Keeping kids entertained cheaply in a tough economy

Park playground
Local parks can provide hours of free entertainment.

If your family is feeling the crunch, you may be looking for ways of keeping kids entertained cheaply in a tough economy.

Preschool Age

This is probably the easiest age to keep entertained. Trips to the local park, arts and crafts projects and even baking cookies can be inexpensive and fun for this age. In addition, many libraries offer free story hours and activities for younger children.

Consider forming a playgroup with like-minded parents. This will allow your child time to play with other peers his own age, and also give you some of that important adult conversation that is missing when you’re a stay-at-home moms.

Elementary Age

Keeping elementary aged kids entertained when there isn’t much money in the budget can be a real challenge. This age group enjoys things such as movies. Try some of the free summer movie programs during warmer months. Another great way to keep busy in the summer is to sign up for reading challenges at your local library. Not only is the program free, but many award prizes for so many books read or number of hours spent reading. Just be sure to return your books on time to avoid late fees. The library also offers movies that can be checked out. Choose a few appropriate movies for this age group and invite a few friends over. Even better, ask everyone to bring a finger food to save on your food budget.

Activities around Louisville for elementary aged kids:

  • Henry’s Ark – Petting zoo that is free. They do run on donations, so if you can spare a few dollars, try to give them a small fee to help cover their costs.
  • Michael’s – This arts and crafts store offers classes in everything from painting to cake decorating. They even host special workshops for kids. The cost is often minimal and covers the materials used in class. Check your local Michael’s or Hobby Lobby for more information.
  • Parks – There are numerous state parks in the area that will provide hours of entertainment for a nominal fee. There are also caves to explore, geodes to find and so much more. Let nature entertain your child and save big bucks.

Tweens and Teens

Although teens and preteens often self-entertain with their electronics, events at school and bevy of friends, there are times when you just want to do something together as a family. Here are some ideas for fun family time that doesn’t have to cost a fortune:

  • Family Movie Night – Make homemade pizzas and watch a movie.
  • Spa Night – You’ll be the coolest mom on the block when you gather your teen daughters and their friends and have a spa night. All this requires is gathering up any beauty treatments you have or researching homemade treatments. Better yet, have the girls bring their favorite products to share.
  • Memories – Don’t rule out the things your children enjoyed when they were younger. Teens often beg to go to the zoo or a favorite park. They might not admit it to their friends, but they do still enjoy these things.
  • Dances – Many communities have local dances for teens once a month or once a week. If not, consider putting together a group of parents to host this activity.

Kentuckiana Free Activities

  • Club Mom – hosted at Greentree Mall in Clarksville, Indiana on the first Tuesday of the month. You can get details at the mall’s website.
  •  Pottery Barn Kids – at Oxmoor mall offers activities on Tuesdays for younger kids. Phone the store for details.
  • Barnes and Noble – be sure to check out Tales at Twlight and other programs for kids at your local store.



Crabby Housewife

AuthorCrabby Housewife

Lori is a full-time housewife and writer, living in the Midwest with her husband of 27 years - they have two daughters. They have a house full of pets and her house is never quite perfect.