Cheap Thrills


Family days are the best days. But finding budget-friendly activities that the whole family agrees on can be quite a challenge.

Ready for a day of family festivities? Leave your wallets behind—these fun activities prove that the best things in life are free.

Game Night

Break out your favorite deck of cards, board game or grab a pen and some paper for a makeshift Pictionary match. Playing games together as a family is interactive and loads of fun—just keep your eyes peeled for the cheaters of the bunch!

Make a Time Capsule

Find an old box to repurpose, and have each member of the family gather an item that represents what they value the most. It can be anything: a newspaper, photographs, an old toy or a trophy. Afterward, put it all in the box, tape it up securely and write a date in the future for when you plan to open it. You’ll enjoy reminiscing on these memories down the road as a family.

Have a Film Festival

Have each family member select their favorite movie and binge watch all of them. Settle for whatever snacks you have on hand, and cozy up under some blankets—your feature film begins in three, two, one.

Camp Out

Borrow gear from friends if you don’t own a sleeping bag and tent. Visit a national or local park to relax under the stars, or tell stories around a bonfire. Make it a competition to see who can go the longest without checking for cell service! Loser packs up camp.

Camp In

The great outdoors not your thing? Collect every chair, pillow and blanket you can find, and create a fort large enough to fit the whole family.

Dance Party

Crank up the tunes, and break it down with mom, dad and the whole gang! Pandora and the iHeartRadio app have free stations for you to practice (and teach) the newest dance crazes. Invite the neighbors if you’re feeling brave.

Plan a Vacation

Studies have shown that the anticipation of a fun event typically brings more joy than the event itself. Agree on, and plan out next year’s family vacation. Not only will this advance planning save you money, but it gives you more time to get excited for the trip.

Make a Meal

Open the pantry and make something from the ingredients you already have. Put some in charge of dinner and others in charge of dessert. This simple cookie recipe only calls for three staple ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg

Combine peanut butter, sugar and egg together in a bowl. Refrigerate for one hour, or until firm. Roll into 1-inch balls on a cookie sheet. Press balls down with a fork, making crosshatch marks. Bake at 350˚F for 6-8 minutes.

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