Here are some suggestions for low cost family day fun:
- Avail yourself to nearby national parks. There may be a small entrance fee for some, but they are usually very reasonable. If you go to national parks that have an entrance fee enough you may want to invest in an annual pass. There is also a nice search feature to return all the national parks within the given miles to an entered zip code. You might be surprised what little gem you find nearby, I know I was.
- Of course don't disregard state parks. Your state should have information about it's state parks available or you can check out StartParks.com. Many state and national parks also do special events throughout the year so watch their individual websites.
- Local parks can also be nearby for a small diversion, but most of these wont occupy the family for an entire day.
- Watch for special events in your local area, like an airport open house, hot air balloon festival, historical reenactments, etc.
- Go for a hike - if you are really adventourus do a couple nights along the trail. Many established trails have camping areas that are available on a first come first serve basis. Or just camp along the trail somewhere, but be sure to observe the 'No Trace' philosphy, you want to save what is there for the next hiker.
- Go camping at a camp ground
- Go camping in your front or back yard
- Go Geocaching, or if you don't have a GPS, go Letterboxing.
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Family Fun Day - partial day ideas
Don't have an entire day:
- Have a cook out
- Go for a walk
- Have a picnic
- Lay on a blanket and find shapes in the clouds
- If its hot out, have a water balloon fight. If there's snow, make it a snowball fight.
- Most kids would love the opportunity to beat mom and/or dad at almost any game, be it a card game or a board game, or even a made up game.
Most children today spend plenty of time watching television, but there's no reason you couldn't sit down together and watch a movie or television show. Netflix can be an affordable way to stream movies and television shows straight to your television, without the cost of cable or satalite TV.
There is no reason many of these could not be combined together, like going camping at a park and going for a hike to look for shapes in the clouds.
Let the children have some input into what the family does so they feel included. To a certain degree it might be tough to drag some children on too many of these trips so use your own judgement, you want to be building good memories not bad ones.