Free family activities are a possibility with a bit of forethought. Although the activities for families do require some materials, most you’ll have around the house, or you may be able to borrow. When in doubt, get creative! For many kids, just breaking out of the day-to-day routine and doing something unusual will make an event seem extra special. Do the following activities with kids in your backyard or someplace close that you can reach by walking. Have fun, and your kids will pick up on your enjoyment with the activities.
What to Do with Kids – Idea #1 the Backyard Drive-in
If you have a laptop computer that allows you to play DVDs, this can be the start of a backyard drive-in. Have the kids set up chairs and bring out favorite blankets and stuffed animals. Set the computer somewhere everyone can see (a bit further away should allow everyone to view the screen better). If it is dark out, even a small computer screen’s images will stand out.
If you have access to a projector that attaches to your computer, show the movie against a white building or a white bed sheet hung between trees or against the house. Whereas four or five people will be comfortable around a computer screen, the neighborhood could join you with this larger screen. Show a few Bugs Bunny cartoons before starting the main attractions.
Provide air-popped popcorn and sparkling flavored water. You may want to have individual-size bags of candy on hand. Consider giving kids a dollar or tokens that they turn in for treats to keep snacking in control.
What to Do with Kids – Idea #2 the Backyard Picnic
Fill a picnic basket with sandwiches, chips, fruit, cookies, drinks, and whatever else will make the picnic enjoyable. If you don’t have a picnic basket, fill a plastic laundry basket. Bring along a Frisbee and a ball or two. Leave the phone in the house. You can take something that will play music, but try to limit hand-held electronic devices.
Even though you are picnicking in the backyard, try to avoid running back-and-forth into the house. Make this a memorable afternoon (even if it lasts only for an hour) by acting as if you’ve gone on a mini-expedition. Set up your picnic blanket to a far corner of the yard, away from a direct view of the door to the house.
What to Do with Kids – Idea #3 Backyard Camping
If you don’t have a tent, see if someone has something that you can borrow for a night. Set up the tent while it is still light – try to get the kids to help, so they get excited about the prospect of spending time outdoors in a tent.
Bring along sleeping bags or blankets and pillows, flashlights, board games, and favorite bedtime stories. If you and your children aren’t up to camping outdoors (even in the backyard), enjoy a snack, and a story read by flashlight before going in for the night. Don’t forget to look for fireflies and shooting stars, too!