Author Topic: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please  (Read 4051 times)

kjulez_83

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Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« on: May 28, 2017, 07:12:23 AM »
I am trying to think of things to do with my kids (nearly 3 & 5) that don't cost too much money.

It's due to rain all day tomorrow and we have already spent most of the weekend indoors - swimming lessons Saturday morning and a bike ride to the park today, but mostly indoors.

I feel like today I'm struggling with the whole "deprivation" thing, which I don't usually, but when it comes to stopping the kids from killing each other entertaining the kids, it can be way harder when you are trying to also be frugal. If I was happy to spend money like the average person does, it's so easy to just take the kids to e.g. the zoo, acquarium, scienceworks etc. I'm trying to think of fun things to do without costing the world but also I need to get out of the house for longer than 1 hour with them.

I have edited this post as it sounded like I'm looking specifically to take my kids somewhere tomorrow - which I am - but I am mainly thinking more long term! Like I am thinking of moving out of the city so I'm really wondering: if after 2 days with the kids indoors I'm starting to think OMG what the hell am I going to do tomorrow, then how we will fill our days when we don't live so close to the city and have a variety of options?

So I'm more wondering what others do in general if that makes sense? I feel like I go to the park and the library a lot and I just don't know what other free time filling things mustachians with kids do.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 07:22:35 AM by kjulez_83 »

abhe8

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2017, 07:21:34 AM »
How about a season pass to the aquarium or science center? While it is an up front expense, if you use it a lot, it's money well spent.

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kjulez_83

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2017, 07:25:08 AM »
Yeah good point - I did have a yearly pass to the zoo which I just let lapse, but maybe I could replace it with a museum membership or something. Actually that could be a good one as it is not just the museum it is Scienceworks too (as mentioned below). So I will check that one out :)

mamagoose

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2017, 01:07:54 PM »
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

Katiekatie

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2017, 03:34:04 PM »
Iam on the same boat... the sun has finally appeared where we live so going camping is something I I I drag my family out to do. The world is such a different place now...I use to just play outside all day with sticks and rocks, bugs. I think it's important to immerse them in nature as much as possible.

pbkmaine

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2017, 03:54:45 PM »
Let them take every pillow in the house and build a fort.

lemonde

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2017, 04:02:59 PM »
It rained this morning, so we went for a walk afterward. We spent about 1h (or they did, rather) splashing in a large puddle while I stood there and called them a few feet over whenever a car passed (the puddle was a few feet from the road). They were soaked to the waist (at least) by the time we were done, while I was soaked for a foot upward. It was great.

Stoic on FIRE

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2017, 04:23:56 PM »
There are a lot of options. The library may or may not be open depending on your holiday schedule.

Rain is a great time to test out rain jackets in a fun manner as mentioned above with puddle splashing. Once everyone is cold and wet or just wet you can come in for hot tea or chocolate. This will get the kids out burning energy.

You can still go to parks in the rain as long as we're not talking about thunderstorms.

You can go geocaching for free with the c:geo app and find "treasure."

If you have a yard where you can do some digging you could have them just play in the mud or work on building "canals" to distribute the water. Let them use their imagination and build a water park for toy soldiers or other outside toys.

You can always have them pound nails into a board too.

If you have an apartment you can go to the local park and save worms, build and race leaf boats, or skip rocks depending on what's there.

There is no bad weather, just poor clothing choices and three year olds who manage to get wet no matter how well dressed they are.

Should you have to stay indoors you could do homemade playdough, do an indoor scavenger hunt, wrestle, see who can do the most laps on the stairs/around the coffee table, make a card for a relative, or have a singing competition to name a few.
Change brings opportunity.

Anatidae V

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2017, 12:31:58 AM »
Baking? You could make enough cookies and muffins for the whole month!

kjulez_83

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2017, 05:07:28 AM »
Let them take every pillow in the house and build a fort.

This is my life every day! But it's starting to drive me nuts because it takes sooo much nagging and cajoling for them to pack it up! But they do love building cubbies and forts

Baking? You could make enough cookies and muffins for the whole month!

That's another one we often do, my son especially loves baking (he actually started crying a lot when I dropped and smashed two of my ceramic baking bowls because he thought we won't be able to bake anymore! He was inconsolable!)

There are a lot of options. The library may or may not be open depending on your holiday schedule.

Rain is a great time to test out rain jackets in a fun manner as mentioned above with puddle splashing. Once everyone is cold and wet or just wet you can come in for hot tea or chocolate. This will get the kids out burning energy.

You can still go to parks in the rain as long as we're not talking about thunderstorms.

You can go geocaching for free with the c:geo app and find "treasure."

If you have a yard where you can do some digging you could have them just play in the mud or work on building "canals" to distribute the water. Let them use their imagination and build a water park for toy soldiers or other outside toys.

