One of my favorite hobbies is studying the Victorian period. Families in the time period lived in close quarters and had no electronic devices to entertain themselves. Because of this, they would pass the time making crafts from scraps of advertisements, home-grown flowers, shells from the summer they went to the beach, and even their own hair they’d make into jewelry! They did anything to make something clever and beautiful. This same idea was viewed by many cultures to teach and entertain youngsters.
These crafts I’ve included can be made and used throughout the year and can be given as gifts—all at low cost. Use these ideas to create something the family can do together and treasure for a lifetime and done again and again as a new family tradition! You can find these ideas and more at your local library.
Some of the ideas I have found are homemade food and stuff for kids, projects, gifts, and decorations, family fun outings like museums, finding Freebies on the internet but be careful what information you give out and keep an eye on how much data miners or cookies the websites put onto your computers.
In Colorado, we have a food subsidy program called Colorado Shares, which provides food to families who need a little bit of extra help. A family may sign up and work for food by just volunteering a few hours per month and getting some free food. Find out if your state has a food co-op program.
To save money, I’ve learned to make my own jam, jellies, breads and cookies, and they are all freezable! If you don’t want the hassle or don’t have the time, find some inexpensive mixes and freeze the dough. Making food together not only teaches your children the value of money and nutrition, but also can be a valuable time spent having fun! Even baby food can be frozen.
Projects, Gifts, & Decoration
Like making food together, children can learn valuable lessons from making crafts together. Fun ideas can be found at the local library. It is a good place to expand the imaginations and can get you out of the house on hot days if you don’t have an air conditioner! (I’ve been there, done that!)
Some Art Museums have free admission on Saturdays and be a great place for kids to get ahead in not only art history but history, geography and social studies. Another great place is the LivingHistoryMuseum. These places are set up to look and work like homes or farms from a time in history to help people see and feel what life was like a long time ago. Check out your local city hall, library or courthouse (internet or newspaper) to see if you have a living museum nearby.
By seeing these places, children can get an appreciation for the life they have now, instead of having to do the chores from a by-gone era! Most can be free, have free days or charge a small fee. They definitely worth the trip! And we mustn’t forget the local park. You can come up with a game or a scavenger hunt to make it interesting. Winner gets the biggest piece of dessert!
Sheryl Knapp is a freelance writer and has been a single mom for over twenty-five years.