Cheap, fun family events

I
don’t need to tell you that the economy stinks. That doesn’t mean you can’t
have a great and memorable time with the family — it’s just time to get back
to basics. Here are 10 great ideas for cheap family fun without leaving home.

Sleepover movie night

Move
all of your mattresses onto the family room floor for an energetic and fun
family sleepover night. The kids will love it as you pop some corn, and watch a
funny movie. Nothing brings a family closer than sleeping together as you tell
stories and get away from video games, the computer and other distractions. We
did this over the holidays and the kids still talk about it.

Family Olympics

Now
that the weather is shaping up, take a weekend day and hold an Olympics just
for your family. Events can range from crab walks to walking with an egg on a
spoon to the infamous water balloon toss. A combination of individual and team
events will make everyone feel included. Use your imagination on this one —
the events are limitless.

Top chef challenge

Playing
off the popular TV show, this turns into a party. Invite 2-3 families over and
have a cook off. One thing to remember is that you need to set some ground
rules so no one goes hog wild and prepares grilled sea bass or filet mignon. At
the very least, make each family create one dish that has a $20-$25 limit. Have
everyone taste the dish and declare a winner. The best part? Potluck at the
end.

Backwards day

Take
a day during the weekend and reverse everything to create your own backwards
day. Here are some good ideas: have breakfast for dinner; put your clothes on
backwards; watch a movie in the morning and cartoons in the evening. Include
the kids in the planning and enjoy the ideas they come up with. Anything that
is out of the norm will make for a fun day and break the daily routine.

Treasure hunts

These
can be as elaborate or as simple as you wish. Simply ask your children to “find
something purple” and as soon as they find it and bring it back, request
something else. At the end, give them a treat or a little reward. To make it
more elaborate, give them a list of the things that you’ve hidden and let them
go.

Themed dinner night

One
of the greatest tools we have to bring a family together is the good ol’ family
dinner. Just tweak it a bit. Make spaghetti, put on some Italian music, and
have each member of the family bring one fun fact about Italy.

Cook
an authentic dish from where your family roots lie and let the kids learn their
history. This is a great way to get kids to try new foods, learn about other
cultures, and have fun at the same time. Get them involved in the cooking
process to empower them.

Make slime

Nothing
says fun to a kid like something that’s gross, oozing and slimy. Follow this
recipe to make cheap and fun slime to entertain your kids for hours. It’s easy
to make, and it’s a fun science experiment that will leave them playing for
hours. This recipe was from a preschool function we were at years ago — and I
have yet to find a kid that doesn’t love it.

Recipe:

1
½ cups of warm water

2
cups white glue

Food
colouring
(any colour)

Mix
in container #1

1
1/3 cups of warm water

3
tbsps of Borax

Mix
in container #2

Add
container #1 to container #2, but do NOT stir. Pull it from the bottom and work
with hands until all the liquid is gone (about 5-7 min).

Family game night

I’m
not talking about board games — that’s been done to death. If you’re like most
parents you spend way too much time telling your kids that they can’t play Xbox
(or Wii). Well, indulge them. See what all the fuss is about, grab a controller
and join in. Get the whole family involved and play a fun, multiplayer game
like Rock Band or Lego Star Wars.

The
kids will be thrilled that not only are they playing video games, but they’re
not at war with you while doing it — and you’ll wonder where the last two
hours went.