Free Family Fun

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Summer is here and with it comes the ever-present I'm bored. The best way to conquer this is to set up family excursions and activities, but that only adds an additional summertime problemcost. Instead, pepper the summer (or any time of the year) with free family activities that are enjoyable for all.

Family Olympic Day.

Schedule a family Olympic day in the park or at home. Brainstorm a list of activities such as pillowcase races, tug-of-war, and a soccer game. Then, have the family make ribbons for each event. On the day of the Olympics, hold an opening ceremony and let the games begin! Other variations could be a family craft fair with judging of the crafts, a pet show which includes the family pets and their antics, or a family talent show and a video camera.

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Take a Nature Hike.

With the help of books or the internet, create a checklist of flora and fauna that live in the area. Then, take a family nature walk looking for the items on the checklist. Keep a field journal of the day and encourage everyone to follow up on what was learned that day.

Explore the Library.

Not only is a family trip to the library a great way to spend time together, but taking part in the library's activities is also a great way to add fun to the trip. Most libraries offer a summer reading program; now get the entire family involved. The children can take part in the programs while the adults volunteer to help.

Just Exercise!

What's better than a family bike ride in the park? A family walk, maybe? Whatever the answer, get out there and exercise together. Walk around the block after dinner to lengthen the table talk or don roller blades and skate to the ice cream parlor. Instead of exercising to a video or on the treadmill alone, have the entire family join in and create a fun new routine.

Explore Local History.

No one ever said you had to pay admission to see the town's oldest building. There are many stops that can be made for free; some museums and heritage centers offer free admission. In some areas covered bridge tours are self-guided with the help of a map. Historic blocks can become walking tours. Learn a little about where you live as a family.

Help Others.

Volunteer as a family to help at animal shelters, community centers, park programs, the local library, or even in the hospital. Choose an organization which is interesting to the entire family or take turns helping at a variety of places. You may learn something new about yourself.

The Tried and True.

Last but not least schedule a family game night. Like the family diner table, family game night is a memorable activity that promotes family togetherness and good character development. Take turns choosing games or stick to the family favorite; whatever you choose it will be a great night.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at Englishteach@rcn.com or visit her website at http://users.rcn.com/wesavedamutt/Writer

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August 19, 20060 found this helpful

In light of the dangerous times in which we are experiencing, this season and perhaps all year, I have declared to throw all of my efforts into using my VERY few gas dollars taking my grandson to the youth programs at our church, which increase his faith and courage for such times as these.

We always never seemed "to have any time left" after all the sports, practices, resting, and recreation time we spent. I hated to think in the worst case that

we might be separated (he has lived with me for five

years since he was 2 1/2 yr. old) and not prepared

for as much as I can prepare him at his age of 8.

Since we are EXTRA LOW income, my foolishly taking

my marriage of 33 yr. for granted and volunteering

without regard to paying into social security for this

time of abandonment-by-divorce, even if I could manage a couple of dollars for this and that I canNOT manage the EXTRA high-dollars for the gas

it takes to get to more than one place. I pray that

no reader is in this position, but if you are, I can attest to the fact that the Creator of Heaven and Earth brings peace of the heart and soul in whatever

circumstances you might find yourself . We have

in the past been able to do each and every one of those wonderful suggested pasttimes...until now. In

prioritizing, I believe this decision is the best one of

all choices, considering the church has such a good

youth department , kind and wise leaders. He is truly

excited. It was his choice in the first place, much to my surprise, so there was no struggle. We continue

to have Sunday night Family Fun night with a video

or board game, one of MANY wholesome ones we have acquired over many years. Now we concentrate

on NOT watching much t.v. or having extra company except on Fri/Sat. nights, we focus on quality familyh and neighborhood relationships, a paced routine, quiet times before bedtime, enjoying what

we have been given, and each other. After all, the

best things in life aren't things/or places, remember.

We garden, walk, hike, enjoy and name the creatures there, have a tree swing, sit outside on cooler nights, count fireflies or June bugs, and talk to pet-owners, pray together and appreciate every day we can't earn and never deserved. Life is short and we have come to understand that each person has purpose which is not to be wasted on the sofa, on nonsense or alone without knowing the Creator who wants to be invited into each human heart. God bless you.

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August 20, 20060 found this helpful

My children (grown up now), never dared use the B-word near me! There's always something to do: a wardrobe to neaten/a meal to cook/weeds to be pulled/letters to write/ironing/mending/books to read/visits to be made/a floor to be washed/baking/cooking whatever---. The holidays is also a time to teach children those skills, otherwise how will they manage on their own??

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June 27, 20080 found this helpful

Here are some Free things to do this summer.

Recritique.com

Restaurant Printable Coupons, Freebies and More.

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August 5, 20130 found this helpful

Lynda

I so enjoyed your posting that brought so much of faith and God into it! Your grandson is so blessed to be living with you! I can also connect with way too much volunteering (24 years) and not enough paid work. It wasn't a divorce with me, it was disability, so be careful to balance out everything and always aim for "down the road" volunteering is awesome, but not one second of it counts on our social security records later. Thanks again for your wonderful post.

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