Rising prices at the pump, costs of activities, and general cost of living increases has limited what many of us have on our list of affordable and realistic activities for ourselves and our families/friends. So, it’s time to get creative! Memories can still be made at home, and they’re even more attainable than ever. Check out some of our ideas for fun and frugal activities below:
FUN IN THE SUN (OR SHADE)
Let the competition pump up and take advantage of the remaining nice weather with an at-home game day. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun, and the less effort you have to put into setting up the games, the more time you will have for playing. Have everyone bring a side dish while you fire up the grill for a backyard BBQ to remember.
Fun Game Ideas to Try:
Hopscotch: The traditional classic game is fun, but try designing a more complicated setup. Just imagine your friends and family hopping and scotching on a chalk-drawn maze up and down steps, around obstacles, or perhaps even throw in a stop to do the macarena just to spice it up.
Four Square: Known as the recess game of choice for decades, four square isn’t just for kids! Try adding bets for the winners and losers: who has to clean up after the party, or who has to fetch the drink refills.
Badminton: Arrange your own tournament of singles or doubles in your backyard. Add some healthy competition by drawing random teams so the skill is spread around, or switching it up that one player on each time has to keep one hand behind their back!
Cornhole: A widely disputed argument: is it Bags or Cornhole? Whatever you choose to call this game, it’s essentially bean bag toss for adults. Consider blindfolds, spin players around before they toss, or move the boards around – switching it up is always fun!
Volleyball: Get ready, this is what all those years of gym class prepared us for! Pick your teams to SET yourselves up for success. Whether you travel to a beach to play sand volleyball, or head to a local park and play on the grass, the options are endless to travel and have fun with this classic.
Bocce Ball: Interestingly, this game can be traced all the way back to Egypt in 5200 BC. Clearly something is keeping this game going, so toss the pallino (target) ball out there and get to kicking some modern-day booty.
Horseshoes: One of the only games where almost hitting the target actually CAN score you points. You can often find old horseshoes at thrift shops or garage sales, and all you need is a stake in the ground. This game is especially easy to take on the road.
CHILL OUT INSIDE
Whether the bustling breeze gets a little too cool, or rain showers drive you indoors, there are still plenty of inexpensive ways to enjoy the afternoon.
Local Spots to Check Out:
Museums: Check your local museum for hours, as a lot of museums, gardens, and cultural centers offer extended hours on certain days, or even free admission. Enjoy the adventure on an “off-day” and get more time with the exhibits.
Brewery/Winery/Distillery Tours: Support local! Enjoy adult beverages in both an educational AND a fun way. Learn about the process of creating these products and try a sampler flight to get a taste of all their options. You might learn you like something new!
Garden Snipping Swap: For those with a green thumb, organizing a swap party of plant clippings can help build a more diverse backyard oasis, while thinning out the garden. Be sure to check out the ideal environments to be sure that the plants you take him will thrive in your yard! The end of the season is a great time to see what you may be able to bring indoors; think cacti, succulents, or aloe plants!
Library/Book Club Events: Check with your librarian to see what is on the calendar. If there isn’t something that interests you, offer to host something. Maybe an astronomy talk from a local professor during a meteor shower? Or host a get-together at someone’s home or local coffee shop with friends where you choose/vote on books and meet up to discuss them.
Home Spa Day: Relax in a robe and slippers in your own living room! Try an ice face roller, a refreshing facial mist, or a moisturizing face mask. Have your friends bring their favorite color nail polish or beauty product and get to the pampering! You can even do an at-home DIY spa option by trying this recipe for a homemade salt scrub.
Closet Clean Out: Refresh your closet while also enhancing your friends’! Collect the items you no longer wear or use, and meet up with others who did the same. Separate them by size and let everyone enjoy a free shopping day at home. Once everyone has chosen their new treasures, find a local charity and donate the remaining items. The changing of seasons is a great time to only keep what you wore.
FUN FOR THE FAMILY
With school just starting back up it can be hard to keep kids entertained at home, especially when you may still be working. Whether you choose to stay close to home or find fun out and about, here are a few ideas on how to make the most of your time with the kiddos.
Treasure Hunt: This will just prove that with the right motivation, kids can find whatever they are looking for. Place fun items like trinkets or candies around the house and yard and set them loose to explore while burning off some energy.
Homemade Ice Cream: Set up a sundae bar in invite some neighborhood kids over to make their own personal treats. If you’re feeling really ambitious, there’s a fun method going around Pinterest for homemade ice cream in a mason jar. Check it out here.
Slime: Don’t cringe yet – there are lots of recipes out there to make your own and it’s a great little chemistry experiment. They aren’t all doomed to make a huge mess, and most of the ingredients can be found at home (or at your local dollar store!) For more of a sensory experience, try adding in different textures and colors to make it a more tactile adventure.
Movie Night: Set up a snack bar including popular items like popcorn, fun-size candy packets, microwave pretzels and slushies. Choose three movies and let the kiddos vote on what to watch. Encourage pillow forts!
Field Trip Ideas
Camping: If it’s too chilly for an adventure in the backyard, a tent in the basement works just fine! Getting away from the usual distracting screens and telling stories by a flashlight can rejuvenate you. Plus, s’mores. What could be more convincing?
Apple Orchard: Outdoor markets and orchards are a great way to get everyone out of the house and keep your money in the community. Many spots will also feature local artisan’s trinkets in addition to self-pick and buy-a-bag apples, pumpkin patches, hayrides, petting zoos, and seasonal foods. Bonus points if you use it as a way to teach kids about where their food comes from, how to shop on a budget, or get a picky eater to try something new.
Local Hikes: Bring your bug spray, lace up your hiking boots, fill your water bottle, and get to the trails! Every state has trails and parks available, it’s just a matter of finding your favorite ones. Some trails will allow leashed pets to join you, and some will include breathtaking views of waterfalls and landscapes. Plus, incorporating leaf-rubbing or insect/plant identification can make it educational too!
Theater Outings: We’re not just talking the big screen (though many theaters offer discounted ticket or dedicated kids nights!), we’re talking about the stage. There are always traveling productions of large shows like The Lion King and Frozen, but it’s worth checking out the smaller, local theaters to see what they’re presenting. Smaller casts, smaller theaters, and giving back to the passionate hard work of your community members is rewarding for everyone.
Obviously there are plenty of ways to save money and still have a time to remember, you just need to be a little creative!