Making Memories:Fun Family Outings from Cheap to Free

When money is an issue....

If finances are forcing you to cut back, or you don't have extra money to begin with, quality time with your family is vital and new experiences can be growth inspiring and educational. Try some of these economic friendly suggestions to strengthen your family without weakening your wallet.

What are the local schools up to?

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Do a little research.

It might take an hour or so of research, but most people can find fun and affordable things to do in their town. Here are some examples:

1. Some museums are free or donation only. Are there any in your town?

2. Are there any local public nature preserves? Indian reservations? Historic sites? You may be surprised at what you find.

3. What are the local schools up to? Attend a high school ball game or a Junior High musical.

4. What local volunteer opportunities are available? Work builds character. Volunteering builds self esteem and fulfills the need to belong and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. There are numerous opportunities for people of all ages with almost any interest. Your family can Walk for Autism or the March of Dimes. Animal lovers can volunteer at shelters and refuges. Beaches need cleaning, homes need building, the poor need to be fed, hospitals need volunteers, schools need supplies, children need mentors, etc.

Many people don't realize all their community has to offer. It helps to do a little research.


Where is your local swimming hole?

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If you aren't a fan of research....go out and find something.

Hopping in the car, on a bike, or putting on walking shoes often works better for some people. Don't let an aversion to research stop you from quality time with your family. Here are more ideas.

1. Explore your local parks and playgrounds. Utilize the services. Some parks loan sporting equipment. Many state parks offer camping and hiking. Some parks offer free movie night or outdoor concerts. Watch a little league game.

2. Picnic in a field. Bring a kite, frisbee, football, lunch. Listen to music. Play a harmonica. Play tag with the kids.

3. Take your kids to Sunday school, church, and church socials.

4. Visit your local beach, lake or swimming hole. Swim, boat, fish, picnic.

5. If it's winter time and you live up north, go sledding, shoe skating, body boarding, tubing, etc.

6. Take a drive and see something new.

Even the littlest children will usually enjoy these activities. But what if you only have one young child or all your children are still quite young?


Plan a firehouse tour.

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Things to do with the youngest children.

Your baby may not have much interest in the world outside of the immediate family, but, once children are ready to explore their world during toddlerhood and the preschool years, they are ready for new adventures. Even school aged children will probably enjoy these trips.

1. Visit the library. Go at storytime.

2. Join a workshop at Lowes or Home Depot. Although geared more for school aged children, most toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy watching and may even be able to get their hands dirty.

3. Join an arts and crafts workshop at Michaels or AC Moore. Most are developed for school age children, but some may be geared for smaller children or allow them to participate to some extent. Employees can also advise on activities appropriate for your child's age. With close supervision, even pre-schoolers and some toddlers can create finger paints and string large beads.

4. Visit the local fire department. Some offer free tours.

No matter what your child's age, we all learn through life experiences and trying new things, and being a part of it will promote positive family relationships.


The importance of family time.

Whether you are a single parent, suffering from economic difficulties, and/or concerned about the affects of society on your little ones and your family, it's never too late to have a good relationship with your kids, spouse, significant other, or even aging parents. Set stress aside and build a solid foundation that will influence your family for the rest of your lives.

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