What childhood memories do you hold? For me, it was all the times “life happened”. The little things like playing outside, riding my bike, playing at the park, swimming in the lakes, laughing with friends.

None of those moments cost a penny, yet they are some of my most treasured memories as a child. 

Making memories on a budget is very easy to do. Choose any of the ideas below and you’ll have a fun-filled time with your children without breaking the bank!

  1. Garden

    Plant flowers, fruit trees, herbs, or vegetables. Your child will learn science, responsibility and have fun!

  2. Snip-it

    Give your child some old toy catalogues or magazines and safe scissors to create some scenes from TV shows or their favourite film.

  3. Diggin’ It

    Send your child outside with a bucket and a small spade. Shovelling snow, sand, dirt or rocks — it’s all good fun.

  4. Sing

    Turn up the radio and sing! Teach your child the music of your favourite as you grew older.

  5. Play Catch

    Throw different items (balloons, tennis balls) to your child. Roll balls to young children.

  6. Pavement Chalking

    Lay on the pavement and take turns outlining each other. Colour in your flat selves.

  7. Cardboard Boxes

    Make towers playhouses, aeroplanes, trains, forts and more!

  8. Bubbles

    Go outside and blow bubbles. Take turns chasing and popping them.

  9. Masks

    Make masks from paper bags, paper plates, foam, or anything on hand.

  10. Cards

    Teach your child all the classic games — UNO, Crazy 8, Go Fish, Old Maid, Memory Match.

  11. Treasure Hunt

    Give your child a list of clues and send them out to find them. Clues can be simple (find a rock) or very advanced (find a piece of granite).

  12. Throw Rocks

    Go to a pond or lake and throw rocks. Try to skip them or aim for different targets. Just don’t hit animals!

  13. Bath Time

    Bring kitchen utensils into the bath. Bubbles and water can become a gourmet dinner.

  14. Office

    Give your child junk mail, stickers, a calculator and a pen. They can play office for hours.

  15. Photography

    Let your child use a disposable camera or a digital camera and witness their creativity. They may surprise you!

  16. Picnic

    Why not make some sandwiches and eat them outside.

  17. Cooking

    Find age-appropriate recipes and let your child help in the kitchen.

  18. Tag

    How many versions of tag do you remember from your childhood? Teach the oldies to your children (freeze tag, TV tag, etc.)

  19. Write a Story

    Younger children can write wiggle-worm sentences (much scribbling and pictures). Encourage older children to write chapter books — your child could write the next Harry Potter or Magic Treehouse.

  20. Charades

    Toddlers can act out or guess their favourite animals. Older children will enjoy acting out movie titles.

  21. Flashlight

    Turn off the lights & make shadow puppets. Or get two flashlights and chase the light beams.

  22. Wildlife

    Feed the ducks, squirrels, birds, or fish near you.

  23. Abundance

    Every day, have your children tell you what they are thankful for.

  24. Dress Up

    Let your children dress in your clothes.

  25. Bake

    Make cookies and decorate them.

  26. Dance

    Turn up the music and Dance!

  27. Play Games

    Teach your child all your favourite board games.

  28. Journal

    Get a notebook or diary and encourage your child to express their feelings with pictures and words.

  29. Tea Party

    Grab the stuffed animals and treat them to a delicious cup of imaginary tea.

  30. Keep in Touch

    Write a letter to Grandparents, Aunts or Uncles. Teach them the importance of family.

  31. I Spy

    Come up with age-appropriate clues and let your child guess what you are thinking.

Be sure to print out this list and keep it handy for the next time your children say “MUMMMMMM — we’re bored!”