No-Cost and Low-Cost Family Activities

Debra Frick

No matter how we save money, every family needs fun things to do. Here are some suggestions on no cost/low cost things to do. In these times of rising fuel costs, you need to think about saving on your gasoline costs also. So I have tried to pick things that hopeful won't cost you a bunch of gasoline to get there. Why not explore alternative methods of transportation? Can you walk to do some of these things? Is there a local bus route that will get you there? Why not car pool with another family. With gasoline projections at $3.00 a gallon this summer, many of us will be looking for other things to do other than take the normal vacation.


Plan a family reunion picnic with people you consider family, if only by connection with your heart. Have everyone bring a covered dish and an outdoor game and make an afternoon of it. Cover the tables or a piece of plywood that can be leaned against a tree and have everyone sign it or draw a picture or tell a story. I promise it will become a family heirloom. Take lots of pictures and email them to everyone that was there.

Visit the attractions that are right there in your hometown, the places that the tourists visit. Most of the time, you can find coupons, either in your local paper or in some phone books, that will give you big discounts to take your family out for the day. Our zoo here offers half price admission on Father's Day and Mother's Day as long as the parents are accompanied by their child.

Have a picnic in the park, one that you have never been to. Take along the Frisbee and the dog or your baseball gear and have a ball game. Invite your kids' friends or just kids in the park to play with you and your children. Go to the next town if you have never been to their parks.

Look in your local paper for free admission to museums or exhibits. Some towns even have free concerts. Many cities have ethnic celebrations and street fairs for Founder's Day or Cinco De Mayo. Have fun and learn about a new culture.

Go fly a kite for the day. Instructions for building simple kites can be found on the internet and most dollar stores carry kites in the spring. Take along your supplies and build them right there on the picnic table at the park. You and your kids will have a blast.

One evening, move your TV and VCR out to the porch and have an outdoor movie party. Let the kiddos get out their sleeping bags and stock up on popcorn and movie snacks. You can relive your old drive-in memories and make some good old fashioned milk shakes and fountain treats.

Set up your tents in the backyard for a camp out. Barbeque some dogs and have fun telling ghost stories and urban legends. Best thing is you will always know where the bathroom is. Don't have camping gear, borrow some, but be sure to return it in clean condition.

Check out your local Park and Recreation Department and take a class with the kids. Most cities have park and recs that have classes in everything from exercise to crafts. One time, my girls and I took a class in hair braiding and it was only $5.00. It is important that we are examples to our children when it comes to learning. Check out the swimming pool admission while you are at it. Most local community swimming pools have very reasonable rates for swimming. Don't know how to swim? Most Park and Rec departments have swimming lessons very inexpensively.

Now this one is going to sound kind of funny, but the Home Depot offers classes for adults and kids during the summer and most of them are free. What better way for the whole family to learn to paint a room or wallpaper or lay a tile floor? Don't laugh, people every day pay huge sums of money for this to be done for them; when they could learn for free how to do it themselves. This will teach your kids to save money too.

Hope this gives all of you some great ideas for this summer.

About The Author: Debra Frick is a mother of 5 and a grandmother to 7 grandsons. She is a published author and poetress. Born in California, she now lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and many pets. Her hobbies include crocheting, reading, arts and crafts and bargain hunting.

April 13, 20070 found this helpful

Wow! These are some really great ideas! Thank you so much. :)

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May 2, 20160 found this helpful

There were nine of us kids growing up in the 50's-60's and 70's and our Mom and Dad always made it a point to take us on a picnic once a month. We also had our Sunday drives that were never missed. I remember all of us kids would hold up our fingers to the count of nine when the car next to us looked at our car wondering how many of us there were. We had dinner outside on the patio and after dinner us kids would put on a play for Mom, Dad, and the older kids. We also would make a day at one of the small streams nearby and always brought home Crawdads (Crayfish) but not to eat, we kept them as pets.

Children today are missing so much by not having this experience. Without it I wouldn't be who I am today and I have many wonderful memories that will last forever.

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April 13, 20070 found this helpful

in my town they have once or twice in the summer movie in the park. It's a huge inflatable screen and they show family friendly movies in the park. Also churches are also always putting things on for the comunity with games and bounce houses and even a prize drawing all for free. They even served hotdogs, chips, popsicals, and the like all free! We all had a lot of fun

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April 14, 20070 found this helpful

We have Regal Cinemas in this area and they have free kids movies on Tuesdays when school is out for the summer. Last year they had two different movies at two different times. They were usually second run movies that weren't available on DVD yet. As it is all for kids, it is a great option for preschoolers who aren't good about being quiet yet. Check with your local theater, especially if it is a Regal.


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