Speaking as somebody in their 30s, times have truly changed. The world has gone digital in irreversible ways. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Online banking is useful, for example. And so is the ability to find information whenever you need it. Social media isn’t really what I’d call useful, but there is a certain satisfaction that comes with seeing good things happen to people you like, and misfortune befall those who’ve made your life miserable. Children see us on our phones and tablets and they want to copy us. Which means they don’t want to play outside with friends as much as they want to stay indoors and watch endless streams of high-pitched social media personalities doing this week’s dance.
Encouraging children to become enthusiastic about doing something like playing in a park can be difficult, especially if they tried it once and hurt themselves (playground and park accidents are actually fairly common – if you’ve been affected, try calling a personal injury attorney in Carrollton). But we must help children to put down their devices because social skills and knowledge of the world are essential parts of their development. Let’s look at ways to entertain your children without breaking the bank.
Plant and grow a herb garden from seeds
Seeds are cheap. Plastic plant pots are cheap. Soil is cheap. All that’s missing is water from your tap. The idea is not to plant one seed and bore your child to sleep by watching it each day to check for progress. That’s no way to plant a herb garden. The idea is to have as many different herbs as you can fit on your window ledge. Perhaps 10? Your child can do the planting by pressing their finger into the soil filled pot and dropping a couple of seeds into the hole. Cover the seeds with soil, water a little each day, and voila, the magic will happen. Once things have grown, you can use them in your cooking, which leads us onto our next point …
Cook from scratch
Cakes, bread, cookies, and salads. What do all of these things share in common? They are all things that require a mixing bowl. While wielding sharp knives and using the oven are perhaps beyond the realms of safety for younger children, mixing bowls present an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get stuck into some messy fun with their hands. Again, mixtures for such things are cheap, and if you want to make a salad, the most expensive part may be adding eggs or cheese or pasta – which, again, are all relatively cheap.
Forest treasure hunts
This requires one forest, one afternoon, and perhaps a packed lunch. The idea is to make a list of all the things your child must find in the forest. Such as a snail, a feather, an animal footprint, a bird’s nest, an egg shell, and a worm – rummaging in the undergrowth for creepy crawlies always goes down well with kids!