Not only is this activity free, but you can also use it help teach your children the value — and enjoyment — of reading. Libraries are wonderful resources for the whole family. If you haven’t been in a while, make it a point to go and visit your local library soon.
Go to the park
In a world of Xbox and Wii, there is no better way to show your kids what it’s like to have fun outside than to take them to a park. Your kids may be surprised at how much enjoyment they can have without a screen.
Go to church
Even if you don’t usually attend, you’ll find yourselves welcome at virtually any church, mosque, synagogue, temple, or other house of worship. Expand your cultural horizons and help your family appreciate and celebrate cultural differences.
Go for a walk
It doesn’t cost anything to usher the kids outside and just take a walk. Walking is great exercise, and any time with your kids is quality time.
Visit an historical site
Not far from your home there is almost certainly a historical site — in fact, there may be many—just waiting for you to visit. Most are just landmarks that have some sort of story associated with them. Visiting such a marker and then following it up with some simple internet research is a fun way to help your kids learn to use the Internet responsibly.
Go to the beach
Even if you don’t live near the ocean, a sandy beach along a river or beside a lake can be just as much fun for kids.
Build a snowman
This may not be an option everyday. However, if the conditions are right, your kids will never forget the time mom or dad helped them make the world’s best snowman.
The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is almost magical. Foster that with plenty of visits.
Attend community events
Most communities have a variety of free, regularly scheduled events, from concerts to book readings. There is usually something happening, as long as you know where to look. Make sure you’re on the email notification list for the community centers with activities near you.
Take your kids out to the tennis court, play some basketball, or kick a soccer ball around the yard. It doesn't really matter what sports you play, only that your playing. Not only will you burn calories and teach your children to do the same, but you’ll have more fun than doing your workouts alone.
This is a short list to get you thinking, but there are an endless number of fun and inexpensive things you can do with your kids. Most of these activities will be more fun for them than going to the mall, and they’re all better on your pocketbook.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.