Get Everyone Involved
With These
Thrifty Family Activities

Finding something for the whole family to do is hard enough but finding Thrifty Family Activities sounds almost impossible.

Sure if you have enough money to take everyone to Disneyland or on some other exciting, expensive vacation - no problem - but what about those people who want some thrifty family activities?

The ideas that follow will get your whole family involved and enjoying themselves.

Would you like some activities that encourage volunteerism along with togetherness?

Take a hike and pick up trash.
Anyone who has hiked the many trails (even neighborhood trails) in the United States knows there is never a lack of trash to pick up. Go on a hike and have everyone bring along a bag to fill.

Make a game out of it - The first one to fill their bag wins. You and your family will get to see some trails you have probably not seen before and you will be teaching the children a valuable lesson. (Follow up with that lesson on scrubbing hands!!)

Paint the local fire hydrants.
Okay this one sounds weird, but it comes from personal experience. My son noticed the paint on the fire hydrants in our neighborhood was chipped and shabby. So we called the city and after a couple of minutes and a few people, we were able to get a gallon of the paint delivered along with a paint brush. We proceeded to paint the hydrants all over the neighborhood.

The point here is - look around your neighborhood. What do you see that needs attention. Get the family involved and spend a day together doing it.

Help plant local gardens.
Another thrifty family activity is gardening. Whether the garden is your own family garden or a public garden, get the whole family involved. Again this is a great lesson for the kids and a fun time for the whole family.

Even if you have teenagers, get them to help. They can help decide what you will plant if it is a private garden. They may be able to use it as a science fair project for school too. And they will have the whole family to help.

Volunteer at city/town municipalities.
Get in touch with your local recreation center, chamber of commerce, retirement home, etc. Usually these places have something you can do as a family. And if they don't have something right now, they may have a big event coming up that you can get on your calendar now.

Just call and find out what they have planned, then meet with your family and see what everyone can agree on.

Need more ideas for thrifty family activities? -

Theme dinners
Get everyone involved in planning and making a theme dinner. For instance you can have Mexican food night, or Italian food night. You may have to look up some recipes or maybe you already have some. Either way - get everyone involved.

Each person is in charge of some part of the dinner. The youngest children can set the table, maybe they have made name tags for each person. They are also good at dessert if the recipe is something small children can do.

Depending on how far you want to take this one, you could even have each person dress in the clothing of the country.

You can even get your extended family involved - invite them to join you for dinner.

For example have an Italian food theme. Plan for each family to arrive in about 30 to 45 minute intervals.

The children can make up the menu and serve as the waiters. Have them seat the guests at your dining table and bring them each a menu and water. They then return to take the orders and bring them to the cook in the kitchen. Agree in advance what the choices of main dishes will be - two or three choices is plenty - and have a couple of choices for dessert. Round out the meal with bread and salad.

The kids will have a great time with this one, and it is no harder than having family or friends over for dinner.

Family game night
Just like it sounds - get out the board games or cards.

Take turns who gets to choose the game for the night. Also rotate who gets to choose and make the snack. Even the youngest can make microwave popcorn or instant pudding.

When the kids are really young, the game can be Candyland or a card game like Go Fish. Also with young kids, the "night" can be one hour -this is a long time for small children and they will love it.

Thrifty Family Activities for the Winter.
If you have enough snow in your area to go sledding, this is a fun activity and you can follow it up with hot chocolate and some time sharing those sledding stories.

See if you can - talk the whole family into building a snowman family. Each person is in charge of building their own snowperson. This makes for some very fun family time. If you have friends or family nearby have them come over and hand out prizes for each snowperson. Be creative with the catagories - Best Dressed, Best Nature Costume, Best Self-Portrait, etc.

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