When the weather warms up in spring or finally cools down in fall, it is a great time to get outside with your children. Sometimes it is difficult to think of something to do, especially if you find yourself a little short on cash. If your kids are incessantly bothering you by constantly saying "I'm Bored!" why not try some of these fun and cheap ideas.
Go to the Beach
Going to the beach is a great way to entertain your family outside. Even if you live in a land locked area, you can almost always find a beach by a local lake, so this idea isn't limited to the ocean. The best part about beaches is they are free! Pack your family a lunch, some drinks, and head out. The second best thing about the beach is that there are plenty of free activities to do there. Your family can go for a swim, walk around in the warm sand, collect sea shells if you are by the ocean. Beaches around lakes usually come with some very scenic hiking trails too. By the end of the day, you and your kids will be well entertained and worn out. This activity is good in the spring, summer, and fall. Each season brings different activities and different scenery.
Visit a Park
This is a lot like going to the beach. Parks are usually free and a great place to go and have some lunch. If you are in the United States, I recommend taking your family to a forest preserve or state park. They have some of the greatest hiking around and you can really feel like you can get lost there. Even if you think you live in an area that is boring, you could be surprised what you can uncover in a park.
If you live too far away from a state park, why not go walk around your local river. You can find a lot of interesting things down by the river, though be aware that you can also find a lot of dangerous things down there too.
Fly a Kite
Flying a kite seems to be a dying form of entertainment. That is a shame too, there is a certain amount of wonder and rope burn to be had while flying a kite. If you don't feel like shelling out $5 to $10 bucks for a store bought kite, you could always make your own out of some sturdy sticks, glue, string, and a trash bag.
Of course, kite flying is not an every day event as you have to have some good wind to fly one, but on a windy spring or fall day, it is a good way to spend some time with your family. It can be quite the fun event trying to get a kite in the air. So next time a storm is about to blow in, try flying a kite.
Collect some Rocks
This may sound boring, but it is more interesting than it sounds. Find some interesting smooth rocks and all you need is a permanent marker. Find some rocks, wash them and have your children draw designs on them.
You can draw fake fossils and leave them in stony places or decorate them and keep them in your house.
If you are collecting rocks by a stream or river you can also just find smooth stones and practice your rock skipping. It's fun competition for the whole family.
Have a Bonfire
Young or old, there is nothing more fun than a little fire. If you have a backyard and there isn't a burn ban on your neighborhood, having a bonfire can be a super fun idea. Whether it is just your family out there or if you let your kids invite some friends over. You can turn that bonfire into a great backyard camping experience too, if you'd like.
A bonfire can lead to a lot of great times from roasting various foods over it to telling ghost stories. Nothing says bonding like burning a some of your excess wood. Be sure to practice fire safety though. line your fire pit with stones and keep a bucket of water nearby in case it gets out of control or someone lights their pants on fire.
Find a Tree to Climb
While most parents think tree climbing is too dangerous, most good old fashioned fun is always a little dangerous. If you don't have a yard, go for a walking in the park until you find some good climbing trees. Most adults are too stiff and heavy to climb trees, so attempt at your own risk. You could always bring a book and catch up on your reading while your kids climb around. Just pray that if they get up, that they have the courage to get back down.
Not only is jump roping fun, but it is amazing exercise. You don't need to go out and buy a jump rope either, a piece of rope or heavy string works out just as well. Teach your kids some of your favorite rhymes to do while jump roping or have them make up some of their own. It's pretty easy to make up a rhyme once you get into the rhythm of jump roping as long as you don't get winded.
Look at the Stars
If you don't live around too much light pollution, this is a fantastic and educational way to entertain the family. If you are not so good at finding constellations, download the free Google Sky Map app onto your smart phone. The app by itself is super interesting. It will show you what you are looking at and where to look for what you are looking for. It's a great way to impress your family unless they catch you looking at the app.
If you want to do it the old fashioned way, you can always find yourself and old fashioned star map or just have a fun time with the family trying to find the big dipper.