14 Ideas for Frugal Fun for Boys

Boys are full of energy! Any mom of a boy knows her boys hold a seemingly unlimited supply of physical firepower (and willpower).

Helping boys expend their energy in a productive way while keeping expenses low is definitely doable when you have a lot of tricks up your sleeve. Whether they prefer playing out in the backyard, the public park or inside the house, there are plenty of affordable activities that boys can enjoy. Sometimes, you’ll even be surprised to see them appreciate simple toys and activities more than expensive gadgets or electronic toys. Everyday household items like pots and sticks can turn into a drum set in the hands of an imaginative boy.

Nurturing their imagination and stimulating creativity is not the only advantage of letting kids have active play. For one, it keeps them occupied while you get a few things finished! More importantly, mom or dad can guide them towards a balanced use of their free time and help direct their energy into fun pursuits that benefit their physical, emotional, and mental well-being while helping them develop their cognitive and motor skills. Those are things they don’t get with passive entertainment from television or video games. Depending on your boy’s inclinations, some suggestions will be more challenging for the mind, while for higher-energy boys, more physical activities might be in order.

Indoor activities

1.  Balloon badminton – Fill up a couple of balloons and play different variations of playing catch or badminton by hitting the balloons back and forth with a long stick.

What you need: a couple of colorful balloons and a thick stick
What it will cost you: $2

2. DIY pulley – Using a long rope or string with a bucket tied to one end, preschoolers can get resourceful in finding where they can hang the pulley. Let them tie a weight on the other end and fill up the bucket with objects – this will give them a lesson in estimating an object’s weight.

What you need: long rope, bucket and heavy weight
What it will cost you: less than $5

3. Magnetic Building Tiles – With magnetic tiles and blocks, boys can enjoy putting together different variations of shapes, patterns, and structures while learning concepts on math, space, color, magnetism, design and a whole lot more. This open-ended toy encourages creativity, imagination and problem-solving skills among kids and is sure to be used for a long time, giving you a great value.

What you need: a set of magnetic building tiles 
What it will cost you: around $14 and up             

4. Sensory bin – Make two variations of a sensory bin – one dry, one wet. For the dry bin, put an assortment of objects with various shapes, textures and sizes and let your kid guess the items while blindfolded. Have him describe the objects that he is touching. For the wet bin, put water and items that sink and float. You can even include toys that he can “clean” while inside the bin.

What you need: two plastic bins and an assortment of items and toys
What it will cost you: $0

5. Taped roads – Use plain or colored tape to make roads for toy vehicles such as cars, trucks and trains. They will learn how to imagine and create a network of roads by marking using a tape. They will also learn how to navigate their toys following the network they’ve built.

What you need: plain, washi or colored tapes
What it will cost you: $2 and up

6. Sponge Jenga – Re-create Jenga blocks using colored, cut-up sponges and let your kids have fun strategizing their moves in this game.

What you need: colorful sponges
What it will cost you: $2 and up

7. Homemade playdough – Check out your kitchen for the ingredients needed to create homemade playdough. Boys will have fun tinkering with the tools and getting their hands dirty as they see the final product from this concoction.

What you need: flour, oil, food coloring, water, cream of tartar, salt
What it will cost you: $10

Outdoor activities

1. Sidewalk chalk – Use giant sidewalk chalk to play the classic hopscotch, create street art for kids that are FB- and IG-worthy, learn concepts, and play board games on the ground such as tic-tac-toe. Anything that you draw outside using the chalk will be fun!

What you need: sidewalk chalk
What it will cost you: $10-$15

2. Nature rocks – Hit two birds with one stone by having your boy collect rocks and put them into a basket – they can use it to play on the sand, create stone towers or stack and balance rocks. Then, you can even get your him to paint on the cleaned-up rocks with images, names, or characters related to any upcoming holiday or occasion.

What you need: basket for storing rocks, acrylic paint material and brush
What it will cost you: $6 and up

3. Fly a paper kite – Buy or make your own paper kite and take advantage of the springtime wind. Have fun crafting and painting a kite to make it personalized and teach your son how to fly the kite too.

What you need: paper, paint and stick, string
What it will cost you: $10

4. Bug hunt – Make a checklist of basic insects that can be found outside around your home. List and draw them, then ask your kids to look for them and count them. Once done, total how many bugs your boy was able to find. You can repeat this on other days and see if he can find patterns in the data.

What you need: pen and paper
What it will cost you: $0

5.  Build your own sprinkler – Boys love getting wet, so this should be fun for them. Get an empty plastic bottle and waterproof tape, drill holes into it and attach it to your garden hose, turn on your tap and voila! You have a DIY sprinkler that your kids can tinker with.

What you need: empty plastic bottle and waterproof tape
What it will cost you: $0

6. Plant a seed – Give your kid a small spade, different fruit or flower seeds and let him bury or plant them in the soil of your backyard. A few weeks later, you can let them go back and see if anything has sprouted.

What you need: spade, fruit or flower seeds
What it will cost you: $0 if you have it on hand

7. Mini golfers – Create a mini golf course in your backyard with some flags, balloons, bottles, books, statues and any other item that you can use as a marker. Just place the items on the ground at set distances. Your kid and his friends will have a blast putting around!

What you need: a small ball and club, random household items
What it will cost you: $0 if you have it on hand

If you’d like to share your own ideas of frugal fun for boys, we’d love to hear them below!

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