Five Venues for Frugal Family Fun

By Kelly Hodges
Having young children in the house means there is abundant energy that’s looking for an outlet.  There are lots of ways for kids to get out of the house and burn off some of that energy, but unfortunately many of those options will burn a hole in your wallet as well.  Gymnastics classes, admission to a children’s museum, or a few hours in bouncy house land all come with a cost, and when you’re factoring in multiple children and multiple visits those costs can add up quite a bit.

Luckily there are tons of free activities that are perfect for families with young children.  Here are a few of my favorite venues for frugal fun.

1.  Libraries.  I have a deep seeded love of the library that I am hoping to instill in my children as well.  The library is one of the best free resources our there, for children and adults alike.   Call or check the website for your local library and see what type of children’s programs they offer.  Most have some type of story time or craft time for young children.  Check out the library for the neighboring towns as well, you don’t have to live in a particular city to visit their library!  Young children love to hear stories read to them, and this is a great free activity to do together.

2.  Bookstores.  Many bookstores also offer free children’s story hours or other activities.  The Barnes and Noble where we live has a story hour twice a week with a wonderful storyteller, as well as a train table and Lego table for the children to play with.  Seek out the bookstores in your area and call to see what type of children’s activities they offer.

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3.  Community Events.  Many communities offer free concerts, programs, and other events that are family friendly.  Lots of these events occur in the summer months, so now’s the time to start looking into them.  Again, don’t limit yourself to the town you live in, research happenings in surrounding communities to expand your options.  Kids love listening to music, watching a parade, exploring a farmer’s market, and many other things that come without a cost.

4.  Free Days.  Taking a family to the public museum or county zoo is an exciting and educational experience, but can also be very expensive.  Find out if the museums, zoos, gardens, or other places you’d like to visit in your area offer any free days.  In our city both the public museum and botanical gardens offer free admission on Mondays.  Likewise the zoo has several free days throughout the year.

5.  Parks and Playgrounds.  What do kids love more than playing on a playground?   Not much in my experience!  Pack a picnic lunch and head off to your favorite playground for a few hours.  Go on a “nature walk” and see what interesting bugs or plants you can find.  To change things up explore different parks in your area.  It’s so often the simplest things that make little children the happiest.

These are just a few of the countless ways to entertain small children without spending a dime. Be creative and think outside the box to have some family fun on a frugal budget.  Remember that what your children want most is to spend time and share experiences with you, and they don’t care one bit how much it costs.


Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of her employer or any other person or entity.

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