Hey, it's Satur....day.
If you're a parent, specifically a parent of young, active children, Saturday may seem like just another busy day, with the added pressure on to create a Pinterest-worthy, cozy family day with your brood.
Limited child-friendly venues and social distancing restrictions make it hard to find activities that won't leave your credit card scorching or your kids bouncing off the walls from a sugar-high.
It's exhausting just thinking about it.
If navigating the labyrinth of online craft or activity tutorials searching for a suitable activity has you ducking for cover, read below for a compilation of tried and tested weekend activities for all ages. The best part? They cost next to nothing!
1. Take A Walk & Look Outside
When was the last time your family enjoyed a little time outside the city in nature? A trip to the Province doesn't have to be a large, involved affair. Pack your favorite snacks or sandwiches, hop in the car and drive a short distance outside the city for a picnic!
While urbanization has caused the outskirts of Phnom Penh to become more and more developed, there are still plenty of untouched "Oasis's" past the airport to enjoy. Find a field, a shady area with trees or if you can, somewhere in your Hometown that you've been to as a child.
(Fun fact: Yes, I have a place in mind myself on the outskirts of Chom Chao that I still enjoy visiting for the lush green views. No, I don't own the land.)
Make a day of it! Set up your blanket, bring some books, balls or badminton rackets and have fun in nature. Read a story while your children are eating their lunch. Find and compare different leaves. Collect different stones or rocks (4) Give your kids a little history about the area you've chosen to picnic at.
Dreading a traffic jam? Make sure your kids get to bed on time the night before, and be ready to leave early and catch that sunrise!
2. Movie Marathon
Nope, not the kind where the kids get lost in YouTube or flick through various TV stations. Have each member of the family pick their favorite (age-appropriate) cartoon or movie, whip up a batch of popcorn and spend a few hours enjoying a home cinema.
Easy Homemade Popcorn
1/4 cup of popcorn kernels (all available at Aeon, Lucky Supermarket, Tai Hout, 1&1, Angkor Mart, Bayon, Chip Mong Express)
3 Tbs of oil
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a medium sized pot at low heat on the stove.
Add popcorn kernels and coat evenly in oil.
Keep stirring the kernels over low heat until on or two begin to burst
Cover the pot with a lid & lift it about 2 inches above the flame.
Gently shake the pot as the kernels continue to burst. Be sure to keep the pot away from direct heat.
Shake until you hear the last kernels pop. (About 5 minutes)
Remove the lid and pour into a bowl. You should have no kernels left.
Add a generous amount of salt (Bonus for using pink Himalayan salt!) and stir.
Voila! Your Home-Cinema experience has just been upgraded.
-- Recipe courtesy of Leah Soldner
3. Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Paper boats, of course. With just a few sheets of paper, toothpicks and a little ingenuity, you can make some fine sailboats for a family boat race contest. Fill up the tub, drop them in a blow up pool or in a pond if you have one, and see who's boat makes it to the finish line first! Bonus: Have each boatswain create their own flag for the race.
Click here for a simple step-by-step tutorial for boat models, or drop by my favorite DIY site (instructibles.com) to get fancy and create waxed, water proof boats.
4. Painted Rocks
Painting rocks or pebbles is a fantastic fine-motor skill activity suitable for all ages! You can turn simple painted rocks into paper weights and use them as a gift, create your own mini-monster toy set, use them as decor around the house and more. Bonus: each family member can paint a rock, give it a name and pass it to another family member to keep as their pet rock!
5. Collectors Corner
Did you collect antique or unique items as a kid? Dust off those collectable skills and put them to use creating a family collectible selection circa 2022! Old coins, stamps, costume jewelry, fabric, pressed flowers or leaves, buttons or even varied bottle caps all make great collectables. Hop over to Hobbies On a Budget for tips on how to get started on your first collection.
6. Lights, Camera...Action!
If your kids are miniature tech geniuses (And few children aren't, these days) put those skills to use by creating your own family film! Decide on a title and simple plot, then have each child film a short segment of the movie. Free editing programs like Stop Motion Studio, Inshot, VivaVideo or Vimeo help you easily stitch together your production with voice overs, clip art and sound effects. Next time you watch a movie, pop in your family feature film and enjoy a barrel of laughs at the impromptu show!
-- Leah Soldner