Five ways to keep grandkids busy on the cheap by Mercedes Cardona

1. Borrow a stack of DVDs from the local library. You'll have enough movies to keep the grandchildren entertained for hours without spending a dime.

2. Set up a playroom with used toys bought from the local Goodwill or The Salvation Army store. (Take a few minutes to scrub the toys; a spritz of disinfectant doesn't hurt either.) Afterward, donate them back to a charity and get a receipt; you can claim the donation as a tax deduction.

3. Play a white-elephant game, says Karen Hoxmeier of Each person brings an inexpensive, fun, wrapped gift. Then, everyone draws a number and takes turns choosing one present from the pile. Players can open a gift or "steal" someone else's and that player gets another turn. This goes on until everyone has a present. If you suspect that your grandkids may fight, skip the stealing part of the game.

4. Get together for a gift-making party. The experts at The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association ( suggest picking up inexpensive craft kits at your local toy or crafts store.

5. Plan a scavenger hunt. Hide toys from the dollar store around the house, write out a clue sheet, and let the grandkids hunt for toy treasures. It will keep the little ones busy and get double-duty out of the presents that you were going to buy anyway!