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Free Activity Planner for Kids - 100+ Memorable Things You Can Do With Your Child For Less Than $10
Written by Lipstick 'n Boots
Looking for something fun and exciting to do with your child? Something that will give your child working insight and knowledge of our living world? Are you seeking activities that will fill their imagination without emptying your pocketbook?
Then this is the ticket you need for fun and exploration without taking out a loan to fund your adventure! All one hundred ‘memorable things’ can be done for less than ten dollars for each activity.
Most of the activities are designed for children ages five and up, although many can be enjoyed at any age and most all are a great learning supplement to Home Schooling.
These activities relate to the five senses – touch, sight, taste, hear, and smell. Some are ‘sit-down’ activities while others are ‘active’ activities – however nothing too taxing for an adult!
Tossed in the mix of activities are science (including experiments), math, history, geography, cooking, sports, theory – and much more! These fun modes of learning will at times, make your child gasp with wonder! If you’re ready to venture beyond local museums and city parks, get your kid and hop on board!
Memories are formed in small increments along life’s pathway. Some of our strongest memories are created during the first twenty years of life. Don’t you always get a smile on your face when you hear an older person reminiscing about their childhood days? They may talk of those long walks to school in the snow, of how different things were back then – even the daily products that were used, or the layout of the dry goods stores, or about the activities that they enjoyed as youngsters.
These young years certainly define and create integral impressions that last a lifetime. On that note, let’s begin our activity journey. A child can easily become overwhelmed, so choose a few activities and plan to space them throughout the year. Many activities can be incorporated in the family vacation or those three-day weekends.
Some of the activities take longer than others, but keep in mind the old adage, good things come to those that wait.
Try to mix and match the different categories so that you introduce your child to a variety of the arts, science, and nature activities. All the activities and projects should be conducted with your child, working, playing, and thinking as a team from start to finish. This is an important step in producing lasting memories.
I. GENERAL ACTIVITIES & PROJECTS – Stimulating your child’s mind with wonder, thought and anticipation. Fly together!
Explain what a Time Capsule is to your child. Next, decide which items will go into your personal Time Capsule. Also, set a date for opening your Time Capsule.
Collect everyday items such as toothpaste, a toy that your child no longer plays with, an empty box of cereal, a road map, a newspaper with current events, a television guide – the possibilities are endless.
Try to build your choices based on your child’s personal favorites in life (food, activities, what your child wants to be when they grow up, cartoon characters, etc.). Next, bury your selections in a tightly sealed, waterproof container. Ten years from now, your child will be amazed at how packaging changes, as well as television shows, toys, and so forth.
Road Map Imagination - Pull out your foldable state road map, or road atlas. Ask your child to bring two miniature cars, such as Hot Wheels or Matchbox, or two small dolls into the room where you have the map spread out. Study the map with your child and choose a destination.
You should hold one of the cars or dolls, and your child the other - and then make the destination together with these ‘tools’. Test out alternate routes. Ask your child the following questions:
“Which appears to be the closest route? How fast can we go on different roads?" Explain the basics of the map legend if your child is old enough to comprehend. This activity will teach your child how to read a road map, and the many different ways they can use to get from one place, to another.
Make this adventure like no other you’ve experienced before! Rather than preparing the picnic basket, allow your child to do the honors. Locate some kid-friendly recipes, such as Ants on a Stick. This is the famous celery stick loaded with peanut butter, then decorated with small pretzel sticks. It’s both healthy and fun!
By allowing your child to treat you, the exercise is teaching the importance of giving, in addition to enhancing their culinary skills. Preparing the basket also brings out creativity. Be sure and allow your child to pick the spot where the picnic will be held.
Weekend Tours - A weekend trip is a fantastic way to escape without the stress of a full-blown vacation. Let’s face it; though vacations are something that we all look forward to, we are generally left more tired and worn out after the adventure is over. However, a short one-day mini-vacation to a destination that’s two hours or less away from home can be fun and revitalizing!
Get out your map and together search for an interesting spot to visit. As you scan the map together, keep an eye out for the unusual destination, such as a train depot or station, a lake where you can skip a few rocks across the surface, or a business that offers tours to the public for free.
If you pass a state information center, take a few minutes to load up on the free brochures and refreshments. You might find a treasure spot for your next tour! Plan some fun activities to enjoy during the short trip as you travel to your destination and back again.
Make & Fly a Kite - Catch a piece of history and build a kite the old-fashioned way. A few sheets of funny paper, some twine, sticks and torn sheeting is a wonderful adventure for a kid – even big kids! Or use plain colored paper and let your child’s imagination run wild with creativity.
Paper bags from your local market make great kite bases. Old magazines are great sources for special cutouts. Don’t forget the crayons!
Simply form the frame with kite sticks that can be purchased at most hardware stores and hobby shops. Fasten the sticks together with twine or string, then cover with paper, sealing the edges with glue.
Sport’s Album - Slowly begin collecting photos, cutouts, advertisements and text on your child’s favorite sport or sport’s star. Do this as ‘a team’ for added fun. When you’ve mounded up a good collection, begin inserting the treasures into a scrapbook with your child. You might label the book, ‘Tom’s Baseball Treasures’.
An expensive hardbound notebook filled with heavy grade construction paper makes an ideal scrapbook. You can personalize the scrapbook by covering the outside with foam and fabric. Search for fabric that contains a matching sport’s theme at your local fabric outlet or supermart. Most $1 stores carry an excellent assortment of sturdy notebooks that can be used for this fun project.
To cover the scrapbook, begin by cutting a thin piece of flat foam to the size of the binder. Next, glue the foam to the binder and then cover with the fabric. Often times, craft stores carry miniature items that can be attached to the exterior of the scrapbook. For example, if your child is into baseball, you might find a tiny wooden bat or a small ball to attach.
