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10 Fun, Free Family Activities

Having fun with your kids doesn't always have to be expensive. Check out these great ideas for fun, free, and unique activities to do with children by guest blogger Rachel Federman.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
April 25, 2016

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Go on a Nature Walk

Go on a nature walk. Have your kids collect treasures—berries, leaves, twigs, pods, seeds, and whatever else catches their fancy. When you get home, you can make a collage by gluing the found objects onto sturdy paper. For a variation, try a mixed-media approach, adding paint, pastels, and ripped up pieces of magazines.

Send Mail to Family 

Make a list of friends and relatives who live far away. Young kids can make pictures to send them. Older kids can actually write letters. Decorate the envelopes with stickers. Make the trip to the post office or mailbox part of the fun for younger kids. They’ll feel proud dropping the letters into the correct slot by themselves. Plus, the sight of the postman or woman making the rounds the following week will take on a new little thrill as kids run out to the mailbox to see if a letter is waiting for them.

Wait for It

Sure, you buy that expensive sunprint paper that makes prints in just a few minutes, or you can … wait for it … yes, that’s it! Wait for it! Because that’s something no one ever seems to do these days anymore. But you know, waiting for things actually makes time slow down. Remember waiting for the ice cream man? For the friend from down the street to come over? For the pool to open? Yes! Waiting is when that sense of time expanding gets to happen. The old-fashioned way to make prints is this: Take leaves, flowers, shells, or whatever you want to make a “print” of and arrange them artfully on dark construction paper. Leave it in direct sunlight for at least 4 hours. When you check again you should find “prints” of the objects. (What actually happens is the paper around the objects faded out.)

Make Reading Fun 

Join a library summer reading program or make your own. Take lined paper and make three columns: one for title, one for author, and one for number of stars. Kids can keep track of the books they read along with how many stars they give each one (five being the best). When they read ten books, they pick out a sticker to put at the top. You can come up with a book list in advance if you’d like and make the library search part of the fun.

Bake with the Community

Hold a bake sale with other local kids. Make easy stuff (nothing beats brownies from a mix) and pick a date and time to sell it. As a group, agree on a place to donate the profits—local animal shelter? Your school? A poor school in another country? Make signs featuring whichever place you pick. You may be able to get a table at a local farmer’s market.

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