How many times have others reminded you that your kids grow up fast so you must enjoy them while you can? When the budget is tight, it can be difficult to think of ways to enjoy a little quality time with our daughters, but we can connect with our girls without breaking the bank.
When you make art together, you’re teaching your daughter a healthful form of self-expression and you’re giving her an opportunity to develop her fine-motor skills. There’s no need to invest in expensive art supplies either. Make thank-you notes to be used later by drawing or stamping designs on card stock; turn an old oatmeal container into a coin bank with colored paper, markers and a glue stick; make swim cover-ups by painting Dad’s old T-shirts with acrylic paint; paint each other’s toenails; or make braided or beaded bracelets to donate to a children’s hospital.
Cooking together is another way to teach lessons about health while producing something to share. Begin your cooking projects with a trip to the grocery store or farmers market — clip the grocery list to a small clipboard and let her cross items off with a crayon as you make your way through the store or teach her how to pick out produce at the farmers market. Show your daughter how to scoop cookie dough onto a pan, slice bananas with a plastic knife for a fruit salad, stir muffin batter, knead bread dough or roll peanut butter balls.
Build a blanket fort and then crawl inside to read books with a flashlight, build an obstacle course in the back yard and play follow-the-leader, or put in an exercise DVD and follow along together. Go for a hike or swim at a public pool or check out an ice skating rink.
Out and About
Encourage your daughter’s sense of adventure and observation skills. Take her on a scavenger hunt on a walking trail or at a nearby park by first cutting pictures from a magazine or use clip art to make a list of items found in nature — acorn, pine needle, snail shell, earthworm, pine cone, smooth pebble, rough stone, dandelion — and then challenge her to find the items on the list. Visit a nearby park, garden shop or nursery and identify plants with a guidebook. You can spend the afternoon at the library or find a reusable treasure at a thrift shop. Many museums and zoos offer discounted passes through libraries or special discount days for families — plan ahead to save money.