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Affordable things for large families to do?!


Forum: Large Families

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  • 1 Post By UrbanMomma
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  #1  
June 20th, 2013, 05:56 AM
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Hi, my name is Kody and my fiancé and I have 6 children. With it being summer, all 6 of our children are home and Brad and I are having a hard time finding affordable ways to keep the children entertained. We live in Georgia so during the day being outside, if not at the pool can be unbearable, but to go to the pool or to any indoor play place is terribly expensive for us. I need ideas of places or things we can do to help break up the kids day and keep them busy!
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  #2  
June 20th, 2013, 07:34 AM
UrbanMomma's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Hi, welcome here.

We are always trying to find free, or near free, things to do to keep kids occupied. We have invested in a large soft sided pool in our own backyard, a decent swingset a bball hoop, bikes and other sporting equipment. Everything is just soooooo expensive.


When it is really hot we are limited too. We try to hit some of the parks that have splash pads, but they get so busy. We bought the year round pass to the metro parks (lakes) too, but the price of gas is enough to keep us from there often too.

I have even tried googling "free and low cost things to do in ------------ (your area)" but it didn't come up with much. Mostly museums and library events.

Good luck, I'm not much help.
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  #3  
June 20th, 2013, 12:02 PM
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It's hard to do things when you do have a big family. There are 8 of us total. To go to the closest community pool, it costs us at least $40. We can't go to the children's museum or zoo or anything like that because we end up paying over $100! We usually try and stay home most of the day and go to the park at night when it cools down but during the day the kids are restless. I have also looked for free or reduced things to do and it's impossible to find!
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  #4  
June 20th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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Hi and welcome. We have 6dc as well.
Does your zoo have a family membership option? I buy the family membership for ours, by the time we go twice...maybe even just once, it's paid for itself. Our local science center and another museum do this as well. That gives us something to do year round, whenever we want.
We have a splash park that after, I think, 5 is cheaper. It's at a beach where if you pay 20-25$ you get a year pass to all the metro parks and they all have beaches that then are free.
We have 2 swingsets, a trampoline (make sure you have an enclosure and it's zipped, if anyone is in it)
several power wheels (we found ours on craigslist) they are about 3-4 hundred new in the store, 1-150 (hundred) on craigslist. Sometimes they need parts, but you can typically order them online or batteries which are available at toys r us.
Local parks
Does your mall have an indoor play area? That's good for hot days.
Sprinkler.
a pool whatever size would be good for your family. Last year we had 2. 1 bigger one for the older dc. Got a GREAT deal. Had points from our bank, used them to get toys r us gift cards, used those to buy a huge inflatable water toy, pool was free gift with the purchase. Then we bought a little one for the little ones.
and of course....video games my older boys spend WAY too much time playing them. I did get some dance games and I have found that if my teen dd and I play one in the evening, the boys will join. That at least gets them up and moving.
Local library and they usually have story times that are free.

Our first vacation this summer is over 4th of july and we are going camping....cheaper than a hotel if you have tents. If not search craigslist.
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  #5  
June 20th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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We used to have a family membership to the zoo. This year we couldn't afford it. The zoo changed the rules and limited a family to 6 children. Well, for this summer that would leave half the kids out. On top of the $80 membership we would have had to add 5 individuals at an extra $10 a piece. We couldn't afford that.

Family "deals" for everything are usually aimed at families of four, and then you have to pay additional, which with 10, almost 11 kids, it makes everything beyond expensive.
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  #6  
June 20th, 2013, 05:30 PM
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We used to have a family membership to both the zoo and the children's museum in Atlanta but didn't renew it when the pass expired in April. We had a swing set too but about two weeks ago during a really bad storm, a huge tree fell and crushed both our swing set and the new tent we got. The tent was up in the back yard because we had camped out for Memorial Day�� we do use the sprinkler and a small kiddy pool a good but though and the kids do like that. I just wish there were ways we could take them out of our house and environment more so they could experience something new. I do like the idea of looking on Craigslist for 4-wheeler type things. We have a huge and rugged backyard that is perfect for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanMomma View Post
We used to have a family membership to the zoo. This year we couldn't afford it. The zoo changed the rules and limited a family to 6 children. Well, for this summer that would leave half the kids out. On top of the $80 membership we would have had to add 5 individuals at an extra $10 a piece. We couldn't afford that.

Family "deals" for everything are usually aimed at families of four, and then you have to pay additional, which with 10, almost 11 kids, it makes everything beyond expensive.
I cannot imagine how you manage 10 children! I have 6 and some days I think I am ready to commit myself to the nut house! Kuddos to you!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanMomma View Post
We used to have a family membership to the zoo. This year we couldn't afford it. The zoo changed the rules and limited a family to 6 children. Well, for this summer that would leave half the kids out. On top of the $80 membership we would have had to add 5 individuals at an extra $10 a piece. We couldn't afford that.

Family "deals" for everything are usually aimed at families of four, and then you have to pay additional, which with 10, almost 11 kids, it makes everything beyond expensive.
I cannot imagine how you manage 10 children! I have 6 and some days I think I am ready to commit myself to the nut house! Kuddos to you!!!
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  #7  
June 20th, 2013, 05:38 PM
~mommy~'s Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Or rubberbands.
Twins rubber bands game makes them crack up, goes viral - UPI.com
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  #8  
June 21st, 2013, 08:36 AM
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Welcome! We have 10 kids, 13 down to 7 weeks. My siggy is old, sorry.

