Spending time with family is what life’s all about. We all have to work for a living, and we’re all forced to do things we don’t necessarily want to in order to ensure we have food, shelter and other necessities and comforts for ourselves and our children. With that being said, none of it would be worth anything if we didn’t have our families to grow with, laugh with, or stay (in)sane with.
Everyone wants to spend more time with their family, but when you’re working on a budget, it might seem hard to find activities that the whole family can enjoy, without your bank account taking a huge dent. To help you spend more time with your family, while keeping your savings account at a healthy weight, following are five activities that your whole family can enjoy, that you don’t have to spend much money on.
- Go Hiking Together
Besides being something that everyone can enjoy together, hiking as a family has numerous benefits that your entire family will gain from. The most obvious benefit you’ll gain is exercise, with your entire family engaging your muscles and breaking a good sweat, without ever feeling like you’re actually doing work. Additionally, hiking will allow your children to come to appreciate nature, and for you to reconnect with it if you’ve been absent for awhile.
Finally, hiking gives you and your family a chance to recharge, going at your own pace, allowing you to disconnect your mind from the worries that you have at your 9-to-5. Vary your routes so that you can appreciate different areas, and sing songs or play word games as you walk to keep things fresh.
- Have a Weekly Family Game Night
At least once a week, you should be focusing on having a nice stay-in activity that you and your family can enjoy together. Game nights are a perfect option for families on a budget, because they offer great entertainment, while teaching valuable lessons to your children, on the cheap.
Playing games together fosters not only deeper levels of love in your family, but it also teaches children about strategy, problem-solving, decision making, communication, and teamwork. Perhaps, most importantly, it provides an opportunity for you to show your kids how to be humble in victory, and undaunted in defeat. By hosting a weekly game night, your family will grow closer and gain valuable insights about as you pass “GO” and collect your $200.
- Start a Family Blog
Looking back, many years from now, the memories you’ll treasure the most are the times you spent with your children, going on adventures, seeing new things, and learning new lessons together. To help keep a chronicle, and to help your children connect with others, consider starting a family blog.
Have your children actively participate in your blog, sharing their thoughts and views about what you as a family have done. Aside from helping them type it, let your children use their own words. Through blogging, you’ll show your children how to communicate with others, improve their grammar and language, and engage their active memory to chronicle their adventures.
Starting a blog is simple, with only a few simple steps to complete. You already know you’re going to write about your family, so you just need to register a domain name, get a basic website template assembled (and there are plenty of available templates to help) and you’re ready to start writing!
- Read a Book Together as a Family
Book clubs are a great way for people to connect over common interests, and deepen their understanding not only of literature, but life in general. These same principles can apply to your own family, no matter what age your children are.
It’s never too early to foster a love of reading in your children, and the benefits they’ll gain are immeasurable. Reading helps your children to engage their analytical ability, as well as their imagination. Numerous studies have shown that children who read more have better grades, develop intellectually faster, and tend to be better at problem-solving and innovation than those who don’t. It also allows them to learn about aspects of the world they haven’t gotten to see for themselves yet!
A side benefit of this approach is that it allows some flexibility in your family schedules. You may not all be able to stick together, page by page, but you’ll all be reading the same material at your own pace. As your children reach their teens, they’ll start to become more independent, and value their privacy. A family book club will allow you to still connect as a family, while allowing your teenager to pursue their book at their pace.
- Have a Family Cookout
You don’t always have to go to a fancy restaurant, or drop several hundred dollars, for your family to have a great meal together. Instead, you can enjoy a five-star level experience from your own backyard!
Aside from making some very happy children with full bellies, cooking together will allow you the opportunity to teach your children how to care for themselves, how to choose foods that are healthy and nutritious, and will help to train them to pay careful attention to the little details. Recipes can be incredibly complex and intricate; starting with simple recipes, before graduating to more challenging dishes, is a great way for your kids to develop both skill and confidence as they learn to care for themselves.
Let your children help you cook as much as is feasible and safe, dependent on their age. Even if you don’t want them slicing onions or lighting the grill, they can help you measure spices or stir ingredients together. Make them the primary reader to make sure you’re using the right amount of ingredients per the recipe, or the clock watcher to make sure you’re not overcooking.
All in the Family
Spending time as a family doesn’t have to be an expensive, logistics-heavy affair. You don’t have to constantly go to exotic places and empty your wallet just to connect with your loved ones. Instead, think about the suggestions we’ve discussed, and come up with your own ideas to make memories that your family will treasure long after the adventure is over.
How do you like to spend family time together?