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Feature Article


Family playing chase in a parkFun things to do for little or no cost

Kim Allen, Ph.D., M.F.T., former Director, Center on Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy & Parenting; Christina Crawford, M.A., former Extension Associate, University of Missouri Extension


Spending time and enjoying activities together is important for creating and nurturing strong relationships. Having a healthy couple relationship or a good relationship with a close friend can help decrease stress. It is especially important to engage in joyous and meaningful activities when money is tight, as money is one of the most stressful issues for families.


Luckily, having fun does not necessarily mean spending a lot of money. In fact, most families say their best memories are about the quality of the time together. The key is to plan regular times to be together and have fun. Here is a list of low-cost activities for having fun together.


  • Rent a movie and watch it together.
  • Go swimming at a nearby lake or public pool.
  • Play a board game or a game of cards.
  • Go camping.
  • Go to a matinee movie at the theater.
  • Have a picnic at a local park or on your living room floor.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Watch a favorite TV show together.
  • Visit the local library.
  • Have a candlelit dinner at home.
  • Go to a local park — play on the swings, play basketball or just sit on a park bench.
  • Cook a meal together.
  • Visit a museum or historical site.
  • Browse a local flea market.
  • Grow a garden.


Check your local newspaper, parks and recreation department and Chamber of Commerce to find out about other events or attractions in your area.


Adapted from Connecting For Families curriculum


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Last Updated 07/11/2016