Fun; Not Money

Money is a stress factor for many divorced parents.  Not only is there less money to run the household after a separation, there’s also less money for superawesome fun activities.  This can cause a lot of anxiety for parents facing the fact that Disneyland is no longer an option.  And neither is the latest greatest video game console.

I tend to view this as more of an opportunity for parents.  When “money” and “stuff” are removed from the picture, we can focus on important things like “imagination” and “quality time”.  I’ve spoken to several divorced parents who believe relationships with their children improved due to this shift in priorities.  Below is a list of low or no cost entertainment options that Boyfriend and I enjoy with Drake and Josh on a regular basis.

  • Roller Skating- our local rink offers a reasonable admission price and 3 hours of aerobic entertainment.  Bonus:  the building is big enough for the kids to feel independent and secure enough for parental peace of mind.
  • Fishing- kids’ poles are inexpensive.  so are worms… and fish are so appreciative when we throw them back!
  • Hiking- my favorite is when we pack hot dogs and hike somewhere to build small fire and cook lunch.
  • Camping- we found a tent for $6 at Goodwill and the state parks are pretty cheap.  One time Drake lost a tooth in his s’more and swallowed it by accident (ah, memories!)
  • Movie Night- I ♥ Netflix and Boyfriend makes the best air-popped popcorn.  Now that Drake and Josh are a little older, we’ve started watching movies based on the books they’ve read.  Makes for great discussion after the credits roll- the kids can tell us what we missed out on by not reading the book.
  • Museums- No running!  No shouting!  No playing on the escalators!  …but the exhibits typically offer a little something for everyone.  And I like to nap in the planetarium 🙂
  • Nature Centers- There’s a place near us that’s accessible by a walking trail.  It’s a nice spot to stop and rest while we watch the fat squirrels eat from the bird feeders.  We can also learn a lot about the plants and animals we see on the trail.
  • Puzzles and Jenga- fun ways to practice problem solving and coordination for little ones.
  • Monopoly and Rummikub- more advanced problem solving, math, negotiation and competition.
  • Slide Golf Ball- we made this one up when we found a golf ball on a playground a couple years ago.  Each player rolls the ball down the sliding board and the person who rolls the farthest wins.

"The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money." - Thomas Jefferson

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3 comments on “Fun; Not Money

  1. Mandy says:

    I agree that changes in your financial situation can make you reassess your relationship with money and that there are plenty of things to do that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. I certainly went through that and I’m more conscious of staying within my budget now.

    The challenge I think for many single parents is when there is a significant difference in income between ex’s and one ex is using that to buy their children’s affection or when there are significant differences in each’s philosophy about money. For example, I’m trying to teach my 17 YO that it’s OK to use a credit card provided you pay it off each month, you can’t spend more than you have coming in etc. It’s pretty basic stuff and my ex is on the same page but what if he wasn’t? What if he was spend now, pay later?

    • We experience a little of that too… BirthMom has different philosophies about money and she puts on a “bigger and better show” for the kids. The only thing we can do is set an example and communicate the value of our choices- and make it clear that it really is about choices.

  2. […] Look for entertainment alternatives and opt for cheaper family activities. […]

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