Soda, treats, hot dogs, motorcycles and any other crazy thing you can think of.
My kids always come home exhausted, full of sugar, beat up from all the fun, sunburned and completely thrilled with the memories they made and the adventure they had.
This past Saturday my kids got to have one of these exciting outings with Grandpa. My Dad built a sled out of plywood, added an old toilet to the top and then pulled the kids around the desert. They of course thought it was an ingenious invention and loved every minute of it.
They also rode on the sled standing up, a little dirt surfing if you will.
This is the kind of fun that I learned to have growing up. We didn't take many vacations, we didn't go out to the movies or to restaurants more than one or two times in my whole childhood we had to invent fun. We rigged up hoses to everything you can imagine to keep cool in the summer, we built contraptions, made mud pies in the gutters, used aloe vera plants as "money" and "medicine" and figs straight off the tree for "potions" and "cooking shows". We played outside, climbed trees and turned plastic wadding pools, lawn sprinklers and construction tarps into back yard water parks. The irrigation ditch was our ocean. My brothers have built all kinds of things from scraps all in the name of adventure and cheap fun. My Dad is the king of this kind of entertainment. There is this legendary story about when he and his 5 brothers built a "roller coaster" out of orange crates and ropes in their back yard tree and then sent their baby brother down it first. What happened next is what my kids would now call an "epic fail."
And if you ask me, playing that way, with nothing but what you can scrap up in the yard is a dying skill. Kids shouldn't have to pay for fun, they should invent fun.