Sunday, June 2, 2013

5 Ideas for Family Fun on a Budget

We believe fun should be free.
Do you agree? Good. We are on the same page.

Sometimes it's a bit of a struggle to think of something to do that's free (or cheap) that everybody enjoys.
Right now, we have a family of three. As our family grows, this list will change. But for now, here's a list of 5 cheap family activities that we love doing together.

1) Walk. 
Don't underestimate the fun a family walk can be. While we had a habit of occasionally going on a walk, we really made this a habit when I was pregnant. The midwife recommended walking for at least 30 minutes every day, to help keep me fit and loose for when the baby came.
But something amazing happened. We talked.
Yes, we talked and spent time together before, but it was a time with no other "entertainment" or digital distractions, and we just talked. About everything. Our day, our life, our dreams, and our feelings. Plus we got more fit doing it. Now that our baby is here, we still walk. We put him in the stroller, and he loves watching the cars go by, or the birds and trees. Sometimes part way through the walk, his daddy picks him up and he gets to join the conversation (while I push an empty stroller. Which is completely okay). He loves that!

2) Bookstore or Library
So, it sounds a little silly until you try it, but one of the things we love to do is go to the bookstore and browse. We never really have any intention of buying, but it is really relaxing and somehow bonding. We leave holding hands. This can be done at the library too- our town has a really great library, but we both really love the atmosphere in the bookstores. Baby gets so excited just seeing the books too, so he's a boy after our own hearts.

3) Geocaching
This is a little new to our family, but we are fast getting addicted. We went yesterday with all of my family and husband's family (20 people in all!) and that was how we celebrated my birthday. It was so fun, and it was the first time any of them had ever gone. I think we got several of them hooked as well,. They were all so surprised that there even was such a thing, and kindof didn't believe us that there was stuff hidden right under our noses... until we found some! Then it all of a sudden became more exciting.

What is geocaching? It's a high-tech outdoor treasure hunting game that's a great way to explore the world with friends, family or on your own. Participants use GPS-enabled devices to locate hidden containers called geocaches. There are over one million geocaches hidden around the world today, waiting for you to find them. Visit to search for geocaches near you. Basic Membership is free.

It helps if you have a smart-phone, and an app to access the list of caches. charges $9.99 for their app, and though it may be worth it, I have never tried it. If you think of it as purchasing a family game, that is still cheaper than most board games out there. I use and love the free android geocaching app C: Geo. There is a free iPhone geocaching app called GeoBucket though I have not experimented with this one. does have a free trial version of their app, though there are some limitations. If you've got a favorite, please comment below! I'd love to hear someone else's favorites. does have a free trial version of their app, though there are some limitations.

4) Photo Shoot
Don't be intimidated if you are not a great photographer. Just decide to have fun. If you have a tripod, this is a lot easier, but if not, you can usually find a passer-by who is willing to take a quick picture. Also, if you don't have a tripod, think of some friends you have who might have one. This is a more common household item than you might think. You can find an inexpensive tripod here if you're interested in investing in one. They're a great tool to have around.
We bought one with Christmas money, and then went out and took some photos. This was our last photo-shoot as a two-person family. Baby was along, but he was about the size of a blueberry, so he was pretty inconspicuous. I look forward to taking an evening this summer to do a family photo shoot with all three of us. Here are some of my favorites from our shoot.

5) Cook together
Again, if you're not a cook, don't feel intimidated. This can be so easy even for someone not familiar with the kitchen. There is a reason Nicholas Sparks has so many scenes in his books with the couple cooking together- it's fun, bonding, relaxing, and you can talk while you do it.
For a couple, you have a few more options, as it's easier for adults to be safe in the kitchen. But there are plenty of options for you and your kids too. Even ones that the whole family can enjoy. An easy one that comes to mind is building a pizza. In my family growing up, we would make what I like to call "plaid pizza". We used a rectangle jelly roll pan, and after the dough was rolled out, everyone would put their favorite toppings. If you can imagine the pizza divided in half horizontally- one side with pepperoni, the other with sausage. Now divide it in half vertically, with one half decorated with peppers, onions and the works, and the other half with just olives and maybe a little extra cheese. Everybody is happy!
We have a dough recipe we like (perhaps a post for another time?) but you could even do this with a ready made pizza crust. Put the crust in the middle of the table and let everybody help. Then the best part is, you get to eat it afterwards. See that wasn't so bad, was it?

What are some of the fun things you like to do as a family? What kind of activities do you like best- indoor or outdoor? I love to hear your comments!

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