Free Ways to Entertain Your Tot

Article Courtesy of The Examiner

By Valerie Powers

Most mamas and papas will tell you that it is simply exhausting trying to keep a young child placated all day.  A previous piece, How to keep your toddler occupied during a recession, offered up low-cost ideas for families.  Here, we’ll explore FREE ideas to keep your wee one occupied.

Take a hike - around your local park, neighborhood, or even visit a new neighborhood for a change of scenery.  Perhaps you’ll encounter some friendly ducks to feed, or new landscape to gaze at.  This also gives the added benefit of exercise (we need at least a half hour per day, folks).  If you’re fortunate enough to have all four seasons; take your child out to explore the amazing colors of the Fall foliage.

Volunteer - instilling a sense of community and civic obligation should start at a young age.  Volunteering at a nursing home, animal shelter or food bank will teach your children invaluable life lessons, and will also pass quite a bit of time.  Additionally, your child will leave with a sense of accomplishment, and perhaps a new friend or two.  Volunteer Match is a great starting point, and you can visit them HERE.

Make crafts from recycled household items - children usually love to try something new, so look at innovative ways to craft at home.  You can recycle old magazines and news papers for coloring (kids love this, for some reason) and you can make “spray paint” by adding tempera paint (or other non-toxic paint) to a spray bottle with some water.  This is not only a unique way to dispense the paint, but it also stretches the life of the paint.  You can also make a bubble mixture with the remnants of an old dish soap bottle…there are limitless ways to bring discarded and old things to life.  Visit the link on Trash to Treasure for more inspiration, HERE.

Here’s a video demonstration of how to make a free bird feeder from recycled household items (note that even a busy mama is doing this!):

Go to the next page for more ideas!