Car Games: Engage and connect with the kids versus resorting to electronics for the entire trip.
Crock Pot: It ended the “What the heck am I going to fix for dinner now that sports are over and everyone is starving” dilemma.
Backyard games like Cornhole. These can be more expensive but can be made cheaply with plywood and paint. We made bean bags as well. Made them during winter months and then played with family and friends (ongoing cornhole tournaments) during summer.
Craft projects. We made Ugly Doll pillows with fabric and felt. The kids cut and glued and sewed the faces. They are still in my den!
LYNDA HALLIGAN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR:
Though this parenting find under $25 isn’t something unique, as a parent I have found that I should never leave the house with a notebook and a pen. Yes, I know it’s old school, but when my son gets bored out and about, we play Hangman, he draws, I can tell him to write a journal entry or story, he can write down ideas, make lists, create, create, create. Put down the cell phone and tablets once in a while. Trust me, no matter the age, a Mead notebook from target will cost you a $1.02 (less with your REDcard!) and you can find a pen just about anywhere.