1. Face Painting! We were at the zoo a few months back and Blaise was enamored with the face painting booth. Of course at $5 per kid, this was outside of our budget, so I promised him that we would do it at home. I ordered a kit from amazon and we've been painting faces multiple times per week! It doesn't take me long and make the kids soooooo happy.
2. Splash pad (or just the backyard sprinkler). These pics are from a very fun splash pad near my parents' house that also happens to have a giant sand box with toys! But most days we just enjoy our backyard sprinkler and sand box.
3. Library story time. There's books, rhymes, songs and crafts. And sometimes even trips to the fire station!
4. Games. Every time we go to the thrift store, we try to pick up some games. They are usually only a dollar or two, so I don't really stress about the kids losing pieces. I mostly buy older children games both because they are plentiful at thrift stores and because they are more interesting to the little kids even though we have to modify the rules. Mastermind and Parcheesi are the current favorites!
5. Reading. I read to the kids a lot. But they also like to "read" to each other!
6. Gardening. Fresh veggies are both yummy and healthy. And when we grow them ourselves, they are also cheap! We have pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, and various herbs. The kids are great at planting, watering and picking, but only occasionally helpful with the weeding!
7. Home improvement projects. OK, so this is mostly just us grown-ups. John and I have been working to make our house more beautiful and more functional since we moved in three years ago. Back in January, we contracted out to build a half-bath in our basement. Certainly the best investment we have made in the house. Since then, we've been working on all the finishing touches for the basement. We've added a chalkboard, build-in bookcases, and most recently, a closet in the guest bedroom! The bookcases and closet are both Ikea "hacks". Instead of building from scratch, we bought them from Ikea and retrofired them to work as build-ins! The chalkboard is a piece of sheet metal painted with chalkboard paint and framed with 1x2's.