Movies, dinners and arcade games… time can get expensive and it’s time we as parents planned activities that cost less but mean more. Here are five ideas.

butterBake. Anytime an activity combines measuring, fractions, delicious smells, patience AND dessert, well, it’s considered a good activity, indeed. Plenty of websites offer low-sugar recipes that use bananas, dates and oats, so head to if you’re worried about that sort of thing. But Betty Crocker also does a wonderful job of making it so you have only to measure milk and butter. Delish.


Indoor Picnic
. Hey, we gotta feed them anyway (it’s practically the law) so might as well do it on the floor. Eating together on a blanket in the playroom, or even in the kitchen or hallway, breaks the
routine and changes the scenery. That makes things fun.


little boy watering his own little garden in summer


Plant a garden: Look, it doesn’t have to produce a huge bounty for winter. A small patch of land in the yard or even a jar growing herbs in the kitchen will do just fine. Starting with soil and seeds and tending to a plant will keep kids interested for weeks to come.


Mother and her son playing with touch screen in a museum

Browse a museum: Most museums have half-priced or free days. You may have to wait until school’s out or on break to take advantage, but isn’t that when you most need a miracle? Come on, most of us never take advantage of our local area offerings, because we know we can see them anytime. Make now the time.




volunteer group saying thank youVolunteer: Pet shelter, homeless shelter or your local library. Collect toys or food. Bring books. Read to kids. Serve lunch. Basically, sit down and discuss your a cause your family collectively thinks needs attention. (That’s part one of this activity.)  Then find an organization you all agree to be worthwhile and get the heck over there. They need you.