Finding it hard to find affordable family fun? For many financially struggling families, spending quality time together seems more and more difficult, especially as the kids get older. So it’s important not only to do so whenever you can, but to use that time to interact and have fun with one another. Sharing stories, asking questions, laughing, discovering new activities and doing them together, can create wonderful memories and enrich your family’s bond. And none of these experiences has to cost a thing. Here are some of our favorite ideas for low- or no-cost family fun.
FAMILY GAME NIGHT
What better way to spend a rainy Saturday than sitting around the table, sipping hot chocolate, and playing a board game with the whole family? Monopoly, for example, can provide hours of entertainment and family interaction, and teach valuable lessons along the way. Not your thing? Teach the kids how to play cards instead. Don’t like sitting around? Break out Twister. The point is, insist that everybody take a break from the electronics. Playing games is an easy and excellent way to spend quality time interacting with each other. Many games have educational components and can build self-esteem as well.
BUILD IT WITH LEGO
If you are fortunate enough to live near a LEGO store, take advantage of the LEGO Store Monthly Mini Model Build. One day each month, children ages 6 to 14, can learn how to build a cool and unique LEGO mini model, and then take it home. The model changes every month and is usually themed to an event happening during that month. For example, October’s model was a black cat for Halloween. Check with your local LEGO Store for dates and times.
HOME DEPOT KIDS’ WORKSHOPS
Every first Saturday of the month, from 9am to 12pm, The Home Depot holds a hands-on workshop for kids. Birdhouses, picture frames, toy trucks, workshop organizers, and napkin holders are just some of the projects kids can build and take home. This is a great way for your kids to learn to build something with their own hands, and some self-confidence to boot. In addition, they’ll get to keep their workshop apron and bring home a certificate of achievement.
Read Related: Save $200 a Month on Fun Family Entertainment
If you’re a Disney Rewards Member, your kids can get a free personalized phone call from their favorite Disney character. If aren’t already a member, you can sign up here and enter the code: ENCHANTEDCALL. You’ll immediately be given a unique code to use during the checkout process. You can schedule the call for any time in the future or have it delivered immediately. You can even have the call customized to mention a concern your child may be experiencing; for example, anxiety in response to an upcoming exam at school. It’s fun, it’s cute, and the call is over quickly, so have everyone ready and paying attention.
At home around the fireplace, or all snuggled up on the couch, everyone quietly reading a book. Just imagine the soothing silence. The benefits of reading are endless. So why not make this a recurring event? Perhaps every Sunday night, as a lead-in to bedtime. Each member of the family could take turns reading aloud from the same book. Or one person could host the event by picking a book of his or her choice, and reading aloud to everyone. Spice it up by making some snacks ahead of time. Even better, enlist help in making the snacks. You can even mix it up by going on field trips to the library and bookstores.
TAKE IN A GAME
You don’t have to pay big bucks to watch a live sporting event. Nor do your children need to be on the team. Support your community and have fun as a family by attending and rooting for your local high school team. Make it extra fun by dressing the entire family in your team’s colors, face paint and all!
MAKE DINNER TOGETHER
If your kids are old enough, this can be a challenge, but so much fun. Decide together a theme for dinner. Then assign a course to each family member, from hors d’oeuvres to dessert. For example, if your theme is Italian, Dad can prepare the salad, Mom gets the lasagna, one child makes the garlic bread, and the other makes cookies. Teamwork!
Remember that old adage, the family that plays together, stays together? It’s still true, and these great family activities can help teach your kids how much fun they can have without spending a time.