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Planning a fun, family-friendly outing can quickly become a costly undertaking. Between paying for transportation, entertainment, and restaurant meals, it’s all too easy to overshoot your initial budget.
Instead of opting for a fancy evening out, choose to spend a free or low-cost day of fun with your adult children or grandchildren. Take a step back and enjoy the simple things in life with these fun and free family pastimes!
Design Your Own Walking Tour
Get outside and explore your local community! Whether you live in a bustling city or a sleepy suburb, there are likely a wide variety of walking and hiking paths available near you. Trek through the woods, take a stroll around a lake, or use local maps and brochures to create your own urban walking tour, taking the time to appreciate the monuments and unique architecture of your city. For additional fun, consider biking or rollerblading around a part of town that you’ve never visited before. If you're unsure of where to go, use sites like MapMyWalk and TrailLink to discover popular walking routes near you.
Have a Spontaneous Photoshoot
Though many of us have smartphones with high-quality cameras, most of us can't remember the last time we sat down and took a few nice photos of our family. Organize a casual, spontaneous photo shoot with your loved ones. Take portraits of one another outdoors. Snap a few artsy shots of your home and garden or encourage your grandchildren to play dress-up for the camera. Dig up old family photos of your kids and try to recreate them with your adult children or grandchildren. For extra fun, use an instant camera or high-quality DSLR. Someday you'll look back on these photos and remember the good times you had together.
Organize a Pantry Potluck
Is your pantry overflowing with dry goods like beans, pasta, and flavored gelatin? Rummage through your cupboards and prepare a meal using just the ingredients you already have at home! Have your children or grandchildren do the same, or invite them over to prepare the meal with you. Enjoy your creations at an outdoor picnic or family dinner. Creatively challenging and virtually free, a pantry potluck is an offbeat way to spend time in the kitchen with your loved ones.
Be Study Buddies
Thousands of digital education resources are available today, making learning easier than ever before. Whether you see your children on a regular basis or not, it is possible to bond with them via a learning project. Join a massive open online course (MOOC) or download an educational app. Encourage your family study buddy to do the same. You could, for example, start learning Italian together, using apps like Duolingo and Memrise to expand your vocabulary and improve your comprehension skills. Later, meet up with your family study buddy to watch a foreign language film or practice speaking the language. If you don't have the chance to see your family on a regular basis, collaborate via Skype and watch relevant videos together on Rabb.it. By learning in tandem with a loved one, you'll be much more likely to enjoy yourself while mastering a new subject.
Volunteer As a Family
Charitable organizations are constantly looking for new volunteers to help with various projects. Ask your children or grandchildren about the causes they'd most like to support. If your grandson wants to work with animals, call a local shelter to see if they need volunteers to clean cages or play with shelter pets. Consider supporting an organization that assists less fortunate groups, such as refugees, the poor, or the disabled. If you'd prefer to be more spontaneous, you can take things into your own hands. Grab some plastic gloves and garbage bags and go pick up litter in a local park. Organize a canned food drive or research home-based microvolunteering opportunities. By doing good, you and your family will feel good, too!
Free entertainment options abound in most communities. Glance through your city’s community calendar to discover concerts, sporting matches, theater performances, markets, and other upcoming events happening in your area. Between free local activities and affordable home-based entertainment options, you can find endless ways to spend time with your family without spending a cent!
Photo: © VadimGuzhva / fotolia.com