by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)
Entertaining the family doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can save those to buy gasoline. There are numerous ways for the family to have fun, be together and spend little if any money. Be resourceful, creative, keep an open mind and a fun heart. After all, nothing’s better than laughing with your family and laughs are free.
1. Celebrate a holiday even if it’s not a holiday. Check the calendar and online for many unusual holidays on which to peg your celebration. For instance, there’s a National Watermelon Day. Celebrate by gathering the family in the backyard or a park and eating watermelon. Stretch the celebration by having a family watermelon seed-spitting contest.
You could also celebrate Christmas in July or Thanksgiving in August.
2. Clean out the kitchen pantry but make it fun by putting together all those newly discovered foods hiding on the back shelves for unusual but delightful dishes. Have a contest with each family member creating an original recipe. Continue the theme by cleaning out a closet, garage or attic and designate items for a yard sale. Earmark the money earned for a family getaway and you’ll get more cooperation.
3. Visit a cemetery. Okay this may sound a little morose but can be fun and educational too. Many headstones have interesting formations and histories. Volunteer the family to help clean up the cemetery, trim grass and pull a few weeds. Some cemeteries even have places to have a picnic so don’t forget the food.
4. Go fly a kite. Some of your fondest memories of growing up may be when your mom or dad helped you build and fly a kite. You can buy all kinds of kite designs if you want or get kite kits and make them yourself. Materials are inexpensive and construction can be simple.
5. Take a field trip to a pick your own farm. The entire family can pick various fruits and vegetables, then purchase and eat them. Because you picked them yourself, the prices are very reasonable and they taste better too. Check your newspaper for the nearest farm to you and remember this is a seasonal activity.
6. Visit a botanical garden or arboretum. Most of these are free and is a beautiful place to just stroll and visit with your family. Sometimes lectures or festivals are being held at the gardens. Take your camera and get some memorable shots of your family among the flowers.
7. Spend the night outside. This could be in your back yard or in a camp site. Sit quietly by a campfire and try to identify sounds of the night. It could be a part night or an all night affair.
Frugal nights and days with your family can be some of the best. You’re together but not worried about the money being spent. Best of all, your children will probably grow up and experience many of the same events with their kids too.