What is family entertainment? First, let’s take a look at the definition of these two words.
Entertainment – Something that diverts, amuses, or occupies the attention agreeably.
Family – A group of people living together and functioning as a single household.
Seems pretty self-explanatory, doesn’t it? So why do we spend so much time sprawled out in front of the TV watching Seinfeld, while the kids are in another room doing their thing? Can’t a group of people living together and functioning as a single household find something that diverts, amuses or occupies the attention agreeably?
There are many obvious, inexpensive ways to entertain your family, such as watching movies or going to the park. I want to share a few less obvious ideas. I hope you give some of them a try or maybe it will get your imagination going and help you find your own ideas.
Make A Rock Garden
This one requires a bit of forethought and planning. Mark out a small area in your yard. Remove the grass and weeds, then cover the area with black plastic. A few garbage bags will do the trick. Now, grab your buckets and go rock hunting. We like to visit creeks and streams but we have found some great rocks just lying by the side of the road. Save the prettiest rocks to put on top. We decorated ours with some bright, glass marbles.
Role Reversal Day
The kids love this one, especially teenagers. You be the kid and they get to give the orders. This is a great way to spend a Saturday morning.
Local Sports Teams
If your kids are teenagers, take them to watch the little kids playing ball. If your kids are little, take them to watch the high school teams. If you are lucky enough to live in a city with a minor league team, go support them. Sports are great community events. We love to watch the little kids learning to play.
This one requires an initial expenditure. You can buy a toy karaoke machine pretty cheap and it works great. Invite the neighbors and grandparents over and have a karaoke sing-a-long. The best thing about karaoke is that no one can say they aren’t singing because they don’t know the words.
A scavenger hunt is a lot of fun. You have to put some thought into planning it and there are some great online sources to help you. Try this HUD site for ideas. Tailor your scavenger hunt to fit your area and team small children up with adults or older teens.
Flea Markets, Craft Shows, Yard Sales & Swap Meets
I grouped these similar ideas together. At any of these events, it’s generally free to look and you can spend several hours searching for bargains. To keep smaller children from getting bored, give them some pocket change and teach them to haggle prices for what they want. Pack a cooler with water, juice and snacks to keep costs to a minimum.
This one doesn’t require any special equipment. You can make a tent with sheets and use old blankets for sleeping bags. Fire up your grill. After you cook hamburgers or hotdogs, you can use the residual heat to roast marshmallows. Better yet, make S’mores. Sit around a candle and tell ghost stories. Pretend you’re Grizzly Adams and one of the kids is the bear cub. Use your imagination.
Arts and Crafts Day
Children are naturally crafty. They like to get their hands dirty and make stuff. You can use a things you all ready have around the house to make some interesting things. Check out FamilyCorner for some great ideas to get you started.
Put on a Play
Choose something short and simple. Don’t worry about memorizing, let everyone read their parts. Use old clothes for costumes and save boxes to make props. Search online for free one-act plays and print them out yourself. When you’re ready, invite the relatives over for the final production.
Library or Bookstore
In our area, local libraries have story reading and story telling days. Story telling days are great for all ages and it’s fun to get up in front of everyone and tell a story your own way. It’s also great to listen to the amateur story tellers. Bookstores often have promotional events and other free events.
I understand that not everyone likes the same thing, but with a little effort and a little planning, you can have fun on the cheap.