Photo courtesy of hoyasmeg
Fall is my favorite time of the year. The summer heat is finally breaking, replaced by crisp days with a cool breeze and a crystal blue sky. Backyard grills are busy cooking up tailgating meals on Saturday afternoons as friends and families gather to take in a college football game. The milder temperatures make for a great time to be frugal because there are so many cheap activities to be enjoyed outside of the house. I’ve included a few of them below, along with a very special frugal activity to mark Museum Day.
- Visit a museum, for free! Hundreds of museums across the country are celebrating Museum Day 2008 by offering free admission this Saturday, September 27th. Museums offer a great frugal entertainment option. We may visit a nearby arts and sciences museum where they have an area dedicated to children’s activities. Check out this link to find a participating museum near you.
- Plan a picnic. With the weather finally cooling off around the country it is a great time to plan a picnic at your favorite spot. Pack up a few homemade sandwiches, some bottled water, and your favorite fruits to enjoy a meal in the great outdoors. Don’t forget to pack a blanket to sit on, and a frisbee, a kite, or maybe even a football for some post-meal entertainment.
- Go for a bike ride, as a family. Me and the kids all have our own bike, but my wife does not currently own one. We would like to change that in the near future, but for now we may have to settle with renting her a bike at a park with a bike trail. For just a few dollars you can rent a cruising bike all day and explore the trails and the park together as a family. Don’t forget your helmets, Dads! Remember, your kids will think they are cool only if you wear them (note, this is only applicable through the preteen years–after that, nothing you do is cool!).
- Host a “Field Day” at home. One of my kids’ favorite days of the school year is Field Day. I remember enjoying events like the 100-yard dash and the softball toss. Why not recreate some of those events at home? Have a family relay race–kids against parents, or boys against girls. Find some old potato sacks and have a sack race, or stop by a dollar store and pick up a few hula hoops for a hula hoop contest.
- “Old school” game night. Today’s kids do not know how to entertain themselves. Without the help of a video game, a television, or a parent, most kids would be bored out of their minds. Teach them some “old school” games and compete against them. Start out with some classics like Simon Says, or Red Light/Green Light. Then teach them a little Hide and Seek and Freeze Tag. I remember playing games like these for hours in neighbor’s yards, and even inside on rainy days.
Spending a lot of money is not a requirement for having a lot of fun. The two most important ingredients for family fun are creativity and togetherness. As long as we can think up fun stuff to do together we can avoid expensive entertainment such as movies, arcades and amusement parks (which are a lot of fun, too, but in small doses). Have a great frugal weekend!