Auntie (My Sister) has two daughters (Cousin and Baby Cousin) and together we have been talking about things we can do for free or reduced cost with them as an Entertainment Fund doesn't really feature in our budgets.
We have both allocated a small amount each week which in my case is spent on Top Enders Swimming Lessons, the occasional Saturday Kids Club Cinema trip (which is now free thanks to Woolworths!) and I really need to find a place or two that are suitable for Baby Boy. This has led to me looking for things to do for fun for little or no money, which in turn led me to create this list;
1) Board Games - Who doesn't enjoy a family board game? At the moment Baby Boy is a little too young to play, but is quite content to sit with either Daddy or I whilst we play a game or two.
Top Ender loves to play games and we have a fair few that we have collected over the years.
2) Film Nights - We have a lot of DVDs and have only scratched the surface on the number of films that we have that are suitable for family viewing. In addition to the films we own I will quite often record films from the television for later viewing on family film night, it takes no effort at all to all sit together eating popcorn and sweets being relaxed together.
3) Computer Games - With some money we got for Christmas and birthdays a couple of years ago we brought a Wii and a range of games soon joined the games we got for free as part of the deal. We enjoy playing all these games together and even managed to sneak a few educational ones in that help Top Ender! We also have a range of PC games that we play and Daddy has a set up that means he can play race games and flying simulators sitting between three screens that both he and our Top Ender loves. Again we have a number of games for our Top Ender that she thinks are fun, but we know are educational!
3a) On top of this there are hundreds of websites out there that Top Ender and Baby Boy will quite happily surf. Top Ender has a log on to the family PC and in her favourites are CBBC, CBeebies, BBC Learning Zone, Barbie, Disney, Nick Jr and those are just a few!
4) Parks and Playgrounds - We are so lucky, within a short walking distance we have a park, two playgrounds and just a short drive away we have a whole range of parks and playgrounds that are all free and fun to run round or to follow trails and to look for exciting nature type things. The benefit of this is that we also get plenty of exercise and fresh air!
5) Library Events - Our Local libraries are great. We can borrow books for free, we can attend story times (which are free) at any of the local libraries and there are normally displays that we can browse. Did I mention they are free?
6) Arts and Crafts - I am considered to be artsy crafty by my friends, the fact that I have no talent or natural ability doesn't stop me having a go and this means that I often surprise myself with some surprisingly good creations! Top Ender and Baby Boy love making and drawing things too. Together we can easily colour away an hour or three.
7) Cooking - When Daddy and I first started dating we would often cook together. Over the next few years we would cook together regularly and now Top Ender is learning to cook a dish a week with me. If it is the evening meal, cookies or cakes everything tastes so much better when she has cooked with me!
8) Gardening - Top Ender loves watering the plants, harvesting produce and weeding and in the Autumn will spend an hour or more gathering leaves. Baby Boy is quite happy running up and down smelling flowers and poking in the mud. Once a year we take a trip to a pick your own farm where we pick the fruits on offer for a fraction of the cost in a supermarket.