Help your child assemble a personal grooming kit. For girls, explore makeup, creams, bubble bath, and nail products. For boys, a shoeshine kit, combs, and a nail manicure set.
Another good product to include is fragrance. This teaches your child the importance of grooming and helps build their personal identity by allowing them to choose products they like.
A shoe box can be decorated with items around the house such as slips of fabric, buttons, or cotton balls and can serve as the kit container.
Internet Time - Surf the Internet together. It’s the key to technology! You will be teaching your child how to type and how to locate information, as well as becoming computer literate.
If possible, allow them to have their own screen name. Encourage them to exchange their screen names with friends (their own age) so they can email or chat online with one another. Of course, you will need to monitor this in the beginning to ensure that your child doesn’t get steered in the wrong direction.
One of the best ways to encourage a child to become interested in the computer is to look up topics that they like.
Inexpensive Fascinating Toys of the Past
Buy your child fascinating toys that tease the mind such as a kaleidoscope, marbles, jacks, gyroscope, top, yo-yo, paddle ball, or hula-hoop. Or, what about modeling clay - the old fashioned kind, of course? Paints, water colors - even personal jump ropes are inexpensive items that are many times left on the store shelves in favor of more modern toys. This activity will demonstrate that fun doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Some of the best things in life are the simplest.
Backyard Camping Trip - Can’t find the time or money to get back to nature? Don’t fret! It’s as close as your own backyard. One advantage of having a backyard camping trip is that you can always go inside if the night gets too tough to handle.
Drag out your camp stove, pop some hotdogs on top and watch the moonrise and the stars twinkle. It’s an experience that your child will never forget! One note: Jiffy Pop popcorn works especially well for outdoor camp cooking.
If you are very lucky, you might catch a wandering possum or raccoon visiting your neighborhood for the night – so don’t forget to bring along a flashlight. Fireflies also make nice camping visitors.
Library - Okay, this is a pretty standard activity, but many times we forget that the local library is just around the corner, filled with books whose knowledge is waiting to fill your child's mind. And it's a free service!
Encouraging your child to read is one of the best, and most important steps you can do as a parent or guardian. Introduce your child to the library by signing them up for their own card. This teaches responsibility and pride of ownership.
Don’t forget to introduce them to the Card Catalog, and to show them all of the cool free things available at their local library. It is wise to choose books that are based on topics that your child finds interesting - even if the reading material isn't educational. The important thing is to get your child to 'love to read'.
Mud Pies, for smaller kids.
Whip up a batch of good old-fashioned mud pies. We’re talking raw earth, a little water and a mold to ‘cook’ it in. Once the pie sets, cut through it and serve immediately. This teaches your child that it’s okay to get a little messy when you’re having fun!
Enjoy a Roast - No, not a pot-roast! We’re talking about a ‘roast roast’. Grab some marshmallows, winners, chestnuts, chicken, etc., and roast them over an open fire. It’s hard to believe that some children never have tasted smores! Grab those graham crackers, and that bag of marshmallows, and a few chocolate bars. Time to start making memories.
If you don’t have a fireplace, never fear – for there’s still the trusty old park. Make use of the fire grills, and time your visit on a calm day so you don’t have to worry about your fire getting loose. Take along a few other goodies, too, as suggested above.
Shaving Cream Party! - Your child will love this – guaranteed! And it’s such nice, clean fun. Fill a small flat container with shaving cream. Next, let your imagination flow with ideas. Your child can draw in the cream – even do math problems!
You can make the cream a bit more interesting by adding a few drops of food coloring, but if you do such, make sure that you give your child some protective gloves to wear, as the coloring will bleed into the skin and is almost impossible to remove. You may also wish to provide some small toys such as a tiny boat to ‘sail the creamy seas’ or a few small figures who ‘walk through the tall mounds of snow’.
Humpty Dumpty Puzzle
Have your child draw and color a Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall. Next, create a puzzle by cutting the drawing into several pieces. See if Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again. A thick posterboard works best and will hold up over time, especially if you have the masterpiece laminated.
Build a Model - Models can be a relaxing way to spend time with your child. Most kits run under $10 and your local hobby store may stock some unusual models, so that’s a very good place to begin your search together.
Or travel back to the past and do it the old fashioned way. You’ll need one cardboard shoebox, four small round circles cut from heavy cardboard and 2 unsharpened pencils.
Simply make four holes at the bottom of the shoebox – you’ll end up with a hole on each corner of the box. Next, poke the pencils through the holes (the axles) and attach the wheels by cutting out very small circles in the rounds. You’ll want a tight fit, so that the ‘car’ rolls, but doesn’t wobble. Cut a hole in the lid, stick in a figure, and your little one is ready to drive off into the wild blue yonder.
Make a Tin-Can Telephone
You’ll need 2 empty tin cans with one side cut out smooth, and some long string. Amazingly enough, this apparatus really works! Carefully stick a hole in the end of each can. Attach the string. Talk into the can, then when your child talks, hold the can to your ear to listen. See how far the sound travels by increasing the distance between you and your child. See what happens if you run your ‘telephone’ around a corner.
You’ll need a bulletin board and a few darts. Have your child draw a photo of something he doesn’t particularly like – or cut something (like a ghoul) from a magazine. Create your bull’s eye by drawing several circles around the photo. Attach to the bulletin board with a tack and toss the darts.
Visit a good bookstore equipped with a coffee and dessert bar. Try to get your child involved in reading.
If your child does not like to read, then you’ll have to find a clever way to get around this obstacle. For instance, if they like a certain cereal, get them interested in reading the back of the box. If they like comics, that’s considered reading! Use anything and everything to gain this interest in this vital life activity. More Kid's Activities