It happened out of pure exhaustion one day as we sat in another long line of after work traffic, counting the number of cars that had the number 5 in the license plate. My kids were in utter delight as they fought to find those plates before I did. They could not even believe we got home so fast and actually wanted to be in traffic the next day! It dawned on me that kids really don’t care what you do with them once you are right there with them. I heard a saying once, “To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.” As the long Easter weekend draws near, the following are some cheap and fun family activities for the family to do that are free, exciting and sitting waiting for you and your kids to do.
Some of the best places to go are right on the side of the road. Ever pulled over at the Lady Young Lookout to take in the view of Port-of-Spain at sunset? What about going to San Fernando Hill to see the sun rise? Why not pack some sandwiches, a board game or two and some copy books? The sandwiches will keep your food bill low, the board games will give the kids something to do while you and your significant other get some time to talk and the copybooks allow your kids to create a story about where they are and keep a record of their Easter adventure that they could look back on and smile.
Open and free
Children love nothing better than to run, jump, climb, ride, laugh and hide. All of these and more can be done in an open space like the Queen’s Park Savannah or a neighborhood park. What makes the long Easter weekend perfect for a day at a public park are the number of people around (safety in numbers) and the amount of space your kids have to enjoy themselves with things they are familiar with. Make the regular game of football more exciting by using a tennis ball instead of a regular sized football. Have a treasure hunt with the items to be found, using things from their rooms instead of things bought from a store. Take bed linen from home, have everyone lie on it and look to the sky imaging that it’s 20 years from now and have them talk about their dreams and goals. You could even get them in on the act by having each child help in making their favorite appetizer and giving it a name. This way you can host your own “my family who can cook” without paying hundreds of dollars.
Games give giggles
From the moment children can figure out who is faster, stronger or longer they want to compete. They are naturals at playing games. Games give instant feedback and are great teachers of values. Since kids love a good rivalry, hunt or challenge you’ll have an easy time inventing all sorts of games over the long weekend. Look in your food cupboard and you will find all of the prizes you need. Money generally is not what kids want, they want your recognition and approval that they did something well. Make things more interesting by having them use things like your shoes, hat or shirt in games so you not only save on money by not having to buy props but they will have a blast getting to use mom or dad’s things that are normally “off limits”. Don’t forget to get involved also. Nothing warms the heart of a child more than seeing mummy or daddy acting silly and coming down to their level. Of course, if they beat you in the game you would have made their year.
Remember that even the simplest of things can provide hours of fun for you and your kids. Best of all, these activities will allow you to have greater control over your money, give you the power to not overextend yourself financially and provide you with the peace of mind that you managed your money well over the long weekend. Of course, if you have already planned a family vacation, let your money go further by adding simple activities that will leave a real impression on your family. As the saying goes, the best things in life are free!
A Financial Advisor at the Unit Trust Corporation can work with you to make better financial decisions and achieve your financial goals.