Having fun with your kids doesn’t have to break the bank. You can look for activities that don’t require you to spend half of your paycheck to entertain and feed everyone for a day out — or even better, you can plan a totally free day and still have a great time.
Stumped for ideas? Here are seven ways you can save money on activities while having fun with your kids:
Rotate the Toys
Your kids probably have a lot of toys. Most of them probably don’t even get played, either, with because there are just so many — but yet your child will still say they have nothing to do. Put an end to this by rotating the toys in and out each week or every other week.
Have a set number of toys out at one time accessible for your children and put the rest in a box in a closet or in the attic. After the week — or two — is over, trade out the toys, and the kids will feel like it’s Christmas.
Find Creative Craft Supplies Around the House
There are many different things you can turn into craft supplies. Paper towel roll tubes, cardboard cereal boxes and popsicle sticks just scratch the surface of possibilities. Get creative!
Additionally, instead of buying those pricey paints and clays, why not make your own? One interesting recipe uses toothpaste to make either a paint or a clay depending on how thick you make the mixture. You can color this recipe with food coloring or use the colors that are already in the toothpaste to make a fun creative play item for your kids.
And while you’re at it, make sure you save a tube of toothpaste to use to remove crayon from the walls or get stains out of carpets.
Get a Membership to a Zoo or Museum
If you enjoy going to the zoo or a museum, you can buy a membership for your family. This way, you spend a certain amount of money and can visit all you want during the year. This really cuts down on admission fees when you usually have to pay by the person.
Sometimes, you can even get into multiple facilities with one membership. Check out something like the ASTC Travel Passport Program to see which organizations are participating in your area.
It is somewhat of an initial expense, but consider the money you will save in the long run. You can also gift this to a child in your family who loves these outings — you are saving money and giving a great birthday or Christmas gift at the same time.
Visit the Library
Even if you live in a small town, you likely have a library. Stop by and see what activities they offer for children. Even if it’s just a weekly book reading, it’s something to get the kids out of the house and interacting with other people.
Don’t overlook the fun in just letting the kids go into the library and picking out their own library books to take home, either. Not only is this free, but it encourages a love of learning, which is priceless.
Go to the Park
Cities usually have at least on local park with a few different swings and slides that kids can enjoy. Plan a picnic lunch and let your kids run off their energy at the park once a week or more. This won’t cost you anything, and the kids will absolutely love it.
You could also try meeting up with other moms and have playdates at the park for a fun activity — and you won’t need to worry about cleaning your house before they come.
Remember Your Own Property
So often you think so much about getting the kids out of the house that you may overlook your own yard. Don’t underestimate the power of having outdoor fun at home! You can buy some cheap sidewalk chalk, blow some bubbles or just teach the kids how to play tag or hide-and-seek. All of this fun without packing a bag and loading the kids up for a day? Yes, please.
Make Busy Bags/Boxes
Busy bags (or boxes) are popular with younger children because they are made to give them something to do without you having to supervise every moment. Pinterest has a variety of ideas, and you can often make several with very little money.
This works especially well if you’ve exhausted other options and just need the kids to sit down and give you a moment to breathe. Talk about the busy bag and tell them how they are supposed to use it. After one successful round of busy bags, you might even let your child help plan one for another week with an activity that they would like to do.
Enjoy the Season, Without Breaking the Bank
Don’t let the changing weather of fall squash the fun you can have with your kids — or have it cost you an arm and a leg. Try these activities and keep the entertainment happening all season long.