Cheap Children's Activities
by Stephen Andrew Baldwin
Finding activities for your children besides television and video games doesn't have to be a chore, and it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg either. With a little preparation you can turn some thrifty planning into an entertaining event for any size group of kids.
camping is an inexpensive weekend activity
Capture the Flag
Capture the flag will keep kids running and running, and since there are so many variations on the rules, you can play it just about anywhere. The game is played by separating your playing area in half, giving each team one side of the field. Hang the flags, which can be anything from ribbon to cut up old T-shirts, at the far end of each team's territory. Near the flags lies each team's prison, where tagged opponents are held until they can be rescued by one of their own team members. The goal of the game is to run across enemy territory, capture the flag, and bring it back across the center line to your own territory without getting tagged in the process. You can also rescue prisoners by making it from one end of the field to the other and tagging them before the other team tags you, at which time both of you are allowed free passage back to your side of the field.
Camping is popular with children because they get to get dirty and be outdoors. Kids also usually have more fun sleeping in a tent then they would staying in a motel room with their parents, where they'd likely have to be much quieter and more behaved. Camp sites typically offer nature trails, ponds, or lakes, as well as vast stretches of campground for kids to explore. Camping is one of the few times kids are allowed to play with fire and throw stones, and if you have your own camping equipment, it can be as inexpensive as free.
If you have a small group of people, there are a number of board games which are a ton of fun and allow teens to show off to one another with their creativity. In Scattegories, each player is given a list of questions like "things you take on vacation." You roll a letter and have to come up things that start with that given letter to answer all the questions on your list. Another popular choice is Cranium, which incorporates games like Pictionary, charades, and trivia all into one board game; there is also a teen edition. Apples to Apples is a game that allows players to show off their wit. Each player is dealt a hand of cards with nouns on them like "celebrities," "places," and "events." Each player takes turns playing as the dealer who draws an adjective card, like "stupid" for instance. The dealer reads his/her adjective and everyone else plays a noun card that they feel personifies the given adjective, though the dealer decides whose answer fits best.