Today’s post is perfect for those of us with kids off over the Easter break looking for things to do that wont break the bank. It is a guest post from Michelle who blogs over at Time and Pence, a blog all about money saving and money making from home, enabling her to enjoy more quality time with her family.
Finding free things to do isn’t easy these days. Everything seems to cost money and when the sun isn’t shining it can be even more difficult to occupy our children.
I was recently sitting at home with a very bored six year old on a rainy Sunday afternoon. We had done homework, played with toys, watched some TV, now what? Was it time to get in the car and drive somewhere where we would end up spending money or was there something else we could do?
As I spend my days writing about money making and money saving, I knew there would be something we could do while keeping my pennies tucked away in my purse!
I remembered that my son had recently been bought some coloured sheets of paper and started to think of some of the things my mother had taught me as a child. There was no technology around like there is today and we didn’t have much money so she had to be creative and find free things to do all the time!
So here I will share with you how I occupied my six year old on a rainy Sunday afternoon by showing you 6 free things you can do with a piece of paper. Maybe it will take you back to your own childhood!
- Play Hangman
This is a great learning game for children, especially as they start to learn phonics, reading and writing. For older children you can just think of more difficult words.
Here is how you play:
- You each think of a word in your head but don’t tell each other.
- On your own sheet of paper, each of you draw a line for each letter of your word, for example if I thought of the word ‘SHOP’, mine would look like this _ _ _ _
- Now take it in turns to guess a letter that may be in your opponents word.
- If you guess correctly, you write it in the correct space.
- If the letter is not in the word you start to draw a hangman, drawing each part of his body for each wrong letter guessed, you could draw his head first, then for each wrong letter you add an arm or a leg etc.
- The winner is the first person to guess their opponents word before reaching a complete hangman.
Below is a picture of what the final hangman would look like. The aim is to not get this far and guess all the correct letters.
- Make Paper Aeroplanes and Boats
Who doesn’t like a good old fashioned paper aeroplane? Encourage your children to colour them in too to help with their creativity. You can write different names on them, then set a challenge to see who’s can fly the furthest. You could also make some boats and float them in the bath or sink!
- Make Snow Flakes and Lanterns
My son absolutely loved this. He was amazed at the different shaped flakes and lanterns you can make just by cutting out bits of paper. It was really exciting to open up each one to see what we had created.
We made lots of different ones then hung them together on a piece of string.
You can see how to make your own snowflakes here
And how to make your own lanterns here
- Make A Fortune Teller
Making a paper fortune teller is a fun way to entertain children. By just folding a bit of paper you can create something that they can play anywhere. Once you have made it you can fill in colours, numbers and fortunes.
It can even be used as a learning tool for young children to help them to count and recognise different colours.
Here’s how to make your own:
- Cut a piece of A4 paper into a perfect square.
- Fold the opposite corners together to create a fold line.
- Unfold the triangle and lay the square flat.
- Do the same again with the corners you haven’t already folded.
- Unfold the triangle again and lay the square flat.
- You should now have two fold lines across your square.
- Fold each corner into the centre of the square.
- Turn your square over and fold corners into the centre again.
- Now fold your square in half.
- Place fingers into each pocket and open up your fortune teller.
Now to decorate your fortune teller:
- Write four different numbers on the four top sections.
- Inside, colour each of the 8 triangle sections a different colour.
- Open up and write 8 fortunes on the sections beneath the colours.
- Close the paper fortune teller up and you’re ready to play.
How to Play:
- Ask somebody to pick a number.
- Open and close your fortune teller that many times.
- Now ask them to pick a colour.
- Show them their fortune under the colour they choose.
- Play Noughts and Crosses
My son loved this game. They say the simple things are the best and this is no exception. I had to let him win a few times to help him get to grips with blocking my lines and creating his own but he soon got the hang of it. We each chose a coloured pencil too just to make it a little more interesting. Simple and fun!.
- Play Paper Ball Games
I know this may sound a little crazy but children love to play with balls but it’s not very practical inside the house! Out of all the free things to do with paper, this has to be the simplest.
All you need to do is screw up lots of pieces of paper and share them out between you. You can then make up all sorts of inside games, just use your imagination! Here are a couple of ideas:
- Lay out some different sized plastic containers, bowls or saucepans and make each one worth a number of points. You take it in turns to throw your paper balls into them and see who can get the highest score.
- Sit on the sofa and place an empty box a distance away. Now see who can get the most balls in the box without missing.
Can you remember any simple things that didn’t cost anything that you did as a child? Maybe you could add some other activities to the list too!