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School holiday activities: Four good old fashioned frugal play ideas

Good old fashioned frugal play ideas. Little eco footprints

We're nearing the end of the school holidays and I'm looking forward to a few quiet days at home. In preparation, I've been refreshing my memory of old-fashioned frugal play ideas.

I like play activities that can be set up in minutes using materials and ingredients I already have at home.

Children don't need expensive over-packaged boxes of plastic to craft.

Nor do they need a selection of board games (or computer games) to play games.

Some wool, paper, scissors, a packet of cards and couple of everyday pantry ingredients can provide all they need for endless play.

Here's a few of my favourite old-fashioned frugal play ideas.

1. Playdough

Playdough play 1 little eco footprints

I love how playdough play has evolved as Little Eco gets older. I don't think you never get too old for playdough.

Playdough play 3 little eco footprints

Playdough play 2 little eco footprints

I always have a stash of cream of tartar in my pantry so that I can quickly whip up a batch whenever needed (Here's my favourite recipe). 

2. Card games

There’s dozens of games for children that can be played with a standard 52-card deck.

Some of our favourite include memorygo fish, old maid, spoons, solitaire and 21.

3. Wool crafting

I keep an eye out for balls of wool at op shops and have a good stash ready for crafting.

Using nothing but wool and your fingers you can finger knit. I was delighted when finger knitting recently became a fad at Little Eco's school. Now that's my kind of fad. Creative and frugal.

Weaving god's eyes. Little eco footprints

Collect a couple of sticks and you can weave a god's eye. Simply tie two sticks into a cross. Wrap the wool over and around one arm of the cross, then over and around the next arm, and so on. Change colours by simply tying the new colour to the old. Continue until it's as big as you like and tie off the end.

Cut two matching doughnut-like discs from scrap cardboard and you can make a pom pom. Place the discs together. Wind small balls of wool around the discs from the centre to the outer edge. Keep going until the disc surface is thickly covered in wool. Cut the wool in between the cardboard, at the outer edge of the disc all the way around. Tie off the pom pom by pulling a piece of wool between the two cardboard discs and tying a tight knot. Slide off the two discs and you have your pom pom.

4. Paper play

Grab a pile of paper and a pair of scissors and the crafting options are almost endless.

Good old fashioned frugal play ideas. Paper play, Little eco footprints

Cut paper snowflakes.

Make and fly paper aeroplanes.

Or cut and decorate paper doll chains.

I could go on. Build a cubby house. Go on a backyard picnic. Jump rope. Press flowers. Play handball or hopscotch. 

Our grandparents managed to play and craft without spending a fortune.