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Green Friday: fun, eco-friendly alternatives to spending money this Black Friday

Rather than plunge ourselves into the mayhem and general over-consumption that Black Friday has become, why not try your hand at some good old fashioned home-styled activities with the kids? They're nothing fancy or elaborate, but often simple is better, less is more! And these are activities that have stood the test of time for a reason: they're fun, they're inexpensive, you don't need a heap of materials, and they have positive developmental benefits. I'll outline one of our favourite activities here, and post links to a number of other great resources below.


1. My favourite playdough with an assortment of "play utensils" salvaged from the recycling

I love this playdough recipe. It is quick and easy to mix-up, doesn't require cooking (as some do), and doesn't leave your hands feeling like a dried out piece of seaweed after a few minutes of playing with it. It does however have two fairly unusual ingredients (for playdough) so you may have to plan in advance.

Playdough is the ideal low-cost STEAM activity for pre-schoolers, involving science, maths, technology, engineering, creative art and design exploration all in this one fun, simple activity.

Get your kids to help out with measuring and mixing for that hit of maths and science (and some downright practical life skills). You'll need:

2 cups cake flour

30ml alum powder (you can get this at the pharmacy)

125ml salt

75ml vaseline

350ml - 375 ml warm water (add this slowly, you may need even less)

Food colouring of choice

Whether using a mixer or mixing by hand (totally do-able) simply throw in all your ingredients and give it a good mix. If you are planning on making the dough just one colour, add your food colouring to the warm water before adding to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. This ensures quick, even colour distrubution and spares you from having to scrub your hands and nails for amonth of Sundays to remove the colouring. If you are planning on dividing the dough up (more maths: fractions) for different colours, then consider wearing gloves when kneading the colour in at the end. 


Have a rummage through your recycling bin for an assortment of items that can be used to decorate, cut, poke, and shape the playdough. And then (the best part) let the kids loose (this is where all the technology, engineering, creative arts, and design skills come into play)!! 



2. Family card game 

Spoons is an easy to learn game that is heaps of fun for the whole family and requires little more than a deck of cards and a bunch of spoons. 

3. Origami with any old paper scraps

Origami is a wonderful way to pass the time and has the added benefits of developing eye-hand coordination, sequencing skills, attentional skills, maths reasoning, spatial skills, memory, fine motor skills and concentration. It really does a pack an educational punch and all you need is some paper. Any old scrap of paper will do, as long at it is trimmed into a perfect square. 

Have a great weekend,



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