School holidays may be over for now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with your kids. Obviously. Spending time with you kids can be somewhat of a hassle, especially when it comes to finances. Having a great time with your kid can often mean spending a small fortune on tickets, travel or trinkets that the kids just have to have. Here are some activities that you can do with your kids that will bring you both joy, but won’t cost you a single cent.
The Family That Enjoys Music Together...
Music is often an art activity that gets left behind. We often think of “art” days as some time where you grab paint, create a collage or create something. Why do art days only consist of something you can touch? Anna, the Director of Music Works Magic, offers her advice for parents who would like to explore their kid's creative energy. “As parents, we all want the very best for our children. Studies by Dr Anita Collins have shown that the IQ of children who are immersed in music and who learn music can be raised by up to 17 points (this is huge when you consider the average IQ is 100 and MENSA acceptance is 130). Music helps to develop pathways across the whole brain which very few other disciplines do in the same way. The modern family is so often bombarded by noise, without even realising it. Muzak in every shopping centre, radios, iPod earpieces in our ears, telephones everywhere, not to mention the general city living noise of traffic can leave little room for the family to enjoy music together. Not so long ago, the world was far quieter and as a result, we sang - high, low and everything in between, gently, boisterously, as the occasion inspired. There were no buttons to push so for generations we produced our own sounds - our own songs. People didn’t compare their voices to the leading singers of the day. They just sang and enjoyed the experience. Today as a society we have lost this ability. Many are reluctant to sing to their babies worrying that they ‘can’t sing’. Upon being asked to sing, a common, alarming response is akin to ‘being asked to jump off a cliff’. An extreme response! So what is the message for our children? Did you know that it takes just one generation not singing to their children to create a whole generation of children who ‘can’t sing!’? We have parents, preschool teachers and even teachers right through school who claim that they ‘cannot sing’. Yet, if children hear you singing then they are likely to sing. Modelling to your children, singing with them and interacting musically is key to creating musical families. Interacting musically with your child stimulates the whole brain. Experts recommend singing to babies and having musical conversations throughout the day. As your baby makes sounds and gurgles, we urge you to echo these musical sounds and have musical ‘conversations’ together. Your baby will respond enthusiastically or stop and listen intently – both valuable responses in developing the musicality of the brain. We are all born with a wonderful free instrument - our voice - and it can be the source of so much pleasure. When we sing we release endorphins and serotonin, the ‘happy hormones’ into our system. These are the only free substances known to help those with postnatal depression, and act as a pick me up in our general state to provide us with a natural high. Singing and music is something that can easily be shared as a family. It encourages interaction and expression. While you can make music on your own, it can also be shared with others which is lots of fun in family situations. I encourage families in the car to turn off the electric music and sing some favourite songs together instead. You will experience great family bonding time - and I guarantee nobody will ask.... are we there yet?!” Find out more about Music Works Magic by following them on Facebook.
Re-Explore Your Own Backyard
Your home is a treasure trove, like no other. There are so many activities that you can do with your family, all with the items found in your backyard. Louise Plant offers her tips for creating a super fun activity day with your kids, all in your backyard!
“Garden Mini Golf
This activity means going into the shed and pulling out whatever things you can find to create a mini golf course.
Pipes used in plumbing are great to use, they can be placed in different angles or even as a seesaw, so it pivots to allow the weight of the ball to tip the pipe. An old bike tyre can make a loop. We like to use mugs as the hole, as there is no need to make holes all over the garden. In fact offer a treat for the most inventive golf hole. Tubes, speed humps, corners, objects to move around, all help to make it interesting.
Treasure hunts are also great fun. You can use clues if you are low in treasures. Each clue can be written to lead onto the next one. Rules can be applied as to whether everyone works together, two teams can play against each other and do they wait for the other team to catch up, these rules are up to you and depend on the numbers playing. Treasure can be lunch! Another free fun game is to actually find each other. You will have to find a place where everyone can hide, behind trees, in national park buildings, in old army barracks, in fact any place large outside space with things to hide in or behind will work.
Make Your Game
This can be quite an interesting game and how you feel it is going to play out can change as soon as one person adds their part to the game.
Go around the circle and take it in turns. Each person says how the game is played, what the objective is, how you win the game and how to play the game. This can end up looking like a combination of Cluedo charades.
Often this game is more entertaining creating the game than actually playing the game. It is always good to have a mediator present to keep the creating process moving along.” Find out more about Louise Plant by following her on Facebook.
Camping in Your Backyard
You don’t have to have to leave your home to have an adventure, and you don’t have to leave your backyard to go camping. You can sit around the “campfire” (which can be your fire pit) and roast marshmallows, sit on your outdoor furniture and tell stories and sing songs, or even play board games. Then, you can “camp” in your sleeping bag in your backyard. Bonus points for those who don’t sneak back into the house in the middle of the night!
Help Someone In Need
Sometimes you don’t have to make something for yourself to keep. You can spend a day with your kids and help others out, with the help of Communified. Communified provides a range of services designed to give families an emotional boost during tough times, as Rhiannon explains. “We like to write a letter, draw a picture or make a card to send to their featured child each month, who is struggling due to a serious illness or disability. We enjoy reading their stories and finding out what they like, then creating something special to make them smile!” Find out more about Communified by following them on Facebook.
It doesn’t have to cost you a cent to have some fun with your family, it just takes a little imagination. You can spend the day playing dress up, making something or even camping, and it doesn’t have to cost you a single dollar!