Guest Post by Faylee James
As parents, we are always looking for ways to keep our children entertained and the cost down. Having 5 to 8 children at home, keeping them entertained and out of trouble was one of my hardest jobs as a parent. Here are a few things I did:
 Movie Matinees
When we went to see the latest release it was always in the early afternoon when the prices were discounted. Each child was given a limit as to what they could spend on snacks. While I know bringing food into the theater was frowned upon, I often did it. I had a special purse that was large enough to hold candy, cookies and sippy cups. The kids would get excited when they saw that bag on the kitchen counter because they knew it was movie day.
 Make Your Own Water Park
Kids are the best at having fun with a water hose and a piece of plastic. A slippy slide isn’t expensive but it’s small and when you have multiple children all wanting to use it at once, it can become a fight to the finish as to who gets to slide first or more often.
I spent about fifteen dollars on a large [12 feet x 25 feet] sheet of plastic. I cut it in half, making two 6 feet by 25 feet pieces. I found a small downhill incline in my yard and laid the plastic on it. First checking for rocks, sticks or anything that might cut through the plastic.
At the top of the incline I placed the water hose, releasing enough water to form a steady stream. You will want to wet the plastic completely before trying it out. The child has to be able to slide smoothly down the hill.
If for some reason your plastic isn’t smooth enough to allow sliding, mix a small amount of dish washing soap in the flowing water, spreading it with your hand or a clean mop. Don’t worry about the grass as a small amount of soap will not hurt it. Remember to move the plastic every couple days, so it will not damage the grass from wear and tear of the children.
When all is smooth and slippery stand back and watch the fun begin. Go on mom and dad join in, take a dive!
 Search the Internet for Local Fairs, State Parks and Festivals
Children love to explore, so going to a local event is the prefect place for that. I used the buddy system when taking the children to fairs and street festivals. They were to always be together, no matter what. Mostly until they were in their mid teens they had to be within my view but the buddy system worked well for me at all age levels.
Lots of fairs have displays for children to learn new things. Foods from far away places, that you might not have on your home menus, for them to try. Most state parks offer hikes, educational programs and zoos of local wildlife. Any of these avenues can captivate a child’s mind and help keep them occupied for hours, if not days.
Use your imagination and online research to come up with low cost places for family fun. It’s out there, just waiting for your family to explore and enjoy.
~Faylee James is a Life Coach/Writer/Speaker from Northeast Tennessee, who has an above average interest in people, cooking and living life to the fullest. Her website Hassies Kitchen Table.com and blog Hassies Kitchen Table.blogspot.com have more ideas and recipes. Don’t forget to sign up for the twice monthly newsletter while on the website.