51 ways to have fun with your family
this summer for little or no money.
©2006 Judy H. Wright, Parent Educator and Family Coach. www.artichokepress.com, Missoula, MT.

1. Take a hike. Go around the block, up the mountain, down the trail or under the elm trees. Ideally, we should all be walking 10,000 steps a day.
2. Ride bikes. If the adults don’t have bikes, borrow them from the neighbor kids.
3. Have a scavenger hunt. Divide in teams and look for items in your house, yard or neighborhood that begin with the first letter of your name.
4. Have a treasure hunt. An adult hides clues all over the neighborhood and the rest of the family searches for them and a treasure that everyone can enjoy.
5. Hide coins in a room or area you want to have thoroughly cleaned. As the family finds the coins they are deposited in a hat and then used to buy movie tickets for the matinee or ice cream for everyone.
6. Have a garage sale. It not only cleans out closets, but it helps the kids with math, sorting, organizing, selling, negotiating and making change.
7. Plant a garden. If you don’t have room either plant a flower box or planter with a tomato plant in the middle and lettuce around the edge. You will grow your own salad all summer.
8. Have a sleep out in the back yard.
9. Build a birdhouse. Check with your local building store about free clinics for the kids. Home Depot offers one every other Saturday, so sign up early.
10. Build a tree house. This is a wonderful family project that incorporates lots of life skills in the planning and executing of a hideout in the branches of a big old tree in your yard! A real memory maker.
11. Play hopscotch. Draw the grid on the sidewalk and challenge your child to see who can win by balancing on one foot.
12. Play tag, Red Rover, hide and seek, kickball or just run around and chase each other.
13. Teach each other how to dance the “in” dance of your generation.
14. Jump rope.
15. Put on a play. Invite the neighborhood
16. Write life stories.
17. Build a model.
18. Start a collection.
19. Restore an old car.
20. Paint a mural on the garage.
21. Write thank you notes to public officials who make your community safe and a great place to live: firemen, police, teachers, principals, mayors etc.
22. Serve food at the homeless shelter.
23. Gather food for the food pantry in your community.
24. Pick up litter along a stretch of road.
25. Visit a national monument.
26. Go fishing.
27. Dig worms, use them for fishing and put the rest back in the earth to make better soil for your garden.
28. Have a picnic at a free band concert in the park.
29. Volunteer to usher at a play or music recital and get in free.
30. Shoot some hoops with the kids at the schoolyard.
31. Check out videos at the library. Or check out an audio book and listen to it together while you drive. Be sure to talk about it afterward, so that you can discuss the issues and ideas it sparked.
32. Learn to crochet, knit or do needlework. Don’t know how? Ask a neighbor to teach you.
33. Spend the day working in the yard of an elderly neighbor.
34. Visit the nursing homes and listen to the stories of the elders there.
35. Take a walk through the cemetery and remember the people who used to live in your community.
36. Easter egg hunt. No matter what time of year, it is always fun to find the colored eggs. Fill them with coupons, candy or coins for a visit to the ice cream store.
37. Pipe Cleaner People. Give everyone a package of pipe cleaners and them make up a family, including animals and then tell a story.
38. Build a fort with blankets, clothespins and a clothesline. Or drape blankets over the backs of chairs.
39. Run through the sprinkler.
40. Water fights are some of the funniest summer fun. Now there are water balls made from sponge that are a blast to splat!
41. Board games are always enjoyable, if everyone can remember the object is to have fun not compete for who wins the most. Remember, what we are aiming for is communication, not competition.
42. Card games are a great pastime for all family members. Games like “Go Fish” “Hearts” and “Uno” are fun for everyone over six years old. Even three year olds love “Old Maid.”
43. A wonderful memory game made with photos of family was a favorite for years with our children. We had duplicate snapshots made of family members and then laminated each one on the back of a playing card. When they were shuffled and laid facedown, each player had a turn trying to remember where the matching pairs would be. .
44. Make your own piñata. Cover a large balloon with strips of newspaper dipped in a mixture of flour, water and white glue. Allow the strips to dry before making another layer. This is a long process, so be prepared for a mess for a week or so.
45. Work on projects to enter in the fair. Entries may receive a blue ribbon!
46. Read a book together. Take turns reading each chapter or page.
47. Do a jigsaw puzzle. Leave it out for a while so the whole family can work on it.
48. Buy coloring books and new crayons at the dollar store. Everyone color and have an art show.
49. Drive down side roads and see what you have been missing.
50. Go swimming in the creek, river, ocean or plastic pool in the backyard.
51. Watch the sunset together and count your blessings. Always end every day on a positive note and nothing makes you more grateful that recognizing how blessed and fortunate you are to have a group of people who love you unconditionally. Tell each other thank you often.

For more ideas order the booklet: Playful Parenting, More Than Just Fun & Games from http://www.artichokepress.com You will also find many other parenting techniques, reports, books and trainings by parent educator and family coach, Judy H. Wright at the website or by calling (406) 549-9813 to schedule Mrs. Wright for workshops or speeches see JudyWright@MontanaSpeakers.com

Author's Bio: 

Judy H. Wright is a life educator and author based in beautiful Missoula, Montana. Please go to the website http://www.ArtichokePress.com for free articles which will assist you in finding the heart of the story in the journey of life. To contact Judy for speaking at your organization, call 406.549.9813.