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Frugal Winter Fun with Kids

By on December 8, 2005

Winter is upon us. The kids get cabin fever quickly when their outside free time is limited. You’re looking for some fun things to do before you all start climbing the walls. You don’t need a wallet full of cash to enjoy the cold, snowy days. There are all kinds of frugal ways to enjoy the winter season together both indoors and outdoors. Here are a few frugal boredom busters to have as your 911 “plan” for the winter blahs.

Outdoor Fun

1. Homemade Snowman Kit
It’s just not winter fun without building a snowman. Assemble a snowman kit to have handy. Your kit can contain the following:
A hat, scarf, mittens, plastic carrot nose, charcoal briquettes, (place in plastic baggie) buttons, and can add two dowels or branches for arms.

2. Obstacle Courses or Winter Olympics
Jump over the mounds of snow or have relay races.

3. Snow Paint
Mix food coloring and water and add to spray water bottles and spray the snow to make colorful works of art outside.

4. Homemade Bird Feeder and Bird Identification
photo by frenchiefoo
pinecone feeder
Need large pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed. Add peanut butter to pine cones and roll in birdseed. Keep a journal of birds in your yard. Can borrow a field guide from your local library.

5. Snow Ice Cream
Mixing together a quart of milk, an egg, 1 cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pure
vanilla extract in a pan. Cook on stove top until mixtures thicken and cool to room temperature. Pour this mixture over fresh snow.

Or

3 cups loose clean snow
2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients.

6. Snow Golf
Use a tin can buried in the snow for the holes or just carve out holes in the snow.

7. Winter Photography
Take pictures of nature. Icicles, birds, trees, etc.

8. Identify Tracks in the Snow

Check out a book from your local library on animal tracks.

Indoor Fun

1. Paper Snowflakes
Photo by perspicacious
paper snowflake

http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/dstredulinsky/links.html

2. Paper Airplanes
http://www.bestpaperairplanes.com/

3. Make a Snow Gauge
Mark inch lines on a coffee can or plastic liter bottle with the top cut off and setting it outside to catch snow in.

4. Mister Grass Head
photo by tico24
grass head
Materials Needed:
nylon knee stocking
Grass Seeds
Potting Soil
Baby Food Jar
Wiggle Eyes or glass paint/markers

Using hosiery, place some grass seeds in the toe which is where you want the grass to grow. The hosiery is the head and the excess will be placed in the baby food jar to soak up water. The toe of the hose is the head and the grass will look like hair as it grows. The baby food jar is the body. Add some potting soil in the end of the hosiery on top of the seeds. Make sure the hosiery of seeds and soil is bigger than the opening of the baby food jar.

Tie a knot in the hosiery to keep the seeds and soil in. Completely soak the soil/seed ball. Place the hosiery in a baby food jar filled with water making sure the head is above the mouth of the jar. Decorate the jar to look like Mister Grass Head’s clothes and add a face onto the head.

5. Smores
Indoor Smores
1/3 Cup light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon. butter
1 (12 oz.) package chocolate chips
4 cups honey graham cereal
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Bring corn syrup and butter to boil. Lower heat and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate melts. Add cereal and marshmallows and stir. Put in square pan, covered with foil. Let set and cut into bars.

6. Shadow Drawing
Take brown grocery bags and tape together until you have enough paper to be the same size as your child. Have your child lie down on the paper bags and trace your child’s outline. Your child can then color her “shadow” drawing to look anyway she wants.

7. Homemade Toys
Decorate a paper towel tube. Paper punch a hole about an inch from the end. Now tie a mason jar ring to a piece of string about one foot long. Attach and tie the loose end of the string through the hole in the cardboard tube. Hold the tube and flip the ring up and try to catch it onto the tube.

Or

Try taking a plastic, Styrofoam, or paper cup and poking a small hole in the bottom, running a piece of yarn through and tying it securely in place and adding a large button on the loose end. Catch the button in the cup.

8. Bubbles in the Bathtub
How fun to blow bubbles indoors. Here are some homemade recipes: http://www.bubbleblowers.com/homemade.html

9. Homemade Bowling
Use empty water bottles or coffee creamer containers as the pins and find a spare ball to roll.

10. Indoor Snowball Fight
Wad up newspaper balls and have a snowball war inside.

11. Homemade Hot Cocoa
Nothing beats the winter chills away after a day of snow fun outdoors than hot cocoa. Make your own with this recipe.
2 Cups nonfat dry milk
1 Cup white sugar
1/2 Cup cocoa
1/2 Cup non-dairy creamer
1 pinch of salt
Miniature marshmallows

Combine ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Add 4 tablespoons of mix to a mug and add boiling water. Stir.

12. Window Fun
Crayola Window Writers are a product that writes and easily washes off of windows. Can also purchase spray snow for windows.

As seen in the Herald News

http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/lifestyles/204694,4_5_JO10_WINTERFUN_S1.article

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About Sara Noel

Sara Noel owns GenXZ, Follow me on Twitter

3 Comments

  1. emily_hope

    2/17/2007 at 11:24 pm

    We don’t get much snow where we live, but when we do I always make some Snow Ice Cream! Delicious. We also do the indoor s’mores, but we actually roast marshmallows over the fire and use chocolate cand and graham crackers. My DDs and my DH love hot chocolate, too.

  2. MOMMYDEAREST

    2/19/2007 at 8:03 pm

    oh thanks for all the tips. i have been snowbound with 6 kids & its not easy. the smores is a great idea. i also like playing bingo with the kids. i go & buy small gifts from the $$$ store & reward them with small gifts.

  3. mom23boys

    2/25/2007 at 7:20 pm

    Great ideas to help beat the winter blues! I think the Mister Grass Head fun to create. I would love to have some Snow Ice Cream.

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