May 29, 2010

Sharing Saturday

Thank you SO, SO, SO much for all the feedback you guys provided yesterday.  It made my day.  Here are the final conclusions I've drawn:

I was surprised at how many people said they didn't like giveaways or at least didn't like a lot of them.  I was touched by those who said they do read Sunshine Sunday and it helps them feel like we're friends.  I feel the same way, so thank you!  Lastly, I think I'll try out the new "Sharing Saturday" idea and still throw in an occasional giveaway (if it's a really good one).

With that being's our first Sharing Saturday!

TOPIC: fun things to do with your kids

I am a real homebody.  I could stay home for several days in a row and be fine.  I'd be wearing my sleeper all day and getting things done.  Rex (my oldest) is the opposite.  He is so much happier when we go out to do something.  Now that it's spring that's not as difficult.  We can go to the park.  However, I really run out of ideas.  I don't want to go to the mall because I'll spend money and I don't need anything.  Do you have things you do with your kids or places you go for fun that don't break the bank?  Please share!  Do you have anything you do in the winter that gets you out of the house?  Help!


  1. I missed yesterday's post, but I don't like giveaways, either.

    My cousin jokingly called me the "activities director" when I nannied her kids while in college. We were always going places! Once a week, we did a big field trip - zoo, county fair, science center, indoor playground, museum, etc. The other days were filled with the park, pool, library story times and going to visit other cousins.

    I saw this on another blog, but I'm not sure I could find it again: they listed everyday things like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, playdoh, etc. on little slips and put them into a jar labeled "fun." Then, big field trips went into the jar called "adventures." The kids got to draw a "fun" slip everyday and an "adventure" once a week. I think that is such a great idea, but Adam's not quite big enough for it, yet.

  2. Rex is 2? This is a great book for moms that like to stay home, but run out of ideas. I love it.

    "The Preschooler's Busy Book: 365 Creative Games and Activities to Keep Your 3 to 6 Year Old Busy" by Trish Kuffner.

    It is set up into sections like Rainy Day Play, Kids in the Kitchen, Outdoor Adventures, Out and About, etc.

    Retails for $9.95 new.

  3. You could go to a museum, the zoo, nature walks, a lake to do some fishing, a pottery place where you can paint the pottery while you're there.

  4. A favorite with us is to go to the pet store and visit the animals. If the store isn't busy, sometimes they'll let us take a puppy out to play with.

    Set up a treasure hunt in your backyard.

    Check with your local library. I know ours has some great summer activities including free concerts and movies.

    "Nature walks" are always fun. Let your kids pick up rocks, leaves and flowers along the way. When you get home, put them in the full sun on a sheet of black construction paper to see them bleach on the black paper.

    I've got TONS more ideas if you'd like to email me!

  5. For the kids birthdays our family gives them passes to local places like the Zoo & The Children's Museum. Those make the best gifts ever! The places are huge & they never ever get sick of them. We like to explore & go to random places we have never been before. We just hope in the car & drive a direction. You would be surprised what you can find in your own backyard. Picnic are always great too. All kids like that. We do a lot of story time, puppet shows and other things put on by the local library's. The nature centers are great to go to also. Most of them have long trails that the kids love to go explore on!

    If they are sick (which happens in the winter) or I am too lazy to go out we do fun things at home. Don't touch the ground is a fun game. We put pillows & blanket all over the house & that is where we can jump to because touching the ground is hot lava. lol We will built forts which the kids love.

  6. GOOD question! We tend to get stuck in the rut of the park or Target. :) Currently the boys have been enjoying our trips to the garden centers. Our favorite has fish for them to look at and free popcorn. My husband and I got inspiration from Meg and made a summer "to do" list last night.

  7. This comment has nothing to do with summer activities, but I JUST read your post about the sleeper and almost peed my pants. Thanks!! I needed that on a saturday. My MIL got me one for Christmas because I am always cold. I was not sure about it and it still has the tags on (and is currently in the goodwill pile). BUT I think you may have convinced me to give it another go:) At least I would know I am not alone!!!

