Ten Free Things to do with Your Child

Gather several different kinds of paper (newspaper, printer, magazine, cardboard, etc.) and make paper airplanes. Experiment with different sizes and styles, and see which ones fly best. Then try flying them on a breezy day and a calm day. When do they fly better?


Fold some paper in half and staple along the fold (makes a book). Then, cut some photos from a magazine, and glue them onto the pages. Make up a story about the photos.


Make some colored ice cubes (food coloring in water, freeze). Then, take the cubes outside and paint with them on white paper.



Pick some flowers, and press them between two sheets of paper placed under a heavy book. Carefully peel up the flowers, and then glue them onto a piece of paper that has been cut into a long strip suitable for use as a bookmark. To make it last longer, cover the bookmark with clear contact paper. Trim excess contact paper.


Have a shape shadow experiment. On a sunny day, place a few different household objects so that their shadows fall onto a piece of black construction paper. Have your child trace the outlines of the shadows in white chalk. Cut the shadows out, and paste them onto white paper. Ask other family members or friends if they can guess which object produced each shadow.  


Take a bucket of water and some brushes outside and “paint” the driveway, a fence, or any waterproof surface.



Place a large loop of yarn on the grass, and look through a magnifying glass at what’s inside the loop.



Take a walk in your neighborhood or a park, and listen for as many different sounds as you can hear.



Nothing beats an old favorite—mud pies! Throw on some old clothes; bring out some old cups, pie tins, and spoons; and create muddy masterpieces. (Just don’t eat ’em!)



Using scrap paper, crayons and markers, stickers, and any other art supplies you have on hand, help kids decorate bikes, trikes, scooters, or wagons, and organize a little neighborhood parade. Serve lemonade to the spectators for extra fun.