Low Cost Activities
Family outings start with the kids being involved with the planning
They can learn:
• Organizational skills
Send Shirlee suggestions for family outings, and she’ll list them here, and credit you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Local gardens, zoos and museums – all ages
Most have a monthly free day. Call to find out when.
Preparation: Learn about the exhibits, animals, plants, flowers in the garden or museum. Additional activities (depending on ages): Additional activities range from drawing pictures to writing a report worthy of using at school for an assignment.
College/University campus – all ages
Beautiful, spacious and well-kept grounds. This adventure offers the opportunity for kids to see first-hand where they are headed in the future. Discoveries are endless and the kids can turn their dreams into reality.
Preparation: Research the history of the school. What famous people attended. Athletes? Actors/Actresses? Journalist? The possibilities are endless.
Tour your civic center – ages 4-11
Give your kids the chance to know more about the city or town where they live –
Pre-activity: Reading about what makes a city work. Learning how to make a route map and adding to it all the places you will see.
Take a walk – all ages
Walk and talk. Finding out what’s around the corner in your neighborhood might be worth discovering.
Books, Books, Books
Libraries provide computers, internet access and more books than the kids can ever read.
Book store – all ages
Bookstores have a wonderful children’s section. You don’t have to buy anything but can spend hours with the kids reading books in a great environment.
Pet store/animal shelter – ages 2-10
Ethnic festivals – ages 2-20 Learn about other cultures festivals offer music, costumed dancers, and information booths. Money can change hands on this one as there is food (you can always take your own picnic lunch) and games and trinkets to buy.
Bird Watching – all ages
It’s nature calls time at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Preserve as the birds are flying south for the winter. Bring binoculars and wander toward the park’s lake to spy on migrating birds. Print out a chart of local species and try to spot them. Woodley Ave off Victory Blvd, Van Nuys. (818)765-9710.
Take A Ride – ages 5-10
A ride in the car can take on new importance when the activity of routing the venture is given to the kids. A tour of the town looking for specific landmarks is an excellent no-cost (well, gasoline) experience. 5-10
Get on the bus – ages 4-7
If you regularly use public transportation this isn’t for you. But for those holed up in their cars, a ride on Metrolink, bus or subway is a real thrill for youngsters. You don’t necessarily have to have a destination, either.
The show must go on – ages 7 – up
Reduced ticket prices for major theatrical performances are often available. Call performing arts centers for information on when and how reduced tickets are available.
Movies – ages 5 – up (only G rated)
Some families still enjoy GOING to movies. You don’t have to take all the children on the same movie day. This makes a special one-to-one outing. It reduces cost of activity. Only go to bargain matinees. AND most important DO NOT go to the snack bar. Get a treat somewhere after leaving the theater!
Butterflies – all ages
(1) Visit the Smithsonian Butterfly Pavilion on the second floor of the National Museum of Natural History, 10th St and Constitution Ave, N.W., Washington D.C. Open: 10am-5:30pm daily. Admission: The museum is free; the butterfly habitat is $6 for adults; $5 for children ages 2-12; $5.50 seniors 60+. No charge on Tuesday. For info and ticket reservation, call (202)633-1000 or visitwww.butterflies.si.edu/tickets/index.htm
(2) From late October to early March, Monarch Beach in Central California is the gathering site for millions of Monarch butterflies that swarm from Canada, the western United States and Mexico. Visitwww.pacificgrove.org/dirpages/butterflywatching.htm
Grocery shopping – ages 5 – up
You’re doing this anyway. Make it an activity where the kids can make a meaningful contribution instead of being whiners at the checkout. Here’s how: they assist in preparing list! Each child has a food category they are responsible for finding at the store (produce, dairy, coupon items, etc..) Predetermine how much each category might cost! Talk about what you have to spend. Include payment options – cash, check, credit card, ATM!.