Since I’m a local church pastor whose wife stays home with our two small children, we’re always looking for simple, inexpensive and memorable ideas on how to have fun together as a family. We’re constantly looking for day trip destinations where the only expense would be the gas to get the vehicle there and back. (By the way, the “back” is really important. I know this from first hand experience.) My wife is the master of simple projects that teach our children important truths while at the same time having lots of fun.
Have I mentioned how important I think that “fun” is for a family? It really is. In fact, I’m concerned that we have an entire generation being raised that really doesn’t know how to have fun. They’ve never known a time when they weren’t committed to something, expected to be somewhere and win. Can I just ask? Whatever happened to just having fun? You know…running without having to win a race, tossing a ball without fear of a coach yelling at you if you drop it, turning cartwheels in the front yard for fun instead of on gym mat for a score. But I digress. I just believe that our children need to have a childhood. A time when they aren’t responsible for anything except dreaming, having fun and learning to love God and their family. And we as parents need to be able to find simple, inexpensive ways for them to just have fun.
The apostle Paul once wrote, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Cor. 13:11
Did you catch that? There is a time for children to speak, think and act like children. They’ll have the rest of their life to be an adult. (Maybe that’s why so many young adults today try to hold on to their childhood into their thirties – they never really had one.) There ought to be a time when their little hearts can dream and their little minds can soar, and what better way to do that than through toys?
But have you checked out the price of children’s toys lately? I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to mortgage my home for the latest doll or video game that’s just going to be obsolete or forgotten or broken in a week – or less.
So, let me give you some great ideas on “free” toys for your children to have “fun” with today!
1. An empty cardboard box. (What’s better?)
2. A superhero cape made from a bathroom towel.
3. Sock puppets made out of, you guessed it…old socks.
4. Tents and forts made out of sheets and blankets.
5. Bathtub toys made out of empty squeeze bottles.
6. Pretend grocery store made out of empty food packages.
7. Binoculars made out of toilet paper tubes and rubber bands.
8. Kazoo made out of toilet paper tube, wax paper and a rubber band.
9. Post office made from junk mail.
10. Arm sling made from a hand towel.
And, don’t forget – just about anything can be a drum! (Or as Jack would say, “Bumm! Bumm! Bumm!)
So, spend time together this weekend and don’t forget to just have fun.