These are ideas for (mostly) free stuff that can happen anywhere in the world. Teenage daughters should take note.
Go for a walk.
Create a scavenger hunt in your house, backyard or courtyard.
Make playdoh. Play with playdoh.
Brainstorm strange flavours of pancakes…make the top three strangest even if it means making up the recipes!
Make window paint. Paint on the windows!
Plan an at home spa day: make fancy drinks, give massages, do manicures and pedicures, put cucumber slices on your eyes, make homemade facial masks.
Go camping in your living room, or backyard, or courtyard!
Go for a picnic!
Make cards or postcards. Mail them to someone who might need a burst of joy!
Colour or paint.
Have ice cream Sundaes for supper.
Choose books to read that are written by International authors. http://www.nypl.org/blog/2014/07/22/around-world-childrens-books
Work on a puzzle. (Puzzles can be expensive…but I buy them at thrift stores or garage sales. It’s true you don’t know if all the pieces are there but you’ll never know unless you do the puzzle!)
Watch an old western TV show or a Bollywood movie without the sound. Choose characters and dream up the dialogue as you go!
Play a board game but not monopoly. Monopoly causes family drama. Every time. These days we like Ticket to Ride, Forbidden Island, Pandemic, Probe.
Sidewalk chalk art!
Visit a pet store and pretend it’s a zoo!
Start a family book club: Each person share for 10 minutes about the book they’re reading. Serve cheese and crackers and lemon squash!
Have a water fight –with squirt guns or water balloons or spritzer bottles.
Throw a party—just because! Blow up balloons, hang paper chains or streamers, mix juice with sprite and pour it in fancy glasses, invite friends over! Play silly party games (pin the tail on the monkey, upset the fruit basket, charades).
Create a fitness challenge in your front yard! Pull out the timer and see who can get through it fastest, with their eyes closed, with their arms behind their backs, on one foot etc.
Make cookies or brownies with a secret ingredient!
Turn on some classical music and take turns telling the story of the movie the music is a sound track for.
Pretend you’re a tourist in your own town. Go on a walking tour of a part of town you’ve never been to before. Try a local restaurant you’ve never tried.
Find a new recipe for an odd or interesting snack. Make it!
Set up paints and paper and watch an episode of Sister Wendy on DVD or on Youtube –A TCK in her own right.
Hand each kid a roll of masking tape—send them outside for an hour to see what they might make!
Read aloud from a really good book!
Try some games that kids in other countries play. Google it! There are tons of ideas out there. Here’s a simple spot to start if you have younger kids: http://beafunmum.com/2012/11/games-from-around-the-world/
Create a new beverage! What would chai mixed with lemonade be like? Or Orange Fanta with orange sherbet?
Make a pillow fort. Make a really big pillow fort!
Pull out the scissors, construction paper, a pile of old newspapers or magazines and the glue: Collage!!
Visit an international food store. Choose a snack from some place faraway that you’ve never had before!
Visit the Aquarium Supply Store near you and look at the fish.
Hang a white sheet from the side of your house or garage and use a projector to watch a movie. Make popcorn. Serve root beer floats.
Geocaching—see if that’s a thing where you live. Try it with friends or family.
Borrow kayaks or canoes from friends and explore waterways near you.
Presuming someone in your family has a smart phone have a selfie competition. Make a duck face, a sad face, a I’ve just lost my pet face, an ecstatic face, an oh no my ice cream is melting face.
Play Chopped or Cupcake Wars at home in your own kitchen.
Pick a country—plan a pretend trip there. Research where you’d go, where you’d stay, how you’d get there. Rent or download a movie that features that country. Check out books from the library about it. Make a meal or a snack from that country (google it!). Do you know someone from that place or someone that’s been there? Invite them over and ask them to tell you about it.
Climb a tree.
Fly a kite.
Visit your local zoo.
Get multiple copies of a one act play. Or make copies of a segment from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Host a reader’s theatre complete with props and costumes.
Sit down as a family with a very large piece of butcher-block paper. Make a family history timeline.
Invite friends over for a joke telling night. Each guest brings their best ice cream topping and their best joke. Dish up the ice cream and prepare for the belly laughs.
With the help of YouTube learn a Bollywood dance!
Sit down with a stack of thank you cards. Think of random people that live thankless lives. Send them a card. Do this with a friend or with your family.
Set up a lemonade stand. Use the money you make to do something frivolous as a family.
Get out a map. Pick a place within a 50 mile/100 kilometer radius. Go for a drive.
Explore this town or place as a tourist might. Take pictures.