  8. We take our kids to library story time. They LOVE it! There's a craft & snacks too. Just the right amount of exposure to reading & books.

    Then, we also have a membership to the Zoo, so we go over there some. And there's a free "splash park", so when it's hot, there's that. The kids really enjoy being outdoors, and so we take them on bike rides, fishing by the lake (with their Lightning McQueen poles! ha!), and to the arboretum when it's not too hot.

    There's also bouncy houses, gymnastics, or ice skating and such for rainy days. But we live in an area that has tons of stuff to do. So there's almost always things for kids to do around here.

  9. I have been reading your blog for a while and became a follower today. I have to say that I love the tips you share. In reading today's post, I thought I'd share with you the link to my blog "You Know, For Kids!" We talk about anytihng kid-related from activities to do, organization tips, craft ideas, etc. Come and check us out, if you'd like.

  10. Anonymous29.5.10

    Find a playgroup or mom's group in your town. Find out about storytimes at the library. Our art museum even has a free kids program thru the summer. Do you have a theatre that offers free movies in the summer? We go to the YMCA alot and swim.

  11. Okay, I totally needed this post. I don't know if I have too many ideas...but I am loving getting ideas from all of your readers. Man, I totally need new ideas. Mostly I do story time and then a park day with a couple friends. I am hoping this summer to come up with at least 1-2 fun activities a week this summer. They could be make popcicles together, fill the pool and let the kids run around, turn on the sprinklers, Go to the beach (obviously you can't do that one :( ) I don't know what all. Maybe I will be able to get a few more ideas here.

    I love that you are adding this! It is always nice to get lots of ideas from others.

  12. Cheri I've got a friend who is hardcore into taking her kids on "staycations" all summer long. She's got a huge hyperlink list of stuff to go and do in the valley (free and not free). I'm going to get it and send it on to ya!

  13. Here are some of the places we go. I have a 2.5 year old and a 9 month old.
    - library (we just sit in the kids section and she plays wiht the toys and brings me books to read.)
    - mall (there's an indoor playground at one, or we just walk and I let her climb all over the coin-operated toys as long as she likes)
    - park
    - beach
    - mom's group at church once a week
    - friend's house
    - drive in the car
    - toy store (when she wants something, I tell her to put it on her birthday list)

  14. I'm totally going to have to come back and read everyone's ideas because I need them too! We get bored pretty fast around here stuck in the house.

    In the summer, we like to go up the canyon for picnics and throw rocks in the river. We also have a lake close to us that the boys like to swim in (not me!). Sometimes we have a million chuck-e-cheese coins and will go just to play games even though we don't buy food.

    Thanks for your sweet commment on my blog!

  15. If you are near a city look for their free days at all the museums/zoos/and such... they usually have a couple and that way you aren't having to pay a dime!

    other fun ideas are to play I Spy out in the real world. Come up with a scavenger hunt. Or do an Easter style egg-hunt but with toys (he already has!). Make a sheet fort outside in your yard.... perfect for the knights or princesses in your world.

    There are slews of art ideas, one of my favorites as a kid was dying coffee filters.

    also check out for a whole blog dedicated to making art with little ones!

  16. What about the post office? My son loves to go to the post office and mail stuff. You can write postcards to love ones and he can mail them. Sometimes they'll give you a tour. I guess it's not a long trip, but my kids enjoy it...and seeing as I'm a military wife, I find myself there often!

  17. - We go on photo hikes at the State Park (take pictures of plants, the kids, and insects).
    - We go to the library's story time.
    - We go to the library's drop in craft time.
    - Sometime we go to the beach.
    - We set up playdates. They are more fun when the adults are our friends and we can all hang out together.
    - My youngest loves to watercolor paint and play with playdough. Also bubble blowing is great. You can make sidewalk chalk, playdough, and bubbles with your child.
    - Do fun homemade science exeriements.
    - Lay a piece of paper under the swing and have your child swing on their belly and paint on the paper.
    - Get out some large paper, paint, goggles, and a fly swat. Have the kids wear the googles and clothes that can get messy. Put dotd of paint on the paper directly from the tube. Then let the kids swat the paint "flies."
    - Combine 1 roll of toilet paper (minus the tube), 1 bar of shredded Ivory soap, and 1 pitcher of water in a tub (something the kids can stick their hands in and play). Mix it all up, and you have a wonderful gooey thing to play in. The bonus is hat their hands will get super clean.
    - Ooblik: equal amounts of corn starch and water mixed together. It is a soild and a liquid. Color the water first and add some figurines (like dinosaurs) in the tub of it, and you got a fun play set.

