Planning family fun when on a budget can be a little challenging, especially if finances are tight and you don’t have a lot to spend on recreational activities. Yet, on the same token, family time together is an important bonding activity and, like most, parents, you don’t want your kids to miss out on the fun.
The good news is there are many ways you can stay within your budget and have family fun days out. There are many activities that are free, or at least, low cost.
Many state, federal, and local parks are free. Depending on the age of your kids and type of activities you’re looking to do, there are lots of options in various parks. Some contain playgrounds, swimming areas, biking trails, fishing, hiking and/or other outdoor activities. As an added side benefit the family gets both fresh air and exercise. Pack a picnic lunch, and head out to a local park. If a day trip is within your budget, as a variation, perhaps travel to parks that are not local, but within an hour or two range, for a change of scenery.
Depending on the region where you live, many museums are free or low cost. Oftentimes there are even small local history or art museums right in your backyard. Museums are a great way to spend a few hours to a day and learn something new as a family.
3. Family Craft Day
If the kids love arts and crafts, and many do, this is another low-cost option, Often stores such as Michaels or AC Moore, offer sales on craft items; when these sales are on, stock up on craft items for various projects and store them in a box. When it comes time for family fun day, pull out an activity and plan a craft day. For added fun, when doing the shopping, bring the kids along with and let them pick what activities they’d like to do on craft day.
5. Family Bake Day
Spending the day at home with the family is another day which can be both low in expense and a lot of fun. One way to do this is to plan a family bake day. Kids can explore the kitchen, make tasty meals or treats, and have a hands-on learning experience in the process.
Bringing the family together in the kitchen is a good way to spend the day. Turn off the TV, computer, smartphones, and video games and enjoy a few hours of family togetherness. No doubt the kids will enjoy eating their creations when the cooking is over.
6. Local Recreation
Many communities have skating rinks, biking trails, or bowling alleys; all good family fun activities. Often during weekends if you go early there may be early bird discounts or family fun packages which can bring down the costs of these types of outings. Also, while movie theatres are expensive these days, many low cost theatres have cropped up meaning they show movies a few months old, but at a fraction of the original costs to see the movie at release. Or if you catch the matinee, these often are pretty cheap too. There is a theatre here in Virginia that charges about $5 for the early show.
7. Check your Mailings
Often in newspapers, magazines and other mailings you can find good specials, especially for regional attractions. In these circulars may be “two for one” or percent off coupons to use for theme parks, private museums and other local attractions which may have a nominal fee. Think ice skating rinks, bowling and/or other local activities the whole family will enjoy.
Family fun days out do not have to be cut out of a budget. Even if finances need to be carefully monitored there are many great ways to enjoy the day with the kids either for free, or at low cost.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.