The Obvious but Often Overlooked
Most parents know that local libraries host events for children but may not take advantage of them. Check with both your local and county libraries to see what they have to offer—many have story times for toddlers and preschoolers as well as book reading groups for older children. Some libraries have special events with visiting children's authors or they bring the characters from popular kids' books to life by having them visit during story time. These types of activities are also now being hosted regularly by many book stores. Occasionally including crafts or snacks, these events are educational and a fun diversion.
Sometimes retail stores host free crafts for kids or themed events for new parents. Be sure to check with your local arts and crafts stores, toy stores, malls, home improvement stores, and baby department stores for ideas and event calendars.
The World is a Stage
Kids love getting positive attention through performance! Whether reading to a crowd, dancing, singing or acting, even a shy child will glow with pride while performing for his or her family. Arrange a little play together with your kids, put on costumes, and create a set with pictures they draw or paint, and objects around the house. You don't have to create the play from thin air—use their favorite TV show, movie, or book as the basis for a short skit. Even toddlers can participate in these family productions. To make it more memorable, invite a friend, neighbor, or the rest of the family to be the audience. What a fun way to spend a rainy day!
It is possible to encourage children to develop new passions while showing them your love and attention, and without spending any money at all. Using your family's creativity, you can enjoy some free activities while creating rich memories to cherish for years to come—and to use in future games of "Coffee Pot"!