You can always have them pound nails into a board too.

If you have an apartment you can go to the local park and save worms, build and race leaf boats, or skip rocks depending on what's there.

There is no bad weather, just poor clothing choices and three year olds who manage to get wet no matter how well dressed they are.

Should you have to stay indoors you could do homemade playdough, do an indoor scavenger hunt, wrestle, see who can do the most laps on the stairs/around the coffee table, make a card for a relative, or have a singing competition to name a few.

Great ideas Stoic on FIRE! I just need to use my imagination a bit more outdoors!

kimmarg

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2017, 07:09:08 AM »
arts and crafts?

I have fond memories of all the stuff we made as a kid with glitter, feathers, popsicle sticks etc.  At the start of summer my mom would take us to the craft store and we could get "whatever we wanted" (as an adult I'm sure this had a reasonable price limit but as a kid it seemed infinite.) I vaguely remember something like "you and your sister each pick 10 things" we would pick things like purple glitter or gimp or whatever.  Anyways some initial cost but a lot of miles for the money

pbkmaine

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2017, 09:05:23 AM »
arts and crafts?

I have fond memories of all the stuff we made as a kid with glitter, feathers, popsicle sticks etc.  At the start of summer my mom would take us to the craft store and we could get "whatever we wanted" (as an adult I'm sure this had a reasonable price limit but as a kid it seemed infinite.) I vaguely remember something like "you and your sister each pick 10 things" we would pick things like purple glitter or gimp or whatever.  Anyways some initial cost but a lot of miles for the money

I think today's equivalent would be a trip to the dollar store.
Lots of great crafts there.

Carrie

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2017, 12:35:04 PM »
How about plant a garden? Container garden, if you don't have a yard. We have a whole closet dedicated to craft supplies, and my 5 yo enjoys cutting tiny bits of paper and making collages. Also the kids love my fabric scraps, plus some action figures!  (Strangest thing, but they all do tons of imaginative play with it.)

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2017, 02:51:28 PM »
Play-doh (make your own for extra-frugality).  There was a phase where one bent little candle and play-doh meant every stuffed animal, animal cookie cutter, and Lego animal my DD owned got to have "happy birthday" sung to it and pretend to blow out the candle.  Sometimes more than once.  Older kids can mold their own animal figurines, etc.

The next time I'm really desperate I'm going to let them colour on the walls and just Mr. Clean eraser them afterwards.  (Rental apartment so I expect there's fifty coats of white paint underneath that I can scrub through).
Camp Mustache Canada... it's a thing now! Queen MonkeyJenga will be honoured with a meatball party there!

msmarieh

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2017, 03:04:54 PM »
Kids don't necessarily need to be constantly entertained. Teaching them to play by themselves is a road to creativity for them.

They also love to spend time with the parents, doing things together.

Go to your library and check out books on projects to do with kids... Different areas they would likely have include:

Arts and Crafts
Gardening
Photography (photo scavenger hunt)
Nature (bird feeders, etc.)
Science projects

Make your own science fair project.

Do a baking project (pizza, bread, cookies, etc.)

Look for longer range projects - grow plants from seeds (a pizza garden - tomatoes, basil, oregano, peppers), transplant the plants to the garden, pick the produce, make a pizza from scratch with their hand grown ingredients. Decorate the garden by making mosaic stepping stone tiles or bird feeders, etc.

Tea party

Ghost stories (not scary obviously at that age)

Make your own instruments and play music (decorate paper plates, staple together with dry beans inside, create drums from things like plastic lidded large containers - oatmeal), etc.

Teach them to sew or crochet or knit

Have them help you weed the yard

Take a neighbor's dog for a walk



wordnerd

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2017, 03:12:31 PM »
Sounds like you're home with them full-time, given the number of activities you already seem to be doing. Your kids are on the young side, but you could check out homeschooling resources for activities to keep them busy. Our local library offers resources to homeschoolers, and I'm sure there are a lot online.

bogart

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2017, 08:03:30 PM »
If I'd stayed home with a 3 & 5-year old (as perhaps you are doing), I'd have gone nuts -- paying for childcare was well worth it to (and possible for) me.  And even with that, I did dread being indoors at home with my LO (and I have just one, so the inter-sibling rivalry was zero.  Of course, so was the inter-sibling play).  A big fan of going outdoors, but the weather can make it hard (and it's well and good to say, "No bad weather, only inadequate clothes," but I find (a) lightning storms, which are not infrequent around us in summer time, (b) 90+ degrees in ditto humidity, and/or (c) persistent biting bugs to be pretty challenging and arguably not worth navigating with little kids, ditto 40-and-raining.  All temps are Farenheit :)! ). 

