What's an affordable and fun family activity?
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Family times are always fun times but it’s even better when doing fun activities together. Some of the most affordable family activities can be ones that you do at or around your home. It could be Family fun Friday (this is what we do). On Fridays when everyone is home from work and school, we give each other our undivided attention. No cellphones or computers..Just us! We play video games together, cook together and watch movies. This is all done in our pajamas so when we fall asleep, we are already ready.
Other affordable activities could be spending the day at the park or the beach. Catching a matinee movies or visiting your local museum
I'm sorry to say that in these financial times affordable for my family means free. Lucky for us, our local libraries offer all kinds of wonderful free activities. A week rarely goes by when we don't take advantage of a free library activity. We are regulars at Family Storytime and we have also enjoyed wonderful performances by clowns, puppeteers, and Chinese martial arts dancers. Support your libraries, they are a vital force for learning, interaction, and growth in our communities!
Well anything outside is great fun but the best and most affordable thing as a family we do is make Forts out of flat sheets through out our house. Each child gets there own and sometimes we even move furniture around to make it more like a maze. We have to complete the entire Fort by adding capes to everyone and pretending we are knights and princesses. Total fun! Even Daddy gets involved!
Going for a nature walk is a fun activity to do, it makes parents slow down and take the time to look at the world through a child's eye. Notice the spring flowers, the different shaped rocks, the colors in a bird feather. Pack a picnic and take a bucket or fill up a little pocket with treasures, that can be brought home and made into new things. Turn sticks into fishing rods, press flowers into gifts, paint pictures or funny faces on rocks. Paint a picture about your walk and what you found or just collect all your treasures in a mason jar that can become a talking point about what they saw and learnt that day.
Bowling! It sounds awfully geeky, but we have yet to go bowling without everyone collapsing into laughter. And it's so much cheaper than a dinner out, a night at the movies, or a trip to a theme park. Bringing an extra kid or two doesn't cost much, either.
Our family also loves board games. We started with Candyland with the kids were little, but quickly (and thankfully) graduated to better ones as they got older. And the games today are so much better than Battleship or Sorry or Life like when we were young. We play Ticket to Ride, or Carcassone, or Settlers of Catan. And when we have people over for dinner, no matter the age, they love being part of our family game ritual!
Our favorite family outing is a day at the dog park. Anywhere I can carry our 7 month old little lady in a carrier, get some exercise for us and our two pups, some fresh air, and it doesn't cost us more then a little gas we are good to go. We are very lucky to have a very nice enclosed dog park very close to where we live so we can go anytime we like.
Affordable and fun is easy for our family as we look for every opportunity to get outdoors. We bicycle together, swim, skate and toboggan together. When weather isn't conducive we love board games! Our recent favourites are the Cranium family edition games. We also enjoy reading together. There.is always a chapter book on the go that we pick up and put down at whim. :)
What's an affordable and fun family activity?? My answer would be anything outdoors, weather permitting. There are so many wonderful things to do outdoors with the family. Go to the garden center in your location and buy some plants and seeds. Showing the kids how to plant a garden, no matter how small, is a great lesson for them to learn plus it's Free with the exception of the cost of seeds or plants. They'll enjoy watching as they bud and grow.
Another fun activity is heading out to the local and state parks. There are tons of play equipment and places to picnic. Some state parks offer horseback riding, swimming pools, hiking, and even some have small recreational shops. Although not free, it's still an affordable option.
If you're looking for an absolutely FREE option, head to the backyard. Nothing is more fun than wresting in the yard, playing ball, and having a nice bonfire come evening. That's OUR favorite thing to do. Add some hotdogs and marshmallows and you've even got supper covered for cheap!
We love to go to the beach or for a drive to the bush/country for a picnic. We all have to eat so why not pack up your normal lunch & have it by the beach, a river or even just at a park. Remember to take your camera & put the kids in some nice clothes & just keep snapping away with the camera. You will never need to pay for professional photo's again because your kids will be having so much fun that they will be happy & have massive smiles in most of the photo's. If you go to the beach, go for a walk & collect shells to put in a jar or use for craft. If you go to the bush, collect some long sticks to put in a vase. Pinecones can be collected & taken home for the kids to paint on a rainy day.
When my children were small, we didn't have a lot of dollars. An activity we all loved as a family was to grab some sausages ,sauce and a loaf of bread and head to the local park.When we lived near the beach it was even better.Sometimes we bought chips and gravy. We've been lucky, where we've lived there's always been a decent park/playgorund with catering to various ages. We've been to parks big enough they could take their bikes or rollerblades and the little one played on the swings while the bigger ones rode.We have done this in all weathers and the kids would get up on a Sunday and ask could we go for a drive today.
