Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You Say You’re Bored? I’ll Give You Something To Do…

Tip Of The Day: My companion piece to my Fox 9 News at 5 (PM, in case you forgot) segment. This week’s show is about fun, inexpensive stuff to do with your kids. And let me tell you, if they still complain about being bored, let me at ‘em. I got stuff for them to do. Like my WINDOWS, bucky.

Tip For Tomorrow: If I rearrange it, will I come? I mean, um, well, huh. That sounds REALLY dirty. What I meant to say is, if I create a cool space in one of my spare bedrooms, will I actually use the room for more than a dumping ground for my loose ends?

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: You know what drives me nuts? When kids whine about being bored. Also, the lack of tomatoes at the grocery store, but that’s a whole nother rant.

In my non-having-of-children opinion, bored kids lack imagination, stimulation, and chores. Give them one of the three, and they’ll stop with the complaining.

Oh, I can hear some of you grumbling throughout the blogosphere as I typed that - “What does SHE know? She doesn’t even HAVE kids. And? She’s not even married. Loser.”

Perhaps you are right. But, I’ve been called worse. Today, even.

If you want to stimulate your kids – otherwise known as ‘have them run around until they’re so tired they fall asleep the minute you get them home’ – you are In Luck. There is so much to do in the TC, and most of the to-doing is FREE. The trick is, finding out about all the activities available.

Because I love you, and your kids, here are my tips on Finding Stuff To Do For Less. Bet you feel bad about calling me a loser now, huh?

1. Go to Explore Minnesota’s
web site. Next, go here to search for the festivals and events in your area. Then, pick from one of the HUNDREDS of things to do. Last, go to the web page for that event, and see how much it costs. Lather, rinse and repeat.

2. Log on to your favorite search engine. I prefer Google, but Yahoo works, too. Next, in that little search bar thingee, type in the name of your town, and then ‘MN.’ The very first (maybe the second) result will be the web site for your community. Click on that site, and go to the Park and Recreation page. Also, if there is a festival or event, it will generally appear on the Main Page of the community site.
Like this one.

3. Here are some of the web sites and phone numbers you Need To Know if you live in the TC – they’ll hook you up with the fun stuff going on at our local parks:
Three Rivers Park District

City of Bloomington Information
Minneapolis Park and Rec.
To get your hands on a Mpls. Park and Rec. schedule, call here: 612 230-6400
Ramsey County Park and Rec.

4. You know what’s expensive? Valley Fair. You know what’s a cheaper option? Your local festival or fair – like Stockyard Days in New Brighton, or Tater Daze in Brooklyn Center. Most of these fests have carnival rides – which are more fun and more dangerous (YAY! I mean, oooo, scary) than the rides at VF.
Let your kids pick out three rides each, and then distract them from wanting more with the free stuff to do at the fair. Like looking at the animals. Just don’t be tempted to buy one for the kiddies – cows are NOT cheap to maintain, trust me.

5. Last tip, and this one is a DOOZY. Don’t just search the community web page for your city; check out the neighboring towns, too. Like, if you live in Richfield, see what’s going on in Edina and Bloomington. If you live in Eagan, scope out Burnsville. Chances are, there are loads of things to do just one town over from you, and you don’t even know about them.

I know it’s tough having the kids home for the next three months – where’s YOUR summer vacation, right? But with a little research (see above), you can give your children the time of their lives, without breaking your bank. Or back. Or their little heads.


Smirking Cat said...

I agree that bored kids lack imagination. I could always entertain myself, as a child and now as an adult. Kids have so many mindless video games, toys that act on their own instead of requiring manipulation or movement by the child, and idiotic television shows, that so many of them have no idea how to actually play. Sad.

LaRue said...

S recently took my vanity chair and turned it into a horse by means of printer paper, and made herself a jockey hat. It was one of the cutest things ever. And she is almost 11.

I always tell the kids I am not going to entertain them. We will plan trips places, go to the library, but when it gets right down to it, go play in the yard or read a book. Or read a book in the yard. Its all good.

Anonymous said...

Teen/Child has no problem entertaining himself. He has a strict "read one book every week" of the summer rule that he must follow, and he knows better than to tell me he's bored.

I don't know if I missed this in one of your posts, but a REALLY CHEAP (as in FREE! FREE! FREE!) way to take your kids to some downright cool places is the museum pass program sponsored by the Hennepin County Libraries. Check it out at : http://www.melsa.org/museumadventurepass/

Teen/Child and I are doing "Tuesday Field Trip" each week he doesn't have another activity, and we're going to save BIG by using the museum adventure pass program. Last week we saved $15 on admission to the Minnesota History Center (soooooo cool).

The Cheap Chick said...

Dearest SS, I have mentioned the Museum Pass in pass posts, but it ALWAYS bears repeating. Why? Because it's FREE. And nothing is better than FREE.

LaRue said...

We also used the passes last Friday when we went to Fort Snelling. Of course buying all of that beef jerky and rock candy (mmm rock candy) and caramels ate up the rest of the budget.

Which, incidentally, was set aside for rock candy, beef jerky and caramels.