The kids say…
“I want to go to the movie! Bowling! Go get ice cream! I want to go swimming!”
Mom and dad think…
“I wish I had a million dollars to do all these things!”
But, the truth is, most of us don’t.
The budget line of ‘entertainment’ can sometimes become soaked into a necessity. Doing fun things together is something that should be a necessity, but doesn’t seem as high on the list as say food or a warm house.
Instead of focusing on the fun things to do that stress out mom and dad because of the cost, here are 10 ideas for cheap family entertainment!
Utilize The Local Parks
Discover the different parks in your area. 1.2 billion people play videos games, reports VentureBeat. Shake things up and go to the park! Don’t go to the same park; choose a different park each time. If you have older children who won’t enjoy playing on the toys, come up with ideas to do as a family.
- Play kickball or another sport
- Fly a kite. Kites can be purchased at the dollar store. You can have competitions to see who can get theirs up fastest, highest or keep it up the longest.
- Throw a Frisbee or find a park that offers Frisbee golf. This can be a great way to get exercise and include the family pets if you would like.
- Play tag or hide and seek on the toys.
Rent Movies From Your Library
A ticket to a movie theater is now around $8 per person. That doesn’t include the popcorn and treats. ABC News reports that a tub of popcorn cost a theater around $0.92 to make. They charge you around $8. That is a 700 percent mark up!
Instead of going to the theater to watch a movie, rent a movie from the local library. Most libraries allow you to check out movies for free. If there is a charge to rent, it is usually around $1 for one week.
Plus, you won’t have to sit in the theater seats. ABC News also tested the seats for cleanliness. There isn’t a regulation for how often the seats have to be cleaned. Samples taken from a seat in New York showed bacteria usually found in human feces, soil, cattle and yeast.
Avoid the mark up and the bacteria and enjoy a movie at home!
Hike In The Mountains
Get to know the different trails around your home and explore them. Find hikes that are suitable for your family, depending on age and physical abilities. Research has shown that hiking not only helps you physically, but helps those struggling with depression and hopelessness. Pack a lunch or snack, enjoy the outdoors and make it an adventure.
Explore Different Businesses In Your Neighborhood
Look into whether different businesses allow for guided tours. Include other families in your neighborhood and discover how the grocery store functions or the post office. Be creative and experience a different side of the businesses you regularly visit.
Have A Scavenger Hunt Around Town
Divide your family into teams and make a scavenger hunt that takes your family around town. You could drive around town, or simply run around your neighborhood. For example, get a straw from the local gas station, ask a neighbor for a paper clip, or take a picture with a dog, etc.
The tasks don’t have to be hard, or cost anything. Be creative and make sure it works for your family. Meet up at the end and share the pictures, or different experiences the teams had.
Make Homemade Ice Cream Or Other Treats
Spend the night learning making homemade ice cream or other delicious treats. Not only will you get to enjoy the treats, but you will be teaching your family how to cook.
Take Advantage Of The Seasons
Depending on where you live, the adventures can change based on the season.
- Summer- get out into nature, camp on your lawn, play in the sprinklers, have a BBQ with friends.
- Fall – build leaf houses, jump in the leaves, carve pumpkins, visit a haunted house or pumpkin patch.
- Winter- have a snowman building contest or snowball fight. Color the snow with food coloring, and then enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate.
- Spring – Make planting flowers or a garden or cleaning up the yard a family activity. The best predictor of success of young adults is if they participated in work around the home.
Do Something Physically Active
According to the CDC children should be getting 60 minutes of physical activity at least 3 times a week. Ride bikes as a family or play different games in the yard. Train as a family and participate in a race. Look into when family night is at local recreation centers or swimming pool. This could allow your family to enjoy the different activities for less of the cost.
Investigate The Local Artistic Performances Or Shows
Don’t forget about the art programs offered in the community. Walk through an art show; enjoy concerts in the park, or even movies in the park. See what festivals or events are part of your community and take the opportunity to visit them.
Make Dinner A Game
Set a specific amount you cannot spend above and see what your family comes up with. Have it be a competition if you have older children to see who or which team can come up with the best meal on only $5.
Another idea would be to have an Iron Chef competition. Have a secret ingredient and see what your family can come up with. Simple ideas become a fun way to eat dinner without spending a large amount of money at a restaurant.
When it comes to family fun nights, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. The traditional ideas can be fun, every once in a while, but memories will be made in the spontaneous adventures as well.