When all 3 of my children wanted to do a sport at once, I chose bowling. It was an affordable team sport, they were in different teams but on the same day and they had a lot of fun.
When I had 3 kids under 4, and it was awful weather for playing, but we wanted to get out of the house, but had no dollars, I would take them to the library. sometimes there would be a story teller, most times not, but they enjoyed choosing their own books and spending time in the kids reading corner.
One of my family's favorite activities are our neighborhood scavenger hunts. Armed a list of things to find (something red, the letter S, a tricycle, a white dog, something round) and a pencil, we cruise the neighborhood on foot or on bikes and find as many items as we can. The person who "collects" the most items gets to pick our post-scavenger hunt treat--usually an ice cream cone or a popsicle from the ice cream truck. Fun, affordable, and as long as Mom and Dad keep those lists creative, never boring!
Saige is BIG into baking so some afternoons I google kid-friendly muffin or loaf or granola bar recipes and we let our inner Betty Crockers shine. It's super fun and tasty, but clean up can be a bit of a drag.
One of our favorite things to do as a family is to head out on Saturday morning to our local farmer's market. Finding locally grown vegetables and fruits is fun for us all and it's a chance to get our little guy interested in the food we eat. We enjoy the fresh air and meeting people we know while we're out. Afterwards we always head to our local coffee shop for a grilled cheese or hummus wrap. It makes for a great day!
Outdoor festivals are one thing my family loves and looks forward to in our small town. It gives us a chance to be together, be outside in the wonderful sunshine, and catch up with old friends who have moved away but come back for the occasion. There is always lots to see and do and almost every children's activity is free. Our son loves it and it's good, affordable fun for all of us.
Family hikes on Saturdays are our absolute favorite. My boys and our lab, love jetting up the trail and exploring nature. We always challenge the kids to find something unique, like a beautiful leaf, to keep as a souvenir or… to search for a giant stick to use as a pretend sword. My husband and I like to watch their little imaginations run wild as we tag along behind them. It also gives us a chance to talk and catch-up.
We do "Family Olympics" - Just like the real ones, we have Winter and Summer Games!
We divide into teams, make silly names, and make cool medals for the winners. Then, over the course of a week, we have our championships. Each night, we add our scores to a big poster that we make, that hangs in the kitchen. We like to give lots of rewards - so we make a big bucket of little goodies bags with prizes. Some are slips of paper that say things like - "Your choice of TV show tonight," and others are dollar store toys, $1 bills, or candy. You can reward the nights winner, the team that's in the lead, etc.
We're gearing up to start our Summer Games soon - here are a few of the challenges that we'll be competing in:
Hula Hooping - how long can you go?
How many baskets can you shoot in a row?
Backyard mini golf - add your scores.
Bicycle Obstacle course - who is fastest?
Relay races - timed.
Egg races - timed.
You can use just about any outdoor activity your family enjoys as a challenge. What's awesome is that it gets kids SUPER excited to get outside and play each night. After a week of it, they'll usually stick with it pretty good though the rest of the summer too :)
Baking. Ever since our girlies were able to hold a measuring cup, they've been helping my husband and I bake. Dumping the ingredients into the bowl all by themselves, gave them such a feeling of importance and accomplishment. Now that they're 2.5 and 5, if my husband and I even touch a mixing bowl, they race into the kitchen, push their chairs against the counter and want to help. When I watch them pressing out cookies or licking the beaters, I realize we will need a bigger counter when our youngest (4 months old) starts to walk!
When it's cold out out or rainy, we like to bake. Baking our own bread and treats is cheaper than buying pre-made and its a fun activity as well as a great learning experience with measurements and even the "science" of baking.
When I was a kid (you know you're a parent when you pull out THAT phrase), I remember leaving the house every morning after breakfast to go and visit “nanna and grandpa” two doors up. So did a lot of the local neighbourhood kids. We all congregated there to set up bike races, handball games and hide 'n seek. It wasn't until I was much older that I found out they were not related to us in any way at all. They were just kindly neighbours who were raised according to the “it takes a village to raise a child” mantra. My parents didn't need to organise too many activities for us - we made our own fun with our neighbours and I cherish those memories.
Today suburbia sings to a different songsheet. Children are supervised more closely. People work longer hours and are not home as often. Extra-curricular activities chew into any time left over. As a result, neighbours are often strangers.
So one affordable and fun family activity that I can suggest involves getting the kids together to help make something simple, like a muesli slice, then wrapping it up creatively into little gift packs. Even just cellophane and ribbon. That's a fun family activity in itself! Then go and visit a few neighbours that you may know well enough to wave hello too but have never really talked to. Hand over the slice as a little icebreaker and introduce yourself properly.
In my experience this simple activity has lead to the organisation of playdates, street parties, emergency babysitters, new friends for the children and even the otherwise innocuous discovery that one of our neighbours is a plumber – which came in very handy one day when one of our outdoor pipes exploded!
