Anna’s Budget Tips-Five Free Ways to Make Your Kids Smile

Bringing a smile to your kids’ faces doesn’t have to cost a penny and will likely leave you with a big grin that lasts all day as well. Here are a few free ways to surprise, delight, and completely crack your kids up!

playground1) Do Something Silly!

Mom and Dad could swap clothes before coming down to breakfast one morning. Try to keep a straight face as the little ones take in Mom in a suit and tie or Dad squeezed into one of Mom’s dresses. Bonus points to Dad if he puts on makeup and jewellery!

2) Dessert For Dinner

Shock your kids by serving ice cream sundaes, cookies and milk or some other sweet treat for dinner! Then have dinner for dessert, but best to keep it something simple that kids are likely to gobble up such as cereal, grilled cheese, or peanut butter and jelly. It can make for a crazy night, but the kids will love it…and who hasn’t wanted to skip straight to that cupcake from time to time?

3) Up The Ante On Movie Night

Let the little ones choose tonight’s feature film and surprise them with homemade tickets to the show. Set up a “concession stand” in the kitchen where everyone can “buy” their snacks before the lights dim for the movie. Popcorn, trail mix and pretzels in little bags are perfect movie munchies. Make it even more realistic by announcing that it’s time to silence all cell phones and enjoy the show!

4) Love Notes

Surprise your kids with little messages in unexpected places. Write on the bathroom mirror in huge letters with a dry erase marker, tuck a note in his or her backpack or school book or slip one into the shoes that will be worn in the morning. The note can be just a simple “I love you,” a reminder of how proud you are of a particular trait or action or a message wishing your kiddo good luck in an upcoming event such as a test, sports game or performance.

5) Kids’ Choice Day

Designate a weekend day “Kids’ Choice Day.” Each child in the family gets to pick one (free) activity for everyone to participate in. It could be a trip to the playground, baking cookies, building a giant fort in the living room or a mega video game battle. You’re off the hook as family scheduler for 24 hours and the kids will love getting to call the shots for the day.

Anna Platz writes for the popular personal finance blog, Good Cents Savings, which helps you save money, stick to a budget, and live well on less. She is also the mother of a four year old daughter who is worth every penny!

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