I wrote this post to give ideas on fun activities to do with your child. For families rebuilding their lives, as mine is, when you leave an abusive situation there may be financial hardship, many families are homeless or staying with friends/family until they get on thier feet again. So I thought I would post some suggestions that are not only fun but not restricted by money. Enjoy! ~* 

Ideas for Fun, and Low Cost Adventures for Families:

*Visit a public library–often there are free programs or storytelling hours as well as opportunities to use the books and resources available. Another idea is to look up the local history of your town and later visit a site that may be of interest to your family, sharing what you have learned–even roleplaying as “detectives” to dig up historical clues or imagining what life was like in the past (storytelling).

*Check out the local parks–often there are summer programs as well as playground equiptment and activities for the children.
You may also consider a “scavenger hunt” for the children to look for certain objects (leaves, bugs, rocks, pine cones, etc).
Another fun idea is to bury sticks in the sandbox, make sure you bury the sticks in a small area. Get shovels, rakes, buckets and plastic utensils for tools.Tell the child that the sticks are dinosaur fossils. Play “warmer” and “colder” if the child needs help finding them. Once all the sticks are gathered, arrange them into dinosaur shapes.

*For girls, give makeovers–dress up, style your hair in funny or elaborate fashions, paint your nails, etc.

*Take time to talk with your children, and learn something that matters to them. Use positive affirmations to let you know you love them and that you are available for support (ie: I’m really proud of you, I love you, You’re a blessing from God, It’s really cool how you … (fill in the blanks)
If your child needs extra encouragement, write notes and leave them in surprising places–in a shoe, under a pillow, in a book, etc. You may want to decorate the note or add personal touches. You may also want to add inspirational quotes.

*Attend church services, or check church activities or programs. Often, churches also offer programs to assist needy families so that may also be an option, or even to ask the church if they know of any resources.

*Check out events at local coffeeshops, often times coffee shops have playrooms for children in addition to events like live music or hands on arts n crafts. So you may want to see what is available in your neighborhood. Be sure to read the bulletin board at the coffee shop for any listings for housing, food shelves, job openings or community organizations–this may provide a resource.

*Ride a bus to see where it goes. Be sure to pack snacks for the kids, and toys if they get restless. A good game is to have the child search for objects out the window or help navigate the ride. You can also use these games when riding the bus for other reasons.

*Check out the dollar store, the thrift store and arts n crafts stores for art projects to do with your children. You may also considering giving the art to someone as a gift, or a reminder of a special occasion.

*Find a book your child likes, read it consistently. It may help the child to have the comfort of knowing their favorite story (or song) will be read every night at a certain time.

*If allowed, visit an animal shelter where you can pet and play with the animals.

*Go star watching, plan a night time picnic.

*Cook or bake together. If you are in a shelter with limited facilities–I would suggest making pudding and adding a fix mixtures like bannanas, marshmallows, cookies/grahamcrackers or chocolate chips. Or baking microwavable desserts. You could make floats with ice-cream and soda OR sherbet and lemon-lime soda. Burritos are also microwavable–using refried beans, cheese, and whatever veggies you choose. You could also microwave S’mores for 30 seconds.

*Send letters, postcards or handmade cards to friends or family. If the child wants the cards to be private, allow them to have their space.

If anyone has any more ideas, please send ‘em in and I will post them!

Encouraging Thoughts by Leah Davies, M.Ed

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