Low Cost Family Activities

Activities in the home can be a fun way to meet people, have a “date night”, or learn new skills. It just takes some imagination and sometimes a little research.  

Fun is not about location or cost, but about your companions.

Neighborhood Block Party

When our family first moved to Arizona, the kids and I stamped homemade invitations for a neighborhood block party, which provided activities for at least a day.

When the invitations were complete, the kids loaded into the red wagon and I pulled them to every house handing out invitations. This gave us an opportunity to meet our new neighbors. Those who were not home returned to find a taped invitation on their front door. Now granted, going door-to-door is not for every neighborhood, and I am not sure it had ever been done in this neighborhood, but by taking a little initiative and going outside my comfort zone, a community was established and friendships formed.

The party was simple, just a few tables and chairs. Everyone brought food and we provided drinks.  We have now done a block-party for three moves, each with little expense and huge success.

Game Night

Game night became a tradition when we lived in an apartment complex. We got to know the upstairs neighbors very well, since they had kids the same ages as ours.  Both of our families were looking for ways to have grown up time without the expense of a date, so together we created game night.

Sporadically, we would hire a babysitter, and then invite other families to come play board games.  The children would meet in one apartment, and the adults would gather in the other.

Admission to the party was a food item and a group game. The adults had fun while the children enjoyed themselves with movies. At the end of the evening, each couple chipped in a few dollars to pay the babysitter.

Game night became a regular favorite. Many memories were made that we still share as a family.  It is important to remember, that the expense of being a host can be shared with friends.

Learn Something New

Our time in the home is not just about fun, but also about learning. We have learned skills in home repairs, acting, and history to name a few. As we change houses or the kids grow older, we find that sometimes new furniture is required.  Not having been to a thrift shop since college, this opened up a whole new world to me and my family. I look for items on a monthly basis seeking treasures. The first treasure was my son’s desk. It cost $15 and fit nicely in the trunk of my car. We now had this weekend’s project. With a little sanding, a fresh coat of paint, and new knobs, the desk is still being used eight years later.  Don’t know how to do something, check out YouTube.  There are so many instructional videos that show you and teach you how to do it yourself. What we learned from reading books, asking questions at hardware stores, and actual hands-on work is invaluable, even when the project did not turn out.

The point is, there are special finds all around. I am amazed at what ideas my children have, ideas I would never consider.  The wardrobe was free, yet we spent days thinking creatively, sharing with friends, and learning about tools.

Make your home the experience.

Here is a link with some more ideas to help get your started, Have Fun at Home on a Saturday Night

Another great resource is searching on Pinterest for things like “cheap family activities,” “activities for kids,” and “Family fun.”

photo by: Yatmandu
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About Kristine Young

Kristine Young, a current AFCPE intern, earned her Masters Degree in Human Relations from University of Oklahoma, Overseas Branch. Kristine currently works at Patch High School in Stuttgart, Germany as an AVID tutor. It is through her experiences of working with scouts, teen programs, high school, and raising four children, she became aware of how few teens have opportunities to learn about finances. To her, the teaching of financial independence while still in a home environment establishes the quality future habits and security that one desires.