Besides the things folks (including you) have already rattled off -- swimming pool, kids' museums/science centers, zoos, aquariums, libraries, we would also go to the local mall, which is pretty woefully empty, ideally at times when it was quiet, just so DS could wander around.  And to big home improvement stores, which are common in the US (not sure about where you are), again ideally at the time when the store was quiet and DS could e.g. pretend to drive the lawn tractors without bothering anyone.  Some of our local town organizations also occasionally offer stuff like crafts or drums.  I'm not much of a crafter myself and preferred to outsource that when feasible, but little bits here and there are tolerable IMO.  And baking, as others have suggested (we went through a phase of making banana bread every. single. day. and gave away a lot of loaves.  But if I just left DS (~3) to stir, etc., each ingredient after we added it, just putting the dough together could easily consume an hour.  Of course, having 2 probably makes that trickier (but perhaps each could mix their own batch of dough in a separate bowl?).   

GL.  In my experience, it does get better as they get older.

sokoloff

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2017, 08:10:33 PM »
Check with your local library to see whether they have library passes to any local zoo/aquarium/museum/science thing.

See if they (or another local group) has a local makerspace/hackerspace.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2017, 09:05:56 PM »
I'm commenting to follow!

How about a season pass to the aquarium or science center? While it is an up front expense, if you use it a lot, it's money well spent.

I like this idea. My son is too little now, but I have a co-worker who buys a season pass to a different place each year (the Zoo, Science Museum, Art Museum, etc.). By rotating through hopefully your kids won't get too bored of it. Also, usually yearly pass-holders are invited to special events which could be fun for the kids or a great/cheap date-night out!

My Log

jillinsandiego

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2017, 10:55:38 AM »
I take the kids to the playground at our local park when it rains; they don't get to wear their raincoats very often in San Diego! It's funny, because we are always the ONLY people out when it rains. The kids love playing in the rain and getting to jump in the (rare) puddles.

We let them do a fair amount of art when they're indoors too; my five year old would be content all day long with paper, tape, and scissors. They love to build giant forts with everything they can find: couch cushions, pillows, chairs, etc. That will usually occupy a couple hours.

dphngbr

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2017, 04:13:29 PM »
My boys are similar ages to yours!  For lousy weather, our low-supervision go-tos are:

- chalk doodling (we have a concrete patio, but works on garage floors too if they're well-swept)
- painting in the bath with water-soluble paint -- follow up with an actual bath
- give them each a ball of yarn
- age-appropriate puzzles and legos -- the older can usually help the younger
- taping "race tracks" (or anything else) on the floor using painter's tape
- Magnatiles (not super-frugal, but worth the investment!) -- I like to prompt projects by asking if they could "build" something for one of their other toys (they have come up with garages for cars, a train to transport stuffed animals, etc.)
- give them a dozen glowsticks and turn off the lights in a dark room

Slightly more supervision required:
- make pizza
- sorting laundry and folding socks
- go to the thrift store.  Get them to choose some things to donate from home, take them to the store, donate, and let them pick out something else. 

Good luck!

sokoloff

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2017, 05:30:29 PM »
- Magnatiles (not super-frugal, but worth the investment!) -- I like to prompt projects by asking if they could "build" something for one of their other toys (they have come up with garages for cars, a train to transport stuffed animals, etc.)
On a per-hour-played basis, Magnatiles are some of the most frugal toys we've bought.

Our kids love them, play with them often (every week, often multiple times per week), and we do a similar incorporate other toys and story-telling with them.

Edit: Fixing the incorrectly quoted material.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 04:24:28 AM by sokoloff »

MrsDinero

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2017, 06:25:26 PM »
When my mom was a SAHM, she had a shoebox in the closet for rainy days that she used for my younger brother (I'm a lot older than him). She filled it with toys/games she found on clearance or at the dollar store.  She also created "mystery envelopes" that had game ideas (stop light, musical chairs, pretend to be animals, etc), and several complete arts and crafts (caterpillars out of clothespins, etc).  This box only came out on days when they couldn't go outside, it was very much an exciting experience for my brother.  It also kept him busy almost all day.  I'm planning to do the same for my kids as they get older.

tthree

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2017, 09:14:06 PM »
When my mom was a SAHM, she had a shoebox in the closet for rainy days that she used for my younger brother (I'm a lot older than him). She filled it with toys/games she found on clearance or at the dollar store.  She also created "mystery envelopes" that had game ideas (stop light, musical chairs, pretend to be animals, etc), and several complete arts and crafts (caterpillars out of clothespins, etc).  This box only came out on days when they couldn't go outside, it was very much an exciting experience for my brother.  It also kept him busy almost all day.  I'm planning to do the same for my kids as they get older.
I do this, but my rainy day stash is the excess of Christmas presents the kids receive from the well-meaning relatives.  When it's -50 with the windchill or rainy all day this stash comes in handy.

