Restoring the Lost Petal

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10 Ways to Have Fun and Not Spend a Ton

Everyone dreams of the lap of luxury with 10 day cruises, ski resorts or exotic adventures in the bush. Reality and the budget say this isn’t possible for most of us.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time, make memories and build relationships with those you love.  Low cost family activities often provide more fun than expensive ones.

Low cost family and date ideas.

The picture above represents one of Wyatt’s favorite things to play. Boxes.  I often joke that we could wrap up empty boxes and bubble wrap and he’d be happy.  Actually, his uncle did give him a big box of “jumps”  (bubble wrap) and he was thrilled.  I don’t expect my son to always play with boxes but I do hope that we instill in him the idea of quality over cost.

Here’s a few low cost activities for your family.  Remember, if you’re on a budget or working on financial goals you may need to cut out things like annual vacations for a time but that doesn’t’ mean cutting out fun.  Your children will learn more from you through your dedication to good stewardship than they will from Disney Princesses or theme par rides.  

Kid’s/Family Activities

State and Local Parks – Many state and local parks have bike trails, nature trails and even nature centers that are free or low-cost.  Fun and educational.  If you’re homeschooling it’s a fun day and a field trip all in one.

Camp Out( In the Yard) – A tent, a sleeping bag and a flashlight.  Spend the night with the kiddos in your back yard.  If you yard permits you could even build a fire and do s’mores!

Camp Out (In the Living Room) – So you can’t build a fire in the living room (unless you have a fireplace) but I’ll be your kids would get a kick out of seeing an air mattress, flashlights and a big bowl of popcorn on the living room floor.  Rent a movie or read some extra books.  If you got the room you could make a tent fort or upgrade to a really big box fort.  (See, I said there might be boxes!)

Mass Transit Rides – Okay, so this my sound dorky but Wyatt really, really wanted to ride the down town bus.  So for his 3rd birthday we spent the day in town, rode the trolley bus (which was FREE) and then had lunch.  It was a 3-hour excursion that cost us $12.00 (the cost of breafkast).

50 Things to Do Before You 11 3/4 – This site is great! Even though the site is created for UK kids most of what you find for kids is doable no matter where you live.  There’s a parent’s area and a child’s area so children can have their own access to look up activities.  Thanks to Diary of a First Child for this awesome resource!

Couples Dates

Photo Dates – Take a drive through the country or the city or take a 4-wheeler ride through the woods and stop frequently for photos.  Maybe even pack a picnic lunch!

Flea or Farmer’s Market – Okay so it isn’t cheap if you see an antique wood burning cook stove you really want BUT if you go with a budget or without planning to buy it can be fun.  Get a sitter for 2 hours and hang out.

Camp In – Air mattress, popcorn, movie, babysitter…….after all you are married and you do not have to sleep in flannel pj’s every night.

Cook Together – Brad and I made a big pot of chili a few weeks back while Wyatt was napping.  It was the first time in a very long time that we worked as a team in the kitchen.  It was really a great few hours.

Double Date at Home – You can make lasagna, salad and dessert for a few bucks and double date with some friends at home.  Ask them to bring a favorite game to play. Instead of spending a minimum $50 for Italian for two you can feed 4, have fun and still have money left over.

Now it’s your turn!

What are your favorite low or no cost activities.  Share links if you’ve got ’em!

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  1. LOVE some of these ideas! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • You’re welcome Luuchka and thanks for the suggestion of 50 Things – I am loving the site and I can’t wait until we can dig into the spring/summer activities in a few months.

  2. My son would LOVE the mass transit suggestion! That’s a good idea 🙂

  3. These are some great ideas. I think the at-home dates are wonderful and much more apt to be a regular occurrence. Thanks for these ideas – I love the photo “that may or may not involve a cardboard box” LOL.

  4. This is a great list. The mass transit idea is brilliant, it also teaches them a life skill. The cardboard box is still a staple until they reach the teens. LOL

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