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I love spending time with my children. Sometimes one on one and sometimes all together. Quality time together helps me get to know the unique individuals that I am blessed to call my children.
Spending quality time with your children does not have to be expensive, it can even be free.
20 Thrifty Ways To Spend Quality Time With Your Child
15 of these 20 ideas are 100% free if you either already have the supplies needed (like bikes to ride) or can borrow them (like a tent from a neighbor).
1. Go for a bike ride
I love riding bikes with my children. When they were young they rode and I walked, now that they are older we ride together and have even taking over night trips on bikes together.
2. Take a walk
When children are little going for a walk is like going on a treasure hunt. There are rocks to find, and twigs to pick up. Bugs to poke with those twigs and puddles to jump in. When they become teenagers it often isn’t as easy to get them to agree to a walk,but when you can get them out great conversations get going.
3. Raid the recycle bin
So much of my children’s best artwork has come from items fished out of the recycling bin. On a horrible weather day, keep you and the kids entertained by dragging out the recycling bin along with scissors, tape, crayons and glue to the dinning room table and spend the afternoon creating together.
4. Enjoy happy hour (the ice-cream and shakes type not the other)
Many different restaurants have happy hours in the afternoon where they cut their prices for dessert items and drinks to 1/2 price. This can make for an relatively inexpensive treat depending on the choices and the size of your family. Swagbucks has gift cards to a lot of the restaurants that offer happy hours so you could even earn the gift cards for these events with just a few minutes of online work each day.
5. Bake together
Every year my children and I decorate sugar cookies together. My daughter will help me throughout the year with other baking as well and it always lends itself to great conversation.
6. Play a board game
Board games played together in our family can get loud ! We get very competitive but we have a lot of fun.
7. Hold a movie night
At home movie nights can be free when DVDs are borrowed from the local library or purchased using free redbox codes. You can even cash in your Swagbucks for a Redbox gift card that you can use to fund your movie nights.
8. Go camping in the backyard
Backyard camping is so much fun when children are little. They get to experience sleeping outside yet all they need in case things don’t go right are very near by.
9. Attend library events together
Our library brings in performers throughout the year that do anything from puppet shows to science shows. These are great events for the whole family. Checkout your local library and see if they offer such events.
10. Get lost in a book together
Choose a book the whole family will love, curl up on the couch together, and read a few chapters a day. If the children are older and can read well, have them take turns reading.
11. Attend free community events
Parades, classic car shows, festivals in the park, and other community events are often free and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
12. Play a fun iPad App
My kids and I have been known to battle it out on the iPad in the games connect4, fingle and rumble blob. I found most of these apps for free though the app of the day app.
13. Keep an eye out for Groupon specials for local activities
Right now I recently purchased a Groupon for sky zone and another one for ice skating in a near by larger center so that we could enjoy some fun family time together bouncing and skating.
It isn’t uncommon for deals like these to come up in daily deal sites like Groupon and they are normally at a savings of as much as 50%.
14. Do a dollar store craft together
Dollar stores are great resources for inexpensive craft materials. In the winter time my daughter and I will often head out to Dollar Tree and spend perhaps $5 and come home with enough materials to make several crafts.
15. Enjoy the weather
Splash in the puddles when it is raining. Go sleighing when it is snowing. Fly a kite when it is windy. Go for a picnic when it is sunny.
16. Break out the photo albums
It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how old my children get they still love hearing stories about when they were little and looking at photos of mom and dad in their youth.
17. Blow bubbles
Whether it be a bubble gum bubble blowing contest or a quest to make the biggest soap bubble possible in your back yard, blowing bubbles is fun and extremely low cost. (here is a simple inexpensive recipe for bubble solution: mix 1 cup white granulated sugar into 4 cups warm water until sugar is fully dissolved, then add in 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid, store in airtight container).
18. Build paper airplanes
Spend a bit of time researching how to make the best paper airplane online together, or at the library and then have everyone build their own and hold a contest to see whose flies the farthest.
19. Sculpt together
Admit it there is just something about play dough that makes it fun for all ages. It can be made so inexpensively to0. Pinterest is full of recipes for homemade play dough. Take turns sculpting and having the others guessing what the individual is making, the winner gets a candy. Work together to build a play dough town. Put an object in the middle of the table and have everyone try to sculpt it.
20. Break routine
Sometimes the best memory making quality time spent with children is a simple break in routine. For instance in our house several times a year we have backwards dinner night and eat dessert before main course. It is such a simple thing but my kids love it just as much as I loved it when my mom did this for me and my sister as children.
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.