ForeignServiceWife

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2017, 01:40:14 PM »
Annual passes to places like zoos and aquariums are awesome investments and I think they make wonderful christmas gifts. I always ask for one for Christmas but I've yet to get one. We did spend $120 this year on a membership to a small children's museum and it has been a lifesaver. I'm thinking we might get one for the zoo for christmas this year.

Other than that, I often find that if I just come up with some random activity - like letting the little miss play with dry pasta and measuring cups - that it relieves the boredom for a couple hours and lets me get something done. Google has lots of wonderful ideas on how to keep little kids entertained when the weather is nasty. 

Dee18

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2017, 06:06:34 PM »
When we didn't have a tv, my daughter and I made one.  We took a standard box, cut off the bottom, and cut out the "picture" area in the front.  She drew on knobs.  We made a remote. We propped it up so she could slide up into it, whereupon she gave weather reports. If I switched the channel, we would have the Arthur show, etc.that was fun for most of the summer she was 5. 

Boxes are fun.  The bigger the better.  A box from a fridge or oven is big enough to be an indoor playhouse.  You can get one at an appliance store.

Grocery store is another great game.  I wrote prices on all our canned and boxed goods and my daughter would shop with a little cart.  Then she would do the cash register.  (Only child syndrome!)

At 3 my daughter liked to give shows: music, dances, and magic tricks.  The tricks were hysterical...she would have me pick a card, look at it, carefully stick it in the deck, and then spread the cards out until she found it.  With great excitement she would shout, "magic!"

Your post triggered great memories!
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 07:53:33 AM by Dee18 »

kjulez_83

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2017, 05:05:25 AM »
Oh how I wish I didn't have a TV! Or a play station :(

But the trick for me is to just get them out of the house wherever possible and then after we have had a giant trip out, I actually don't mind if my son wants to chill out and play video games for a little bit. But not having a tv in the first place would force so much more creativity!!

Lately I have been home a lot with my kids while DH has been working a lot of weekends and i couldn't handle another day at home with cubby & lego plus a trip to the playground which is the norm. We were all up early and I actually got up before the kids and had a shower and got dressed (which is great for my state of mind since I am a bit lazy and indecisive by nature so often end up sitting around in my pj's till 11am saying "what will we do today" till I realise the day has all but gotten away from us!), so I decided to see if there was anything on in the city and found out the National Gallery had a free kids exhibit/activity on so we headed into the city. Packed some fruit, sultanas and a few wraps for lunch and on the way we stopped at this really awesome playground. So we were out of the house for 5 hours and we all had a good time.

It was about a 45 minute bike ride each way (I don't have a car), so not something we can do all the time but once every couple of months it is good to go on a big city adventure. Also, total money spent = $0!!

So an excellent mustachian family day :)

Poundwise

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2017, 04:27:00 PM »
Strangely enough, sometimes it helps to borrow ANOTHER child for a play date. If your older son enjoys the company of another 5 year old, invite the child over and they will entertain themselves, while your 3 year old has the time of his life following the big kids around.

Trifele

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2017, 09:51:07 AM »
Boxes are fun.  The bigger the better.  A box from a fridge or oven is big enough to be an indoor playhouse.  You can get one at an appliance store.
.....
Your post triggered great memories!

+1.  Huge boxes are the best!  That was my go-to when the kids were little.  I picked them up for free at the appliance store, and my kids created apartment complexes, even entire "cities" in our basement by cutting doors and windows, then joining them together with duct tape.  They "furnished" various rooms and had a total blast.  It was amazing how creative they were.  We had one really good box city that stayed in place for months, and the kids still talk about that one.  The kids can draw and scribble all over them, and at the end -- you recycle them.  Great memories.

ubermom4

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Re: Mustachian family life - ideas & inspiration please
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2017, 08:29:05 PM »
OP -- I am thrilled by all of the excellent suggestions here. Great job -- everyone. Many suggestions for season passes for museums, etc. -- in the US you can become a 'friend' of the public library for around $15 for the year. As a friend, you can use the museum's passes to many activities. You just have to sign up ahead of time.

I know just how you feel being cooped up/out of energy for another rainy day. Special toys, boxes, etc. are fabulous. We used to use an appliance box that the kids would decorate and then crawl through, etc. I was often tired after several rainy days -- make a list of things to try. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of things to do with little sweeties when it rains, often we are too tired to get fun activities going. I had a list that was repeatedly updated with good rainy day activities -- found from friends, books (library books has tons of science projects that are easy), etc. When my brain was fried, this sort of list really, really helped me.