equivalent amount of vinegar through the crater at the top to watch it erupt! Got salt or alum or even just plain granulated sugar? Then create your own garden of crystals. (For even more fun and easy at-home chemistry activities, check out my free downloadable and printable “Kitchen Chemistry Kit” book.)

Raid the recycling bin for science and art projects. Forget spending money on craft supplies and don’t even think about purchasing premade kits because there’s simply no need. Nearly ever household features some kind of recycling bin and chances are it’s filled constantly with a rotating supply of great supplies for creative hands. Empty paper rolls can suddenly because telescopes and binoculars or even marble chutes! Plastic containers and empty boxes can become a veritable playground for pint-sized inventors. Old magazines and catalogs can be cut up and used for personalized posters or to decorate “treasure boxes” (a.k.a. old shoe boxes).

Have masking tape, will play! One dreary, rainy day, my two toddlers were literally crying they were so bored. After fourteen consecutive days of rain, I, too, was a bit worse for the wear. Out of desperation, I grabbed a roll of masking tape and started taping boxes and lines all over our living room floor. I had no idea what I was doing, but my two kids where suddenly wiping their eyes dry and begging to know what was in store. What followed was an afternoon of active, physical play indoors. They enjoyed everything from hopscotch to virtual balance beam walking to target practice on the floor with pennies. They enjoyed the novelty and I enjoyed the long afternoon nap that followed.

Reinventing the shower rod for fun… If you’ve got a shower curtain hanging in your bathroom right now, chances are it’s held in place courtesy of a tension rod. The next time you’ve got the curtain down for washing, grab the rod, too, and explore a few new ideas with it. Shorten it and secure it inside a hallway. Throw a pillowcase over it lengthwise and grab a big, soft ball for an indoor game of catch or volleyball over the “net.” Tie a string to it and hang a balloon from the bottom, arm your kiddo with a paper bat (a.k.a. empty paper towel or wrapping paper roll) and have them practice their swings. Or, if you can swing it, invest a few bucks in a cheap plastic shower curtain, cut a few holes in it and decorate it with permanent markers and you’ll have an immediate target wall for kids to throw (soft, indoor) balls at. Easy to put up and even easier to take down and store, it can be just the novelty you need to inject a bit of fun into staying home.

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.

4 Responses to “Thrifty Fun at Home”

  1. Jerry |  Nov 19, 2010 at 7:19 am

    These are great ideas. Our insurance for cabin fever with our kids is getting out as much as possible – even in the winter. They love being outside and it may lead to some chilly days but it’s fun for the whole family to go for a hike or play in the snow.

  2. Debt Free Daniel |  Nov 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    These are definitely worth noting for. My kids are those active types thus they are so bored whenever they aren’t much activity around to do. But on rainy days, I let them out to enjoy the rain thus they do love rains.


  3. Accounting System |  Nov 22, 2010 at 2:37 am

    wow.. that’s so lively and such great ideas are shared … yea that is quiet applicable to kids.. :)

  4. Jerold Grieshop |  Aug 22, 2012 at 2:02 am

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