No matter which sport or teams you're rooting for, going to the big game can mean big costs. Luckily, there are a few ways to go to the stadium without forfeiting your savings.
First, buying food at the game can quickly eat up your cash. Most concession items are overpriced, and believe it or not, some stadiums will actually let you bring your own food. Before you go, be sure to check your team's policy.
Next, if driving to the game is your only option, don't park your car at the stadium. Instead, use the ParkMe app to type in the name of your arena and you'll find a detailed map of all the cheaper parking lots in the area. By drafting a game plan, you'll get to the field without getting ripped off.
Finally, avoid the pricey merchandise from stadium stores at all costs. Chances are you can buy comparable jerseys and memorabilia online or from a local retail store at a fraction of the price.
Before you head to the big game, remember these tips. You'll see that with a little planning, you can score a home run at the game.
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"Sports" here is loosely defined, since it's probably not the best idea to let the kids play hockey or baseball in the house. Turn your rooms into a wacky Olympic obstacle course with games like balloon volleyball, bowling with rolled-up socks and soda bottles, and mini golf with cups as the targets. Offer several prizes so no one feels left out, like "most creative playing style" or "most enthusiastic athlete."
Dust off all those board games your kids neglect and create a several-day tournament. If they normally have their eyes glued to a smartphone or tablet, a physical game –- you know, with tangible pieces they can hold in their hands -- could be a novel change of pace. Alternately, stump your kids with games, puzzles and tricks that can keep them entertained for days. Check out game and puzzle books specifically geared towards keeping your kids amused.
We're talking more of a blanket mansion here. Let your kids have their way with your living room, rearranging furniture, pulling cushions onto the floor and draping everything with all the blankets and sheets you can muster up. Let them eat in the fort, read in the fort, even sleep in the fort as a living room "campout."
The actual talent show will take up maybe an hour of your kids' time, but preparing for the show could take hours if not days, depending on how involved they become. If there are dance routines to be created and rehearsed, costumes to be made, scripts to be written and memorized and programs to be created, they could entertain themselves for quite some time.
Just hop on Pinterest, and you'll find enough fun, cheap arts and crafts ideas to keep any kid -- of any age, --busy from now 'till the spring thaw. Some favorite winter-themed ones we recommend:
Marshmallow or cotton ball snowmen.
DIY snow globes.
Kill two birds with one stone by clearing out your closet and drawers and using what you find to create a dress-up kit for your kids. You get to streamline your wardrobe and accessories down to only the items you really wear on a regular basis, and your kids get some fun, free dress-up fodder to aid their imagination.
The right baking project can keep your kids busy for a whole afternoon. Think cutouts you can both bake and decorate, a make-your-own pizza project (with a contest at the end to judge whose is best), or Rice Krispie freestyle treats your kids can mold into any shapes they please.
All you need is some basic ingredients you've probably already got around the house, and you can create some neat science projects that will delight kids of ages. Some of our favorites (find instructions on Pinterest):
Make your own slime.
String some unseasoned popcorn on a piece of string or yarn to hang over the trees, bushes and railings in your backyard. Your kids won't just have fun making the feeders; they'll also enjoy watching the neighborhood critters visit them in the days following.
Your kids still need to get outside from time to time, so when the weather permits, try some fun ways to take playing in the snow up a notch. Obviously, you know the classics: Build a snowman. Create snow angels. Sled down the local hills. Build a snow cave or igloo. You can also tackle more creative snow games: create snow "spray paint" by filling spray bottles with water and food coloring. Make "snow ice cream" with evaporated milk, vanilla and sugar.