By Kimberly Hargis
Creating and making special memories with your child is very important, especially for your child’s development.
Special memories also help build a relationship with your child that will last a lifetime. Moms often do not have the money they would like to spend to do things with their children.
With that in mind, I have put together activities I used to do with my son (who is now 17 and still remembers doing these activates with me). Some activities are also from when I did babysitting at home.
Inexpensive Activities You Can Do With Your Child
Remember Air Hockey?
Some arcades still have Air Hockey Games, which are cheaper to play than the new video-interactive games, but they do not have a time out. If you can find one, suggest that you can score the most goals, and challenge your son or daughter to a game. If you have a young child, make sure that you hit the puck so that stops before the goal line---this will allow your child to successfully defend his goal and hit it back toward you.
The game can go on for a very long time, and you can have a lot of fun with "near misses" and "good saves" and "SCORE!" When my son was an 8-year-old, I could make an air hockey game that cost 50 cents last for an hour. You are probably thinking, "My child will want to play the other games, too!" I used to tell my son that after we play Air Hockey that he could then play two games of his choice. This worked well and I could get several hours of quality time with my son for under $5.00.
Shaving Cream can be Fun!
Get a bottle of shaving cream and spray shaving cream on the kitchen table or other smooth surface (please test this first by putting a little shaving cream on a corner of the table to make sure it will not discolor the furniture!). You and your child can draw in the foam or make a snowman, etc., out of the foam for as long as the foam lasts.
Be sure to wear clothes that can be tossed in the laundry for a quick rinse! After the shaving cream starts to dissolve all you need to do a wipe down the table for a quick clean up. I loved doing this because there is no real mess; it leaves a pleasant smell in your home (and believe it or not does a great job cleaning your furniture). Your child will also think it is so cool that you are allowing them to play with shaving cream. It is almost as if you are letting them do something mischievous.
Wet cloth to wipe up with
Buy a roll of fax paper or any cheap paper you can find in a roll, and a container of washable finger paint. Dress your child in painting clothes. Lay out unfolded sheets of newspaper just to be safe and then roll out a very long strip of paper (about 10 feet or more if you like) on top of the newspaper. Place a baking pan with paint in it at one end of the roll of paper and a baking pan with water in it at the other.
Take off your child’s shoes. Your child can then step in the paint and then the walk or dance on the paper ending by stepping in the water that the end of the roll of paper. Dry their feet. Tape the paper on the wall and allow to dry.
These footprints are also great Christmas gifts for Grandparents. I used to do this at Christmas with the children for whom I babysat or in a day care center where I worked so the children could give them to their parents for a Christmas present. The children were so amazed I let them step in paint that they behaved very well. This fun activity works best on a hard floor surface.
A roll of fax paper or any type of cheap paper on a roll.
Washable finger-paint, any color.
Old clothes for your child to wear.
Tape to use to hang the paper to dry.
When the weather is nice go to garage sales and buy a cheap white sheet that fits your child’s bed. (New sheet or colored sheets will work, just that garage sale sheets are cheaper.) Wash sheet and then hang on the line. At a craft store buy paint that will NOT wash out and is non-toxic. Dress your child in painting clothes. Give your child a paintbrush and allow him or her to paint on the sheet freely. After the sheet has dried, rewash and dry it. The child will love having sheets they painted themselves to sleep on at night. And Mom, you can paint, too!
Years from now your child will remember the day he or she painted sheets with Mommy (and here’s a sentimental idea: save the painted sheets for when your child has his or her first child, include the painted sheet in a shower gift for the mother-to-be!)
A few tips:
Do not allow the child to paint heavily on the sheet or it will be scratchy after it is washed.
When rewashing the sheet let them soak in fabric softener to help soften the sheet.
Different uses for the painted sheets:
If you do not like the idea of the child sleeping on a painted sheet, you can hang the sheet over a table for a playhouse. Mark on the sheet what each side of the sheet will be in terms of front, back, side, side, and top. Then lay the sheet out and let the child paint doors, windows, flowerbeds, etc., to make a playhouse cover (or a fort, or fire station, or barn, or a fairy princess castle). Then when the child wants a playhouse simply set up the table and cover with the sheet. Remember it does not matter if the flowers look like flowers. All that matters is what the child sees flowers where the glob of paint is.
Sheet to fit your child’s bed or over table depending on how you choose to use it.
Paint that will NOT wash out and is non-toxic.
There is always the lost art of hopscotch! With some simple sidewalk chalk you can spend the day at a park or at home teaching your child the fun of a hop, skip, and a jump. But watch out because one day when I did this in front of the apartments I lived in and half the Mothers on my street ended up playing - we all giggled like little girls and WE ended up having fun, too!
Sidewalk chalk and a sidewalk to hop and have fun on!
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