Note: when making the slice make sure you place a little note inside the package with the slice ingredients (for allergy purposes) as well as the first names of your family and a contact phone number if you like.
Our family love the outdoors so we try to take advantage of it when allowed. Whether this means cycling together to the local park and back, or simply playing football or basketball at home in the backyard. Getting out in the fresh air really helps to lighten any stress, and the movement helps you loosen your muscles. When it is cold we love to head to the hills and enjoy the snow, when it is hot we take advantage of our great beaches. When we feel like hanging around the house we all like to potter in the garden, or teach our dog new tricks. The key is to do things together, whether they are an interest you already have or trying something new. Talking about your days activities should also be included, don't just assume everyone enjoyed themselves, get their opinions.
Nothing, and I mean this as a mum-chick who is hardly a sun worshipper of the Elle Macpherson variety, beats a day at the beach. The sunshine and fesh air are free, and the smiles and laughte are thrown in as a bonus. We're so lucky to live in this unbelievably beautiful country that graces us with this amazing source of free family entertainment for at least 6 months of the year!
Parks! We spend a lot of time at local parks - from hiking at bigger county parks to small, neighborhood parks with enough room to kick around a soccer ball, play catch, or try out a different playground. It's easy, generally free (some state or county parks have a parking fee), and gets us outdoors, which boosts our moods and burns off wild kid energy.
We love to go geocaching. It's a great way to get outdoors. It's afun way to get some exercise and there's a sense of mystery too!
There are tons of free cultural activities for families, including free museum entrances often once a month, and the first weekend of many museums free for Bank of America holders. Lowe's and Home Depot offer free monthly workshops for kids to make something, with parents attending. The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra presents free "first concerts" for kids, introducing kids (and parents) to different types of music. Stern Grove in San Francisco has amazing free concerts in a beautiful setting. And of course there are many street festivals and cultural festivals year round in the Bay Area. Sunday Streets is starting up soon, offering a free place to ride bikes, walk and be outside without car traffic, in various San Francisco locales.
Local libraries and parks are always the best option. But here in Toronto, there are also many free cultural events around the city that are great for the whole family. The museums also usually have a time/day of the week when there is no entrance fee. My husband and I also look for good group coupon deals on family venues and activities.
The local LIBRARY!! Not only is it totally FREE, but they quite often have holiday programs and childrens program to keep the kids amused. Lots for Mums and Dads too!
Lots of the big chain stores like Home Depot, Lowe's and others have free family activities on weekends. Some other good places to check are your local library or state/municipal park.
I can take my family to the Atlanta Braves games for $18 total--and that's great for six of us, considering that $12 of that $18 is for premium parking! How do we do it?? We arrive early, about 2 hours before a game. We buy $1 tickets and sit way up high. For the most part, the seats are bigger, you have more arm room, and you're never stuck right up against people and in each other's space!! We take our own snacks and a meal. We catch batting practice (and sometimes get autographs and balls from the players) and we're always looking for great giveaways. Last season we got 2 meals on the next day for FREE locally because of a partnership between the Braves and that restaurant chain. It's a ton of fun on the cheap! Don't be intimidated by thinking a family can't go to a sporting event like this without sacrificing a week's pay--you can do it affordably! And it's a blast!!
There are plenty of homemade crafts that are great fun and an easy way to get your kiddos involved. One of my family favorites is making a colored rice box. Rice is very inexpensive compared to sand. We make all sorts of colors and keep our homemade ricebox in a large rubbermaid so we can play with it anytime of the year or even take it with us Grandma's house! Great for those winter blues!
How to make colored rice:
In a ziploc bag mix 1 1/2 cup of Rice, 2 tbsp. of Rubbing Alcohol & about 20 drops of food coloring (more if you want a more vibrant color).
zip the bag and let your kids squish the bag until all the rice is coated with the food coloring. Allow the rice to dry, pour into a container of choice and let the fun begin.
We like to hid little treasures in the ricebox so my daughter can dig for the hidden treasures!
Almost anything that involves getting outside and into nature! At the moment, we love going on bike rides - either to and from the beach, around our neighborhood or at a local park. Sometimes we bring along a picnic - making for a nearly free few hours of family fun.
I think going to your local National Park is a great idea for a family. This is very affordable because most of the parks that are considered National, have free admission!
Your children are usually greatly entertained with all of the information, and at the same time they are learning something.
For the parks that do not have Free Admission, be sure and check out the link below that provides you with special days where ALL of the parks have free admission. This includes Yosemite, etc.
We love to go to the beach. If we pack a picnic lunch, it's very affordable - we're just paying for parking at the lot that's closest to the sand. We all love the beach and can spend most of the day there. Very affordable family time.