We live about five blocks down from a city park which hosts organized summer recreational activities for underprivileged youth. Staffed with teens hired by the Parks and Rec Department, the program attracts dozens of kids who are anxious to have fun in the sun.
Last week, my 7-year-old and I biked to the park to exercise on the playground equipment and were pleasantly surprised when a program staff member invited us to take part in one of the group’s activities: Bubble Blast.
Since the program is run on limited funds, many of the group’s activities and projects are extremely affordable. Take Bubble Blast, for example. Instead of giving kids store-bought bubbles and wands, the teen leaders mixed dishwashing liquid in a pan with a little corn syrup and several cups of water. Then, the kids made wands out of wire hangers and pipe cleaners.
You should have seen how much fun those kids had with about two bucks worth of bubbles and other materials.
Fortunately, I was able to get staff members to share other ideas for frugal fun with me, including:
Secret Agent Writing: Have your kids pretend that they are secret agents with a language all their own. Have them come up with special characters that they create for letters of the alphabet. They’ll also need to design a code key which includes the characters or symbols they used for each letter. Then, have the kids pen a secret message for others to decipher using the key.
Recycling Fun: Collect several old magazines, safety scissors, glue, construction paper, a hole punch and some ribbon. Next, have the kids browse through the magazines and cut-out pictures of some of their favorite items, such as food, people, cars, and toys. Then, have them glue the photos onto the construction paper to create pages for a book. Once all of the pages are complete, bind them by punching holes along one side and tying them together with ribbon. If you don’t have extra ribbon around the house, simply staple the pages together to create the picture book.