This year is the first time in 13 years I have not been teaching as I am now a stay-at-home mom. I do work part-time, mainly from home, but it isn’t a set income. So, in our family, we have had to make some major budget changes. We never had tons of money, but I could go to the store and buy myself an outfit and not feel terrible about it. Going out to dinner for date nights was a common occurrence. Now that our family’s income has been cut in half we do not have any money for frivolous things. I, mean, who really gets a date night when you have two babies at home anyways? 🙂 I will say it has been a bit difficult to adjust, but being home with my children is the most wonderful gift! For today, I thought I would share some ideas for some budget friendly family adventures.
1. The zoo- Now I realize I am lucky to live in an area that has a FREE zoo and FREE parking available. It is a luxury in our area that I absolutely love! We just took our kiddos yesterday to see the new grizzly bear exhibit. We expected them to just be laying around, but as we walked up the two cubs were engaged in some friendly play fighting in the water. It was so amazing!
2. Hiking- We invested in a couple backpacks to carry our kiddos around while we do some hiking. There are several areas near us with trails to forge. Hiking does not have to be an all day investment. Many of the trails around us take around 30 min-1 hour and is more about getting exercise and instilling a love of the outdoors for the kids. My 6 month old just makes little happy sounds the whole time in my ear.
3. Local parks- Kids always love a good playground. Though mine aren’t old enough yet to do much, they can both sit on our laps in a swing and can go down a slide with us. I have seen more and more Splash Parks popping up in the area, too. They are wonderful on those hot summer days when you don’t feel like walking around and they are also FREE!
4. Backyard Camping- You don’t even have to leave your yard to experience an adventure with your kids. The best part about camping in your backyard is when they can’t make it the whole night, you just carry them inside and put them in bed. It isn’t about having a perfect trip. It is about showing them the fun they can have right outside. You can roast marshmallows around the fire and tell stories. Trampolines are wonderful places to do some star gazing!
5. Morel Hunting- We plan to take our kids morel hunting in the spring on our acreage. You can always go to a local conservation area, for FREE, and do the same thing. In the spring, the undergrowth isn’t bad yet so you can walk all around and look for those yummy mushrooms. I can imagine the joy on a kid’s face will be much like the expression I have when stumbling upon one.
6. Rivers and Creeks- I distinctly remember splashing around in creeks when I was a kid and loving it. There is just something about playing in the water that is so fun. While you are there you could even teach them to fish. Look for a deeper hole in the creek and there are probably some sunfish or bluegill there just waiting for a delicious worm to pass by!
7. Visit a local farm- Many local farmers would probably be more than happy to show the kiddos and you around their little farm. The kids generally enjoy seeing the animals. We plan to go visit some people in our area that are just getting into dairy goats. Then we can learn from them before investing in goats ourselves.
8. Picnic- You can spread out a blanket in your front yard and have a lunch prepared in a basket and your kids will think it is so much fun. Maybe you have an extra special treat they don’t normally get or you play a board game while on the blanket. It can be the lunch you would have normally served them, but somehow it tastes better when it is a picnic!
9. Chores- Even outside chores can be an adventure if you are creative. My daughter loves going with us to let the chickens out or riding on the lawnmower with Papa. It also shows them the value of hard work!
10. Collecting items for crafts- Maybe you have the kids collect leaves or pine cones for a craft. Check out my Pinterest board for some fun crafts that can become decorations or even Christmas gifts made by the kiddos.
So there are 10 ideas for outside adventures you can have with your kids. Most of them are free and that is one of my favorite words these days! The key to remember is you are making memories with your kids. They are not going to care how much money was spent. They want to feel loved, to laugh with their parents, and to have fun! What other ideas do you have? Share them in the comments!