We have a little waterfall within a mile of us, and a river with a little beach, so we use those two things a lot. The kids all have bikes, so we take bike rides in the morning/evening when it's cooler. We also have 3 four wheelers that the kids love to use. We garden, so they each have a section to keep weeded. We did that last night as a family.

Yesterday, we made nap sacks like hobos and walked the train tracks, "jumped" off, than had a picnic at the park. The kids are homeschooled and we have been learning about the hobos and depression, so it fit it. Our kids are not embarrassed easily and have fun doing weird things . I don't think I've ever heard them complain of being bored. Today its raining, so they are inside. They set up an orphanage and our playing that.

I'm not sure if that's helpful, but it's what we do.
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  #9  
June 21st, 2013, 06:13 PM
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Check the library. Our summer reading program has a number of events...a magic show, art classes, etc. All free. Plus the reading of course.

We do the memberships when we go places...even with just a family of six total it is often almost as much to get in to places one time as to pay the membership.

Check local churches...I have my kids going to two different vacation Bible schools. One is free, and one was $10 a kid. Even for the $10 one they said to just let them know if you couldn't afford it.

Also check and see if your local Parks and Rec has anything going on and if they have any sliding fees or what not.
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  #10  
June 25th, 2013, 10:04 AM
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We use our library and parks department quite a lot.

Also, look into reciprocal membership agreements. Over Christmas, we went to the Outer Banks, NC for a family vacation. We visited the Manteo aquarium 3 times (which would have been $84 with the kids ages at that time) and a 2 year membership was $100, which sounds like taking a loss (since we don't live in NC) but we found out that membership includes free membership to the Shed Aquarium in Chicago (near where we live) AND to our favorite little zoo AND to the Lincoln Park zoo in Chicago, and to tons of other zoos and aquariums around the country. So, we got the 2 year membership for $100, and just last week took everyone to the Shed for free--that ONE visit normally would have been over $100! Our little zoo is only about $2 per person and has free parking and allows picnics, so it was already a favorite on our list of affordable family activities, but with the reciprocal membership it's now completely free! So, maybe consider doing some research about what places in your area that you WANT to visit, and see if they have reciprocal memberships with other less expensive facilities, even in other states, because we're loving the NC Aquariums deal--I mean, seriously? $100 for a TWO YEAR membership for the whole family? The Shed is $200 for 1 year and you have to add extra once you pass a certain kid threshold. So it's worth it to look into deals like that.

Also, we have a good variety of state and local parks that have free admission and we take picnics and hike, which is free. And our local parks have free concerts and movies in the park nearly every week in the summer.

Last summer we started a local map project that we're expanding this summer where we visit different parks, play grounds, mini golf, etc, take pictures, write up a little summary and put pins in a large local map we have about where these places were and rate our favorites at the end of the summer to re-visit before school starts. Our local history museum started handing out maps for walking tours that have been fun and free.

Berry or peach picking can take up the better part of the morning and then you can all make pies and jams together and freeze/can them. Combine that with an appropriate selection of library books about homesteading or "olden days" or the science behind different types of food preservation and you have a very "teachable moment." (not to mention a freezer and pantry full of delicious jams and pies to enjoy all year!)

We've got our kids started on some container gardening along side our larger garden which is inexpensive and actually yields a financial and health benefit to us while giving the kids something to do and making them more interested in their veggies.

If they are old enough, there might also be some volunteer opportunities in your area that they would enjoy, like maybe an animal shelter or horse rescue?
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  #11  
June 25th, 2013, 10:26 AM
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you all have great ideas!!!!! i would say this: i bought a book called 'fun and educational places to go with kids and adults in southern california', written by susan peterson. that $15 was so valuable. it lists EVERYTHING in my greater area that is free to disneyland, which is far from free! we learned about all sorts of things that are here that i would have never known about. i would hope that maybe there are similar books for your area too?

the website is ' www.funplaces.com' although i have not been on it.
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  #12  
June 30th, 2013, 12:45 AM
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Really look into memberships. Ours don't have limits on the amount of kids. We have a membership to a petting farm, gardens and dinosaur museum. This yr we got a zoo membership. We only had to go once for it to pay for itself. The nice thing about memberships is their events. Our zoo has two nights a month where they stay open late for members. Its worth it just for this perk in the summer when its way too hot for a pg mom to walk anywhere! Plus we get to see all the nocturnal animals wake up. My kids got roared at by a lion. Highlight of the week! This week at the dinosaur museum we got into a free 3D movie. Even with our pass it would normally cost $30 for our family. I've taken the girls to see a movie there, but I would never pay for my little ones to attend. With our museum membership we can get in anyone for 1/2 off. We've been able to have affordable birthday parties this way.

Check and see if there is a local free/discount list. I'm on an email list that alerts me to fun free things being held in the area. I've gotten free tickets to events before. I once got free $50 tickets for my girls to attend a princess festival through the list.
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