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6 Free (and Fun) Ideas for Family Activities

Sometimes keeping kids entertained is easier said than done. When you’re looking to bond with your family and have a great time together, expensive outings like vacations and trips to amusement parks may come to mind. However, these expensive trips aren’t necessary.

You don’t need to spend a Space Mountain-sized pile of cash to entertain the family. In some cases, you don’t need any money. Here are 6 easy ways to have free family fun this year:

Family Activity 1: Have a Game Night

If you want to have a fun night in the house, without spending money, try to have the occasional old school game night. Classic games like Monopoly, Candyland, Sorry! and Guess Who are extremely affordable when found at garage sales and thrift shops like Goodwill.

Pop some popcorn, bake something sweet and turn on Pandora as you split up into teams and begin game play. Enjoy the comforts of being at home. It will be a be a special bonding experience for your family.

[Tweet “Families who play together, stay together.”]

Family Activity 2: Go on a Nature Walk

Don’t let the summer season pass without going on a family nature walk. If you have any walking trails near your house, it would be a great idea to take advantage of them. Getting outside is great for everyone’s health – no matter the age. You can even get on bikes if you don’t feel like walking. Consider visiting a national or state park for more scenic views and some light hiking. State parks are usually free to enter, but the guided tours cost money so be mindful of that. Some state parks are huge. There’s so much to see. You could still have plenty of fun doing a self-guided tour. Consider taking along a library book about the park. Books often contain more information than any human guide could remember, anyway.

Family Activity 3: Check out Museum Free Days

Every city has museums that offer a few free admission days. Take advantage of these free admission days and plan a family outing. In my area, the art institute, aquarium, natural history museum, the children’s museum and the zoo all have free admission days. I try to make most of them. What’s important is to plan these money-saving days in advance. Consult your city’s Chamber of Commerce to find free event days.

Pack a lunch and head out early to beat the crowd when visiting your local museum on free admission day. Sometimes the lines can be longer than normal as more people will be visiting. But the key is to get out early and beat the rush. You can still have a great time, even with a few extra strangers around.

Family Activity 4: Have a Picnic at the Beach

Have any beaches near you? Man-made beaches often cost money to visit but natural beaches like the ones along lakes or the ocean are always free. The best part about these is they have long hours. A beach picnic can even turn into an all-day event. Pack a meal or two, bring your sunscreen and let you kids bring their buckets and shovels for a fun filled day at the beach.

When I visit the beach with my family, we always pack a cooler with drinks, sandwiches and snacks so we don’t have to purchase any of the expensive(!) food from the vendors. My son can play in sand for hours, so it’s always a relaxing outing that helps keep him entertained. I’d rather he dig in the sand than dig in my yard.

Family Activity 5: Visit the Library

The library is one of the best free resources in a community. It’s also a great free place to go hang out when it’s hot outside and you need to get cool. The library can be just as fun as a paid entertainment center would be for kids.

There are books and movies to rent. There are toys in the children’s area, computer games to play, story time events to attend and craft stations. Did I mention that all of this is free? It’s free. At your local library, you can always walk away without having to spend a dime.

Some libraries host events not just for kids, but ones that the whole family can enjoy. Grab a calendar from your local library and make sure you don’t miss any free events. Again, planning is important for taking advantage of free resources.

Family Activity 6: Go to the Fire Station

Your kids don’t have to wait for a school field trip to see a fire station! Visiting your neighborhood fire station tops the list of fun and free family activities. It can be a great learning experience for your kids and yourself as well. Give the fire station a call ahead of time and ask if you can have a brief tour of the station, look at the trucks and meet the firefighters. Sometimes fire stations offer group tours and other times you may get your very own private tour.

There are tons of free ways to enjoy family time!

What’s your favorite way to have free fun with your family?

Originally posted 2015-08-03 10:00:28.