5 Fantastic Family Activities That Won't Break the Bank

7:02 PM

It seems like money is always tight for one reason or the other, so over the years I have developed cheap or even free activities that we can do as a family that won't break the bank, but still us to have plenty of giggles and fun! Feel free to use or modify any of the ideas below and add your family's favorite low cost fun activities in the comment section.

1. Build Your Own Fort or Fairytale Castle

In my house we build forts, but if you have a little girl, you can easily build the greatest fairytale castle with items in your house. We drap sheets and blankets from the top of the dining room table and fill our fort with plenty of pillows (aka ammunition.) Sometimes a line of matchbox cars serves as a moat around the fort and the invading monsters (aka siblings) get boinked in the head with flying pillows. My boys also love to place sheets over vents to create pop up icey hideouts in the summer and cozy playspots in the winter.

2. Have a Treasure Hunt

Get some use out of those Easter eggs all year long with a spontaneous treasure hunt. For older children, you can make a map they have to follow or provide clues that lead from one egg to the other. For younger kids, you can simply hide them as usual and set them loose. Create gift coupons with snacks, hugs and kisses given as prizes or place your spare pennies inside for an afternoon of fun. It doesn't have to be much, just enough to get them out of the house and having fun.

3. Have Fun With Nature

Fun and excitement is all around you if you know where to look. The boys like to go out in the yard and gather insects, plants and seeds that look interesting. We observe the insects and little animals and send them back to their habitat and look up the plants and animals online to find out cool new educational facts about them. You cane even print out some free coloring sheets of the items you find in order to extend the activity. One day, we found a slug, large grasshopper, several different butterflies and a velvet ant all in one afternoon.

4. Movie Night on the Cheap

If your family is anythign like mine, then going to the theater is a huge splurge. It can cost us over $100 with snacks to go to the movies. Instead, we use free codes we find online for Rebox and Blockbuster kiosk rentals and get a few movies for free. Add in some fresh popped popcorn, some koolaid and fruit rollups, and you have a movie night for less than $.50 per person.

5. Have a Field Day

If you have a lage family like ours this works well. If not, invite nephews and nieces or a few neighborhood kids over for a mini field day in the front yard. Sack races with pillow cases, three legged races with rubber bands and the 50 yard dash are just a few of the field day activities that you can do anywhere at anytime. Even if you end up making lunch for a few extra competitors, the lunch of champions (peanut butter and jelly with sliced apples) won't put you out that much.

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    1. My daughter likes to make a tent in the livingroom.

    2. These are all great tips that the kids will actually have fun doing! Great summer activities!

    3. I love movie nights at home - SOO much more cost effective. Even to buy them (if you know your kids will watch them again and again), is more affordable then going to the theater.

    4. We definitely do movie nights at home - it's not only cheaper, but WAY more comfortable. And then I can pause it to go to the bathroom without missing a thing!
      In our house, cheap fun is feeding the ducks. We use stale ends of our bread and spend an hour watching them swim. It's free (unless we stop for ice cream). We also go to the park for an afternoon. It's free and fun. Plus, at the end of the day, she's exhausted from running around and goes right to sleep.

    5. Oooh We love to feed the ducks and turtles too. The boys could spend forever there and at the playground lol.

    6. GREAT TIPS! We enjoy building forts too, I think that was my favorite thing to do as a kid :) I like the field day, just don't know if I can motivate our extended family to join in?! Its worth a try!!!

    7. We love our family movie night at home also. It is a big weekly event in our house. We have a 99 cent section at a rental place -- I didn't know about the ability to get codes and get them free-- I'll definitely have to check that out... thanks for sharing the great ideas!

    8. I'm loving the treasure hunt idea. When my youngest has a friend over, sometimes we'll do a version of this. For example, I'll say that they each have to find something green, round and soft and they can't be the same thing - first one who finds it gets a prize or something. They really enjoy it!

    9. Love hearing everyone elses ideas too. Definitely keep an eye on my Friday freebies, I usually have some free redbox and blockbuster codes in there.

    10. These are all such great ideas! We have 6 kids between us so it's not always easy finding a cheap, fun activity that we can all have fun doing...my kids would love some of your ideas!



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