One of the many ways in which we can spend – and waste – money is on entertainment. There are constantly new movies coming out, restaurants we want to experience, and a bunch of other lovely things to do. Especially if you have young children who always want to go to theme parks and fairs where it feels that you have your wallet constantly being ripped out of your hand, those rides and elephant ears add up!
So how can we have some family fun on a budget?
Get Your Swimsuit Out– A classic favorite, the beach! Younger children are usually delighted and content to spend all their summer holidays playing in the sand. I can spend hours with my little one on the beach and no matter how long we have been there, she never wants to leave. If you don’t live near a beach, there will often be a free swimming pool that you can access. Even a paid pool may end up being cheaper (and healthier) in the long run than paying for an afternoon at the movies.
Kite Flying- You don’t see too many people kite flying nowadays, which is shame because children truly enjoy it. You can have your child make their own kite or buy one for as cheap as $1 at the dollar store. You will have a great afternoon and create some wonderful memories.
Paint Together- Pull out the brushes and canvas and have a paint night! The Paint-By-Number books tend to be inexpensive and even if you’re not a gifted artist, you can create something beautiful with your kiddos. I did this with my girls a couple days ago and we had such a great afternoon together!
Enjoy Your Backyard– A small sandpit in the backyard will keep children entertained for hours at a time, while an above ground swimming pool -even if it is tiny – will contribute to the fun. Invite a couple of friends over for a play date and encourage craft activities and play-acting – all these will stimulate your child’s creative side.
Explore Your Neighborhood– Children just love getting out of the house. Take your young ones with you as you explore the town. Visits to museums are often free and can be fascinating as well as informative. Just be sure to keep the children away from any kiosk or shop. These are usually priced much higher than your normal shop or ice-cream parlor.
Board Game– Board games are a cliche because they are great! I spent so many hours of my childhood playing board games and I know my girls love them too. There are age-appropriate games for all children, so don’t think your baby is too young to play and enjoy themselves.
Picnic– If you have a car, a drive into the mountains with a homemade picnic will be a cheap day out. You can see the tourist sites and take photos, then let the children create fun scrapbooks of their day. If you don’t live near mountains, you can always just go to a local park and enjoy the day. The only cost will be for gas.
Movie Night– When thinking in terms of movies, videos or DVDs are cheaper than going to the cinema. Renting a Redbox movie costs less than $2 most of the time and it is a great way to spend time with your loved one.
Video Game Night– Do you have a wii or any type of video game system? Pull it out and compete with your children in a video game tournament. Especially if you have an only child, they will love that they have someone to play with (even if it’s just their mom!)
Cooking/Baking– Children love doing adult-things. Get them involved in the kitchen and bake some delicious cookies. It’s a great way to engage with your child while also teaching them a new skill.