  18. We live in St. Louis and there's a lot of free/affordable things to do. The Zoo is free here, and on Wednesdays in the summer they have a free morning kid's movie every week. We do lots of days at the park, go swimming (my mom has a pool), library days.. I try to find one thing for us to do each day- whether it be a trip to the grocery store (which strangely, my kids love b/c of the spaceship shopping carts and free cookie) or Target or to the library, but something.. My kids are much happier (and so is mommy) if we get out of the house once a day. :)

  19. one thing my kids like to do is go to Barnes & Nobel (they're 9, 7 &3). my older kids read the books we don't have at home and my three year old loves to be read to. plus ours has a train table that my 1 year old can play at and we're all in the same area. my husband and i take turns and bring our own pile of books to look at and read while we watch the kids. good times!
    ps...i ditto lecas comments from yesterday

  20. I host play dates at my house once every 2 weeks.
    I visit friends with kids.
    We have a year pass to the zoo so on nice days we go to the zoo. (I make sure to pack lots of good snacks and drinks so we don´t spend money on them there)
    The neighborhood pool was free last year compliments of the city.
    But I try too keep everything with in the neighborhood so that we don´t have to drive. We have 2 cars but one started growing mold in it from a leak so if we (me and the kids) need to go somewhere hubby has to take the moldy car so it takes some forethought.

  21. I give my five year old and four year old my old point and shoot camera, then we go on a "scavenger hunt." We come up with a list of things we want to find and take pictures of them. I am going to start a new feature on my blog to post all of our finds.

    I subscribe to I get a weekly email of a bunch of activities in the area. Some are free, some are not.

  22. I'm with you, completely clueless as what to do. But I found a cute blog that talks about this problem. Check it out-

  23. I'm a real homebody too, but I really enjoying taking walks with the kids and going for bike rides. They love it too and not only do we get some fresh air, but some exercise too :) Kind of lame, but we enjoy it.

  24. Get on line and find out what there is to do in your area for free. You'd be surprised at how much stuff you can do. If you really want to stay home-- go to Wal-Mart and get a pool to sit next to all summer long and your kids will never want to leave home.

  25. There are a ton of great ideas in here already!
    I have just one more to add. I don't know if your boys are similar, but my son loves machines. So we have gone to local construction sites and just watched them work before. He will be content for an hour just pointing out all the machines and he's only two. (I stole this from a friend who does this with her boy.) Free and entertaining for him!

  26. The town center near us has a water fountain thing that shoots water up out of a bunch of different holes and the kids play in it. My son is almost as happy with that as the water park and it's free.

    Also a bunch of the parks near us do movies in the park during the summer. You bring blankets and picnic dinner and they show kids movies up on a giant screen outside.

  27. I love reading your blog. You have great ideas. One thing that my girls love to do is "paint" in the bathtub. I use the ledges and pour out different colors and they go to town. I use the washable crayola fingerpaints. It is easy to clean up and they have a great time doing it. (there are pictures on my blog). It's really easy and fun. Just a suggestion. :)

  28. The library! Whenever my guys need to get out of the house and I want to make sure we don't spend money it's off to the library. They love it there and there's something there for them and for me :)

  29. Both my 3 year old daughter and I usually like to get out...but when I don't feel like driving anywhere, we take a walk, play outside (even in winter) or walk to the local library for story time or toddler time (both free!) or even just to sign out new books. We love it!
    We also have a lake close by when she loves to walk and play in. I pack up water/sand toys and a little picnic. Fun fun!

