Monday, April 27, 2009

Low-Cost, No-Cost Entertainment Ideas for Guests & Children

With a full house of grandchildren and other out-of-town guests, my friend Rosalie discovered creative ways to entertain without spending a lot of money. Using time and creativity, she kept her visitors occupied and happy. I plan to use some of her tips during future school breaks.

Here's what she did:

Look for promotions: Periodically, local attractions -- museums, zoos or aquariums -- will lower the price of annual membership with attractive offers. For example, a single-day entrance ticket can be upgraded to a year-long membership for a small additional fee. Rosalie recently found similar offers at Seaquarium and Parrot Jungle. With affordable membership passes, she and her grandchildren made repeat visits to those attractions with minimal costs after the initial purchase. Promotional deals are advertised online and through traditional media sources.

Try simplicity: Rosalie took her grandchildren on long walks through the neighborhood, to the beach and to area parks. The children and the adults enjoyed the ocean waves and the sight of an iguana walking on a neighborhood sidewalk. Every neighborhood has eye candy, and an attentive resident can serve as a tour guide. Last summer, I traveled with my children to Washington, D.C. We visited museums and attractions, but a free walking tour of the city created some of the most memorable moments.

Hit the kitchen: Whipping egg whites into foam and other supervised kitchen duties provided hours of fun for Rosalie and her young visitors. Baking provides sweet desserts and a sense of accomplishment. For ideas and recipes, visit the library and sample the wide range of cookbooks for children. My daughter recently checked out Delicious Drinks to Sip, Slurp, Gulps and Guzzle by Rose Dunnington (Lark Books, 2006). Inspired by the recipes, she invented her own smoothies.

1 comment:

Judy said...

Another great place for ideas for free events is Wimgo. You'll find all sorts of events you never even heard of. Makes you wonder 'where' you've been!

Check it out!