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Friday, April 11, 2014

How to Have Family Fun Without Breaking the Bank -- Part 2

As I promised last week, here are 5 (almost) free ways your family can have fun together.

6. Volunteer together.
Everyone needs to spend time giving back to the community. Working at a local service project or church work day is a great activity for families to do together. The three younger children and I volunteer 2-4 times a month at the food pantry. We've built some great relationships and upped our coefficient of appreciation for our own blessings. You can call local churches or the Chamber of Commerce to find volunteer opportunities in your area. 

7. Establish a family night.
Every Tuesday, we have
family night. Whatever we choose to do, family night is our weekly appointment to spend quality time together. 

Sometimes we play board games or do jigsaw puzzles. Other weeks, we do a service project at home, like unfolding and straightening plastic bags that have been donated to the food pantry. We might go on a hike or play tennis or softball at the school sports complex. 

A few months ago, Syd picked up two sets of golf clubs for $15 at Goodwill. He and the boys golf in the pasture, but when they want to be more serious, Syd found a small club where 5 people can play all day for only $10 for the group.  He has also set up some golfing contests (complete with prizes) at home for family night.

8. Visit your public library.
I'm on a first name basis with every staff member at our public library. It is just about my favorite place on earth. They have books, movies, audio-books, and even artwork that we can check out for free. They also offer tax preparation assistance, book clubs, workshops, and a summer reading program. The children and I try to make a weekly library visit, and Syd and I have been known to share some date nights there. 

9. Experience the great outdoors.
Texas has some of the best state park facilities in the nation. For only $70 a year you can purchase a state park pass which allows you to gain entrance for all of the people you can pack into your vehicle at any one of the 93 state parks or natural areas. We are within easy driving distance of a few parks, so we can easily get together a picnic lunch, throw in some fishing poles, and strap the canoe to the roof of the van for an afternoon or evening of fun. Most parks have hiking trails and natural areas, as well as fishing docks and picnic areas. Some even offer free classes with crafts. Several parks are located at historical sites and have interesting exhibits and tours. If you like camping, you can head to a campground or grab a tent and set it up in your backyard.

10. Work on projects together.
I don't know anyone who doesn't have a list of projects to do around the house. Building a playhouse from salvaged materials, gardening, painting the play structure (or the house, if you are really brave), or building a skateboard ramp are all projects that kids will want to work on with you. 

My children love to decorate for the holidays, especially Christmas. Once I let go of my need for perfection and allowed them to take the lead, I was amazed at the sense of pride and ownership they displayed. Whenever Syd works on the cars, he tries to involve the kids in learning how to repair and maintain a vehicle. When I cook and bake, I have plenty of willing stirrers and taste testers. Simple times of working side by side often are the sweetest times of being together. 

How about you? Have you found some great ways to have fun with your family? Please share them in the comment area after this post. I'd love to hear from you.

1 comment:

  1. We like going to the park and flying kites or going to the nearby school or our own back yard and kicking the soccer ball or playing football together. Walking the dog or riding bikes is always fun too. We like baking and cooking together, usually making something sweet or trying a new recipe for dinner. Also, we love making s'
    mores and sitting by the fire outside.