Cheap Fun

  • Watch the Young Frankenstein DVD again (it never stops being funny) while enjoying some microwave popcorn.

  • Andy Warren (10/21/2010)

    But about YOU, as adults, what's your cheap (and PG rated) fun?

    Who said you can't have leaf fights as adults? I had one with one of my friends on Tuesday. But for PG rated adult activities, I'd have to say some of my favourites are going on hikes and packing a lunch. My friends and I go out of town to do that once a year and in town a few times a year. Having a pot luck dinner is an inexpensive get together as well.

    Apparently you can get murder mystery games for very cheap off eBay, get everyone to dress up and bring something for the dinner. It sounds fun and I'm sure it'll go over well once we do it.

  • My favorite cheap thrill is camping. It's cheap if you've got the gear. Otherwise, a good walk and a picnic is fun. It should involve tree climbing.

    BTW, I have fond memories of making houses out of refrigerator boxes.

  • Me personally?

    Settle down with a good book.

    Time with the kids. I'm not too concerned about what we're doing; that time is usually fun irrespective.

    Go for a walk (I would have included going for a bike ride, but I'm afraid mountain biking through the mud and grit in the UK does not come under the heading of "cheap").

    Woodwork. I've usually got spare offcuts of wood lying around, so much of what I do is still cheap.

    Music. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the instrument may not be that cheap (although you can pick up a harmonica for peanuts) you don't incur further cost each time you use it.

    The whole allotment and cooking what you grow thing. I'm better in the kitchen than the allotment, but can frequently be seen with a spade providing extra brawn.

    Semper in excretia, suus solum profundum variat

  • Oh, and I forgot about the nerf foam-dart guns. Ok, they have an initial cost (mind you, so does the allotment!) but they have a neat 2-player 'strikefire' kit of which I have bought 2 (so four 'kids' can play) and then hand out some tennis balls (aka grenades) and stand back while they charge around the house.

    This is for kids too - the strikefire guns I've bought are a real hit with us developers and are going to be very second hand by the time the kids get them at Christmas...

  • Last year my honey bought me a Kindle with his holiday bonus from work. (This wasn't the cheap part.)

    Since then I've spent countless hours reading the books available for free download from Amazon. They are many and varied, and some are better than others - but it's been on the whole entertaining to read random books that I would not have otherwise chosen.

    The only caveat / warning to this is occasionally the free books are religious books that aren't marketed as such - and if you aren't in the mood to be proselytized to this could be annoying. (Case in point, I recently read a horror book that ended up being a description of what happens to the "Bad People who don't believe in Jesus"... which really wasn't what I was looking for in my daily pleasure read.)

    However one of my friends sent me a query which can be used to avoid downloading religious books and free "samples", so now I am less wary.

    Other cheap & simple pleasures - long hot bubble baths, watching videos on, playing boardgames online at free sites like, taking the dog to the park, trying out random "groupons" ( has daily deals on restaurants, other entertainment, etc. -- this is not necessarily cheap but always much cheaper than full price so sometimes you can try out some normally pricey places for a reasonable price. has pretty much the same type of setup.)

    Anye Mercy
    "Service Unavailable is not an Error" -- John, ENOM support
    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -- Inigo Montoya in "Princess Bride"
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  • I like the idea of the building something (like a plane) with the kids. When mine were younger, I would have them draw up a plan of what to build and then we would build it together. We never started building until we had a plan and talked through it, so they got the idea of not just jumping into something. Our biggest project like that was a wooden cart (go-kart) where they put it together themselves.

    My daughter's in college now, so I don't get to see her often, but the boys are still around. A really cheap idea for my older son is fishing -- he loves it and is still young enough that he doesn't need a license, but the younger son hates it. The younger one is a trip to the book store -- our deal is I will pay for books, but graphic novels he has to pay for out of allowance.

    As for video games, we also play those together and it can be a good time, but I try to limit their time in front of a TV. I also have adult friends that we get together (try to weekly) and play some Xbox Live, Halo, Reach, MW2, etc. We aren't very good, but it gives us time to talk about all kinds of stuff (private chat).

    For adult PG fun, go to a park on a Saturday or Sunday and watch the kids play soccer. At the U-14 and above, it can be very intertaining.

  • Wow! 22 posts and nobody with any on-line fun suggestions?!:w00t: How about some on-line brain surgery or knee replacement surgery? My kids love it and hopefully they'll grow up to be doctors to take care of me in my old age...

    It's free but you can always donate...

  • I've built a few of the CREATOLOGY crafts with my five year old son, but if you want to keep your sanity, avoid the sailing ship one at all costs. It took an hour just to put the ship together, and you get one long string for trying to tie each sail on, and the instructions for it are useless!

    I have another off day with him next week, and we will probably bike on the Rails -to-Trails run on the westside of Jacksonville, and bring a picnic lunch.


  • A little more than $5, but something that will last for years.

    I gave my granddaughters (ages 5 and 8) wooden birdhouse kits for Christmas last year. They live 600 miles away, so I don't see them often. We spent time together building and painting the houses. On a visit in the spring, they helped put the houses up on posts. The girls were excited to watch for birds wanting to use the houses they had built and they had to tell me when the first bird built a nest in one the houses. When I was there in the fall, they insisted that I look at the nests that the birds had built.

    There aren't many things you can get for $13 that keep a child's interest for 9 months - and there will be more birds next spring. Building their self-confidence with a "look what I made" item is always good.

    I just checked and Woodcraft ( no longer carries the "My First Birdhouse" kits. Perhaps there's another source for a simple kit with precut pieces - havng kids that age cut the pieces by hand is a fast way to kill interest on a first project and learning to safely use power tools (scroll saw, bandsaw) is several years away.


  • We have no kids as yet. But I remember as a kid me and my friend would put on a fashion show for our parents. The 'fashion' was garbage bags. We used garbage bags to make clothes, straws to make fake nails, our moms nail polish to decorate them and our moms old handbags and shoes to complete the look. It was a lot of fun, our parents really enjoyed it and we really loved designing and making our costumes.

  • We've done a variety of things here. Bike rides or hikes usually go over well with the kids in Colorado.

    Movie night, video game times, those are fun. We've gotten Rock Band going some nights, taking turns singing or goofing off with instruments for some great family time indoors.

  • I'll take a look at, and on the sailing ship, I've been thinking to get that one...for me! Maybe for a day when kids are occupied elsewhere!

  • I remember having all sorts of fun with cardboard boxes when I was a kid! I'd draw wheels and windows on the box, climb into it -- and boom! I was driving a car!

    Here's one for all of you: not long ago, I suggested to my wife that we go to the local public library. When she asked me why, my answer was two words: "cheap entertainment!"

    Why not? Not only can you check out good books to read, you can check out movies! Compared to a video rental place or Pay-Per-View, you can't beat the price!

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  • A fun question - which brings up some fun memories - all free or inexpensive:

    In the house:

    - wrestling

    - gymnastics

    - reading to them

    - tie a rope to a plastic laundry basket, let them sit in it, and pull them back and forth on a carpet

    - nerf guns

    - hide and seek - making sure you don't find them too fast even if you know where they are

    - building a house of cards

    - video games

    - cardboard boxes - the bigger the better

    - making a "tent" using blankets draped over chairs


    - trip to the local park

    - trip to the beach

    - pulling them in a wagon around the neighborhood

    - playing 'Marco Polo", "Shark", and other assorted swimming pool fun

    - playing whiffleball, baseball, basketball, and football

    - walk to the local donut shop

    - walk to the local fast food place

    - going to the "free part" of your local amusement park - and letting them each get some candy while there

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