What can I take my kids to do for some cheap family fun?

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Answered by: Chelsea, An Expert in the Fun on a Budget Category
Cheap family fun can sometimes be hard to come by. Theme parks, bowling alleys, and movie theaters are expensive, especially when paying for more than one or two people to get in. However, there are many ways for your family to spend some quality time together with out breaking the bank.

Movie Night

Run by your local dollar store and pick up some popcorn, soda, and candy. Rent a movie or two from a local Red Box. Get comfy on your very own couch or recliner and enjoy! For maximum fun rent movies that are new to everyone in the family and discuss the movie after watching to see the story from each family memeber's point of view. You may be surprised what you missed!

Summer Bowling

During the summer a couple of our local bowling alleys offer kids bowl free. Call your local alley to see if they have a similar program. If so, grab a ball and get rolling!

Science Museum (or Zoo) Membership

Purchase a membership to your local science museum for a gift that keeps on giving. Science museums are fun to visit over and over again and your visits will be educational! Zoo memberships are great also. These are great to give as Christmas presents as they are fun for the whole family, they won't break or get lost, and they take up very little space. As a bonus, many Science Museums and Zoos offer admission to other museums and zoos across the country.

Summer Movies

All of our local movie theaters offer a cheap summer movie program. Children's movies are shown once or twice a week for a very affordable price. The average seems to be $3 per person around here. Many theaters also offer a discount on concessions. Call your theater to see if they offer such a program.


Use Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local, and similar sites to purchase discounted museum, event, or other passes or restaurant vouchers. Remember to read fine print and check out websites and online menus to be sure a deal is right for your family. Combine restaurant vouchers with kids eat free, happy hour, or other discounts if the business will allow it. Be sure to call ahead to find out.


Pack a picnic (or pick up a cheap pizza) and head to the park for a picnic. Bring a frisbee, soccer ball, or kite and get moving after you eat. A sandwich and a good game of catch does wonders for bringing a family closer together.

Game or Puzzle Night

Pick up some new to you games at a thrift store (after checking that the pieces are all there) or a new puzzle from the dollar store and grab some snacks from the pantry. Laughing over a game or working together on a puzzle can provide hours of entertainment to families with slightly older children. When you finish with the game or puzzle donate it so another family can enjoy it.

I hope these ideas for cheap family fun help you create some strong lasting memories with those you love. Everything on this list can be done for under $12 for a family of four which is a small price to pay for quality family time. So what are you waiting for? Plan you next family fun night (or day) right now!

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