Free (or nearly so) Family Fun

family fun

It’s nearly summer and while the children long to be out of school all too often after a few days (hours sometimes) there are cries of boredom. So I was challenged to come up with some free -or nearly free – family activities. I realized that in some ways this wasn’t a challenge because this is something I do regularly. Here in no particular order is my list.

Walking/Hiking – The ultimate free and fun family activity. It can be as simple as a walk around the block (I did this with my seventh baby a lot and someone always asked to go with me) or as complicated as a hike that lasts for several hours (something we did last year as a family).

free - or nearly free - family activities

 A zoo or museum membership for a year can be a costly output upfront, but usually after just a couple of visits it has paid for itself. We get a family pass to our local zoo every year. It’s so nice to just go for an hour or two to a specific area or even just one animal. We don’t exhaust ourselves and it can be very spontaneous. Last year we did a picnic breakfast and went to the zoo very early for a special members only look at the pandas that our zoo is currently hosting for the next five years. It was different and fun.

free - or nearly free - family activities

Parks – Every summer a company in our city sponsors a different activity at a local park every week either Tuesday morning or afternoon. We have gone to these themes – woodcarving, forensic science, nature hikes, how to be an actor, life in pioneer times, and others. Check your local parks for activities.

free - or nearly free - family activities

‘Smores – Last summer we went to a local national park. We had to pay a small entrance fee, but then we found a barbecue area and made ‘smores. It was so much fun. After the ‘smores the children played with a Frisbee they had found and just ran around in general.

free - or nearly free - family activities

Picnics – We live close to a lake. It’s nice to pack up a picnic lunch or supper and go down there for an hour or two. We eat and then the children can play on the playground equipment or throw rocks in the lake. As an aside, what is it about throwing rocks in a lake that is so fun? One time my husband told our children we were not going home until they had thrown all the rocks in the lake. Didn’t bother them in the least. ☺ Sometimes a picnic can be as close as your own backyard.

free - or nearly free - family activities

The Backyard – Our children have set up obstacle courses and timed each other racing around. One year they held a challenge to see how long they could stay outside on one of the hottest days of the summer. They made it to mid-afternoon. Plant a garden.

free - or nearly free - family activities

Movies – This one is hard with the age range we have. Every once in a while we hit on a movie everyone enjoys. It’s fun to pop a big bowl of popcorn and enjoy a movie together.

Ice Cream – Make your own ice cream. There are recipes for making ice cream even without an electric ice cream maker. We found an old-fashioned hand churn maker at our local flea market. Homemade ice cream is a lot of work, but so good. No guilt either. You burn off all the calories you will eat while making the ice cream. This past winter we even experimented with making ice cream from snow. By the way, I researched why you need salt. The combination of salt and ice creates a chemical reaction that is colder than ice by itself – so now you know. ☺

free - or nearly free - family activities

Reading – There is nothing like sharing a book together. And it doesn’t stop just because your child knows how to read. A few years ago our three oldest children were obsessed with a set of CDs we had that dramatized Pilgrim’s Progress. They listened to them every night after their younger siblings went to bed. In fact, they listened to them so much, they wore them out which is hard to do with CDs. Check out your local library for books on CD. We have just recently rediscovered this fun activity.

Kitchen fun – Have a tea party, bake some cookies, make a watermelon “cake” (cut watermelon into cake layers and decorate).

free - or nearly free - family activities

For more ideas check out my board “Family Fun” on Pinterest.

What does your family like to do for fun?

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Jennifer Schonhaar

Jennifer Schonhaar

Jennifer is the happily married wife of a pastor and the somewhat-tired-but-oh-so happy mum to eight beautiful children. She loves to try new healthy recipes, sew, read to her children, garden and play the piano.
Jennifer Schonhaar

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  1. Julie

    Ahhh great ideas. And I miss those “Ethan” curls ;). And what a pleasant surprise to see our tea party included in the pics. Although not sure I like ME in them LOL.
    Great ideas – I will have to remember these 🙂

    • JenSchon

      I knew you’d like seeing baby Ethan. I wanted something from you all because Joy’s girls are in the title picture. 🙂

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