Thursday, August 23, 2012

5 Money Saving Family Fun Ideas

As the mom of an active toddler, we're always looking for fun things to do as a family, that won't break the bank.  Sure, costly family adventures are wonderful too, but even a trip to the local children's museum can end up costing us $18 for a small family.  Some weeks, that's just not in the budget.  So here are some ideas (most of them, my husband's) for fun things to do, that don't cost a lot, if anything.

1.Take a nature walk
Fall is right around the corner, and with it comes the perfect time to take the family outside and exploring.  Have your kids look at the trees, grass, dirt, everything and talk to them about it.  Have them bring a sketchbook and draw their favorites and write down any questions they want to look up about their findings.  When the walk is over, take them to the library and see what kinds of fun books they can find about the outdoors and possibly answer some of the questions they wrote down.  If you have a younger one, like I do, just tell them about what's around them.  My guy, nearly 2, has been pointing to everything and starting to ask (in his own way) about things and its amazing how much he remembers.  Let them touch things like bark, and explain the textures, smells etc.

2. Camp in your back yard
As the summer comes to an end, its a great time to pop the tent, make some smores and cook those hot dogs on an open fire.  In your own back yard.  Have your kids leave all electronics in the house, and pretend like you're actually camping.  This is a great way to teach your older kids some skills such as how to set up a tent and fire safety when camping. 

3. Have a picnic at the Airport
If you're near a small airport, you're kids could be lucky enough to have a picnic while watching the planes go by.  My little guy is obsessed with planes right now and I bet kids of all ages would think it was very cool to get to watch and hear the planes go by.  You may even get them to eat those veggies in exchange!  And I know I'm obsessed with libraries, but you could make a stop on the way and pick up a book about different types of planes and look them up as you see different kinds.

4. Check your local community events calendar
Usually posted in the local papers, at the library, and/or the town's chamber of commerce website, the community events calendar is the perfect place to start your search for a fun family day.  It's usually filled with free, or inexpensive activities run by local groups.  If they do cost money, typically its not much and goes to a good cause.  A great way to talk to your kids about giving back and the importance of getting involved within your community.

5. Make a healthy family friendly meal together
Get the whole family involved and come up with a meal to cook together.  Everyone can help with this one.  Let the kids tell you what they are in the mood for, find the recipe, get the groceries and put everyone to work.  Kids love to help cook!  For example, if you're family decides on homemade pizza, let your older child help spread the sauce, and your wee one can help put the toppings on.  If you have a really small one, give them some bowls and spoons and have them "cook" something up themselves. 

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