50 Activities under $50 or free!

By Susan Pennell-Sebekos on May 06, 2008
Go picking: Check the Internet for local farms. count to see who got the most , then hunt for some great recipes to make together

Retro game day: Teach your children how to hula hoop, yo-yo or play a super fast game of Simon Says.

Create a T-Shirt: Buy some iron-on transfers and plain T-shirts at a secondhand store. You can scan your kids’ drawings or create right on the computer to iron on one-of-a-kind designs.

Recycle recyclables: Put those ad flyers to work and have a paper airplane flying contest.
Clown around: Pick up some washable face paint and make you and your kids into clowns.

Jump for joy: If you’re ‘up’ for it, try out ‘bungee trampoline’. Bungee cords secure you to a trampoline, allowing you to flip forward and backward in safety. Check out this site: mountwashington.ca. Family of four, $50.

Join the circus: Toronto’s Trapeze school has drop-in classes for $25 (parental waivers necessary). Check out: torontocircus.com

Play ball:
Involve your neighbourhood in a game of softball, soccer or basketball. Pit the parents against the kids!

Show their Stuff:
Display your child's art along with some of their friends' masterpieces and invite friends and family to the gallery (hang them on the line in the backyard). Serve refreshments and interview the artists.

Go fish:
Whether at your local watering hole or at a fish farm, catching a fish is a blast for the little ones. Visit: ontariofishing.net OR gofishbc.com

Roll in: Check out your community’s recreation classes. Maybe it’s time for some skateboarding lessons... sick, dude!

Putter around: Either glow-in-the-dark or out in the sun, mini putt courses are affordable and fun.

Go fly a kite: Whether you make your own from instructions found on the Internet, or buy a kit, your kids will love this.

Playground crawl: Pack up the kids (and a lunch) to check out playgrounds in other towns. Mark off your ‘been there, slid that’ accomplishments on a map or in a notebook.

Map it: Take your kids on a walking tour of your neighbourhood, your town or just your street. Take note of special landmarks and help them map it at home. (You could count steps to each home on your street and use that as the scale.)

Try high-tech hide and seek: Geocaching uses your GPS system to help locate ‘caches’ hidden by other players. See them at this site: geocaching.com.

Make a nature tape: Take your kids to a park, sit quietly with a low-cost microcassette recorder (about $20) and tape the sounds around you. When you get home, try to identify what you can hear.

Budding Spielberg: With your digital or video camera and your child’s imagination, make your own film. Later, invite friends and family to the ‘premiere’.

Bake and take: When the weather’s not sweltering, bake some cookies for a shut in or take them to your local nursing home.

Dig in: Offer to garden for someone who is unable to do it themself. Pulling weeds together can be great fun for little ones.

C’est what?: Spend some time learning a new language together. Use sticky notes to name common things around the house, and refer to them in the new language. Record how many you can remember.

Going somewhere? Have the kids come up with a road trip itinerary using maps and the Web. Then, pack a lunch and take the trip.

Their turn to be Mom: Switch roles for the day with your kids (or maybe just an hour).

Saddle up: Many stables offer riding lessons for parts of an hour. If your child wants to ride a horse, a lesson is a great way to see if you have a budding equestrian.

Watch the birdie: Borrow a bird book from the library and get into some hiking clothes. Use a notebook to record the birds you spotted.

Visit your ancestors: With help from online ancestry Websites, track down your relatives and visit the areas where they lived.

Seal it in cement: With a package of quick-setting cement and a tinfoil pie pan, your kids can make a garden stepping-stone. Let them decorate it.

Game on: Create your own board game based on your family’s last vacation or adventure.

Star spotting: Bundle up in warm blankets or sleeping bags, use a star map and then see what you can spot in the night sky. If you don’t know the right names, make some up!
What’s in the bag? Place interesting items in a bag, don’t let the kids see and have them guess just by feeling around.

Jarring ideas: Each family member gets to write one under $50 idea on a slip of paper and place it in an idea jar. Each weekend, reach in and choose an activity.

Brainstorm: With your kids, think of more things to do under $50 and send them to ParentsCanada!

Do a clean sweep: Too many toys taking up room in the basement?Enlist your kids’ help to take old toys to a shelter. Let them know how much their toys will be appreciated.

Get it in writing: Spend a day ‘interviewing’ your children’s grandparents. Capture your family history and make a special record book for your children to keep.

Do the drive-in: Some drive-in theatres are stillaround; bundle up the kids and give them a memory you had from childhood.

Howling good time: If you’re in the neighbourhood, experience the Algonquin wolf howl this summer. See: algonquinpark.on.ca/nature/mammals/wolf_howling.html

Fashion file: With the material from used clothing and some needles and thread, let your kids design some doll clothes and put on a runway show.

Watch a whale: Fundy Tide Runners whalewatching tours from St Andrews, NB, for $35 to $50.

Sign of times: Learn sign language together. Borrow a book from the library or check out some of the free sites with streaming video. (Example, aslpro.com)

Style wiles: Have a silly hair day! Let your kids style your hair, and with some crazy accessories and some funky hairspray have your own salon. (Don’t forget to take pictures.)

Tour the set: Go on a backlot tour of Vancouver’s movie district $35.Go to: vanmovietours.com

Pizza anyone? Plant a pizzagarden. Tomatoes, oregano, peppers, pepperoni... kidding! When the garden matures, cook up a homemade pie.

Kitchen creations: Let the kids invent a new recipe and cook it together. Have a cookoff/ tasting contest with friends.Veg out: Go to the grocerystore and buy a new fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried.

Take a hike! Check out trails in your neck of the woods. Go to your province’stourism sites.

Take a walk in the past: Canada has many historical villages that reflect what life was like for Canada’s early settlers. Most are economically priced.

Play bridge: No, not the card game. Take a picnic to one of Canada’s covered bridges. See
what’s near you at this site: dalejtravis.com

Say cheese: Be a photographer. Take interesting shots of everyday things (close-up of a petal or a corner of the school), and then run the slideshow on your TV to guess what was where. PC

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