Family Fun for Less

By Barbara Bietz


dad and soinThe tight economy is hitting families hard, but cutting back doesn’t mean cutting out the fun. With a little planning, there are many resources for families.

The Library

Borrowing books from the library is an obvious money saver. Most libraries also have a great selection of DVD and VHS movies. You can save on rental fees and choose a movie for every member of the family. Libraries also offer internet access at no cost. Be sure to check the events calendar, too. Libraries are not just for story time. You might be surprised to discover your branch offers book clubs, teen activities, lectures, holiday events, and more.

Friend’s Exchange

Toys and games are expensive but that doesn’t stop kids from getting bored. Host an exchange night where kids can bring items they no longer play with to swap with others. It’s a chance to clean out your closets and get some new items for the kids without spending a penny.

Parks and Recreation

Extra-curricular classes can cost a small fortune. Check out your local park and recreations office. They often offer low cost classes for adults and children. From yoga to art – there is something for everyone in the family.

Parent Experts

Consider organizing activities with other parents. No doubt there are many experts in your neighborhood. Is there a local dad who is a great gardener? A mom who is a graphic artist or master seamstress? Maybe a teen who is a terrific baker? Many parents are thrilled to share their expertise with a group of children. Families can take turns hosting a guest “teacher.”

Local Sites

Many museums offer free admission on certain days of the week. Do an internet search for activities in your town and you will be amazed at what you have been missing!

Give Back

In these troubles times, local charities are really taking a hit. There is so much help needed – from pet rescues to food banks. Volunteering is free – and a great way for kids to learn about their community.

Barbara Bietz

Barbara Bietz, -Childrens' Books and Movie Section, is a children's author, magazine writer, children's book reviewer, and past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. She loves talking about the creative process, books and the craft of writing. Her middle-grade chapter book, LIKE a MACCABEE,(Yotzeret Publishing) is a PJ Library selection. Barbara reviews books and movies and has contributed to numerous print and online publications. She also teaches writing classes for adults. Learn more about Barbara at
Barbara Bietz

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