  30. Find a local indoor Bounce House. Cheap, fun entertainment. And parents can jump too!

  31. Thats a great question! I dont know what you have available where you live, we like to go the library for story time, its Fridays for a half an hour and they get to read, play and dance. And moms get to talk over coffee! I also go bowling, there is a great program out there called, you just put in your zip code to see if any local bowling alleys partipate and if so, you get 2 free games of bowling everyday for the summer, and you can sign up your kids friends too, up to 6! And of course we do tns of craft projects around the house for those days I dont feel like leaving!

  32. I had another idea for you. A good friend of ours is a firefighter and he has offered to give the kids a tour of the firehouse and engines before. Assuming they are not called out on a fire, you could probably call ahead to your local station and schedule a tour. This would be good to do in winter or summer. (We are saving this idea for our boy's third birthday. He's gonna love it!!)

  33. I'm not sure where in UT you're located but I love to take my little boy to Red Butte Garden in SLC. They have a wonderful children's garden.

  34. Anonymous30.5.10

    I have a four and half year old boy and a three year old little girl and coming up with ideas that they both can do is always a challenge. I recently came up with "project walks". We go for a walk around the block and usually collect leaves or rocks or acorns or anything unsual and then we come home and make something with them. We have decorated frams, made wreaths and the letters of their names on card board for them to hang up. It gets them out and active and it gives them a mission and a sense of acomplishment when their done. And it's usually free!

  35. Library and parks, and we try and schedule play dates with lots of friends. In the summer our house is the hang out when the weather is nice, the pool comes in handy then! We also go on bike rides, and walks.

  36. I didn't post on Friday but meant to. I can't believe you've only been blogging for 3 months! Your blog is one of my favorites. It's so well done and I feel like you already have so many fun projects that I assumed it must have been here for a much longer time! Kudos!

  37. Winter is long where I live (boo) but my town is smallish and there aren't many places to go in the winter with toddlers. We recently discovered Fat Cats bowling alley. Clean, family -oriented, non-smoking. My boys LOVED the bowling. In the summer, we go to the zoo or the park or the pool, play soccer or baseball in the yard, do sidewalk paint, go on little bike rides, fly kites on breezy days. Or flat out take a day trip for a change of scenery--yellowstone & jackson hole are nearby.

  38. Do you have any college campuses near you? I work on one, so maybe I feel more comfortable there, but those are GREAT places to hang out with your kids! There's usually lots of benches and open areas, not a lot of (auto) traffic, and lots of interesting people to look at. Our campus has a pond with ducks we feed, there's another one here in town with a huge sculpture/water feature the kids like to play around. Hope you got lots of great ideas! :o)

  39. We live in Florida so it's a little different... we don't have winters, lol. But I'm always looking for things to do with my little guy because getting out of the house definitely puts him in a different mood. There are numerous parks in the area... sometimes we'll walk down the bike trail with the stroller, other times we'll just stop at a play ground... even if it's for 30 minutes on the way home from running errands. We have play group once a week and I find out about a lot of things from discussing activities with the other moms. We have a gymnastics academy around the corner that opens up for an hour twice a week for young kids and they have all kinds of things set up to keep them busy. There are also places with indoor inflatable slides and mazes which are so fun! Otherwise, we find things to do outside... weather it's playing in the sprinkler, filling up a kiddie pool, splashing around in a water table, or just rolling trucks and balls around in the driveway.

  40. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Playskool also has the "Toddler's Busy Play Book" that has TONS of ideas for indoor and outdoor fun.

  41. Fun, totally cheap ideas: go to visit a farm (we are not too far from the country) and we go look at the amimals. See the airport (my son LOVES to see the planes take off). Library time. Gardening with them. Special supervised craft time. Visiting a toy store. Also just going and visiting ANY ones house but our own to play with any kid, any age.

  42. There are candy factories--or any other food factory-- that offer tours for free that we've done several times. One thing we're going to try to do is to use the state park passes available at our county library system, which will get us into different state parks for free. One other thing we're doing this summer is to visit a new park each week, rather than just hitting those close to home.


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