Family fun doesn’t have to be expensive or even cost a thing at all. While taking in a movie and snacks at the theater might cost you $60 or more per family, isn’t it nice to know that there are still some things in life that are free?
1. Family game night. The popularity of family game night might have started as a marketing campaign for Hasbro to get you to buy more games, but the idea is not a bad one. Many of us grew up playing board games and have many fond memories of the hours we spent enjoying them with friends and family. Why not dust off a few games, or pick them up at garage sales, or purchase them new with coupons to get started. Along with the family fun, you will have a lot of opportunity to chat with your kids, and the value of that is priceless.
2. Family Restaurant. Have the whole family cook together for a night. You can start with something easy, such as individual pizza pies that every member of the family can customize with an assortment of toppings. Share them all and vote on the the best tasting, the most creative, etc. I bet you will never have M&M pizza ever again. You can try a different theme each time, such as the elegant restaurant theme, complete with good china and real napkins, plus fancy food.
3. Museum and attraction memberships. While this one may not be truly free, It is added to the list because after the initial investment of the annual membership, it will pay you back many times over with a year full of free admission, that often includes concerts, member days or nights and other special events, such as behind the scenes tours. Plus, some memberships can actually be free, through employers.
4. Day trips and staycations. Take the concept of the staycation one step more by only choosing places and events that are free. See if you can stay with relatives and friends and tour local parks, landmarks and beaches (just be sure to reciprocate when the time comes). Pick up information at local historical societies and explore the highlights, such as old ruins or a street with interesting history or architecture.
5. Factory tours. All across the country are a wealth of free factory tours that you can take as a family. Experience everything from watching potato chips being born to cows being milked by milking machines. Most kids are especially fascinated by this stuff. There is generally no fee to tour these fun factories, but they often have limited days and times, so check websites and call ahead.