Children have fun with the most basic materials. To restate the basic premise of these posts: parents do not need to spend a lot of money for children to have a great time. They have wonderful imaginations that amaze us grown-ups if we allow them to use what resources are already at their disposal. Most of these thrifty fun suggestions are play activities that have been around for generations. I’m sure many of us who are now “old” can remember building grand “forts” inside our rooms, play areas, and even outside! Three of my children are now in school at least part of the day. On Tuesday, my four-year old, Joshua, wanted a fort. So we dragged some kitchen chairs down to the living room, threw a blanket over the chairs, and a fort was born!
Then Joshua had to go around and gather materials for his fort–he found his favorite books and his favorite toys. This, of course, took time–and even though it made a great mess, I had time to get some chores done. So we both won!
Today, we decided to make a table fort. Joshua was very skeptical about it as we had never used the table as a fort. This was even easier to make. We just moved the chairs a little, threw a blanket over the table, and then I put two vinyl tablecloths over the blanket.
The tablecloths might normally be unnecessary, but I had a plan in my mind that the children knew nothing about. My two youngest went under the table and played, and then I let them watch a show on our iPad. That kept them occupied while I washed two sets of blinds on top of the vinyl tablecloths.
Now, they could have helped me wash the blinds, and that would have been thrifty fun for them; but to me it sounded like a huge mess that I did not need (especially with a two-year old helping.) If it would have been nice, they could have helped me do the blinds outside, but spring has not chosen to appear in my area yet!
To end our successful fort fun, my kindergartener, who came home from her half-day of school, and Joshua ate their lunch under the fort.
What a great day! We’ll leave the fort intact until the end of the school day and see whether my oldest two children like it as well. I have an inkling that they will!