If you think back to your own childhood it is the simple stuff that makes wonderful memories: playing in the rain, making play dough, rolling down sand dunes at the beach… And the best part is that all those things are free!
I remember a friend organising to take to her two boys to the Harry Potter exhibition in Sydney; they travelled from Canberra for this special treat. They were so excited! When they came back I asked my friend what her boys had enjoyed the most and, laughing, she said that they liked the train ride and eating their takeaway dinner picnic-style on the hotel beds. Often, kids today still love the “little things” – so don’t forget how these low-cost activities can make your toddlers day.
According to the latest results from Roy Morgan, families spent just below the Australian average of $132 per week on entertainment last year. Even if you can save $20 of this a week by planning free activities you will save $1040 by the end of the year!
So here are 4 simple and free activities sure to brighten-up your toddler’s day:
1. Lounge room fort
This is a great activity for a rainy day. Tell your toddler that you are going to make a special castle and together collect pillows and blankets from around the house. Place them in a pile and arrange your table and chairs so you can hang the blankets over them to make a roof. Fill it with pillows and they will love it being lit up with a torch.
As a special treat make a healthy snack tray for them to eat inside their special fort.
2. Nature hunt
Find a small basket, empty cardboard box or bag and take it to your nearby park or beach and go on a nature hunt. Tell your toddler to collect whatever they like and to put it in the bag, box or basket to take home. You can look out for sticks, flowers, rocks and shells – any treasure that they like.
When you get home you can make a special animal or collage out of the treasures.
3. Little green fingers
If your toddler is anything like mine they will love helping you water the plants and garden. Find a small plastic jug in the house that they can use and fill it up with water. While they are not looking, plant a couple of plastic toys and fruit cut up in zip lock bags for them to discover under the trees and in the grass.
Walk around with them and watch their eyes light up when they discover the little surprises.
4. Tomato sauce finger painting
This one can get a bit messy! Lay down an easy-to-clean mat or take your high chair outside and pop your little one in, ready to play. A bib or plastic painting apron is a good idea too. Then show them how to squirt tomato sauce onto their high chair tray and to draw shapes and patterns with their fingers.
Writing their name in it can also make a great photo!
These free, memory-making toddler charmers are sure to make your little one’s day!