Ideas that will create life time memories for your child with out spending a fortune. Small children don't need 400 dollars worth of toys to forget about, when boxes and imagination go so much farther.
Play. Seems simple, but, do you really know how to do it? Get down on the floor and play trucks, build forts, make cardboard buildings for cars. Go through the clothes in the house and make a dress up box; include old jewelry, hats, purses, and shoes. Plan a tea party, and follow it wherever it goes.
Read. Start a small chapter book and read one chapter a day. Make reading time special with snacks.
Make crafts. Simple paper plates make great masks to wear, then you can play using your masks.
Cook. Every kid loves to help in the kitchen. Make or buy their own cookbook and apron, then let them pick a recipe and help them make it, and do this as a weekly thing. You will be surprised how much you learn from your child while spending the time together.
Give them creative reign. Get a big box, cut it open, lay it flat and hand them the supplies to go crazy -- let them paint, draw, cut, and then join in.
Go on picnics. All kids love picnics, the key is making them spontaneous. Pick them up from school, take a snack and head to the park, have a picnic inside, use a theme like all red food, or let them pick all the foods. So what if for one meal you're eating twinkies and cereal. It won't kill them or you.
Play games, any game. When's the last time you indulged in something a little wild, like hide and seek in the house?
Build a fort, inside or out. Kids don't need extravagant play houses -- a sheet over the clothes line or some chairs will do just fine. Play in there with them.
Play with play dough. Get out the cookie cutters and anything else that you normally don't let them use for playdough...use plastic utensils for cutting.
Be an a clown occasionally.You don't need make-up, just be silly. The kids will have a great time laughing when their Mum/Dad isn't able to find that thing that is obviously in front of them ("No I can't see it anywhere."). Another great example is getting your foot stuck to the floor after gluing something. When the kids try to help, their hand also gets stuck to the parents hand.
Give your kids the ultimate gift of time. Instead of saying "not right now", stop and go play for an hour. Is that bill really going to be any different if you leave it on the table and come back an hour later? Probably not, but, your child may look back and remember the day you stopped what you were doing and played for an hour.
Use your imagination.
Get creative, look around for new uses for everday things.
Don't get discouraged.
Limit the discipline while making the effort to spend time together. It's no fun if all you're doing is scolding them.
Let your inner child out to run free, it helps you as much as your child.
Always make sure the activity you try is age appropriate. If it's too difficult, it's no fun.