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10 Family fun nights under $20

In the age of texting, tweeting, blogging and skyping, families can go days without face-to-face conversations. That’s why planning regular family bonding time is more important than ever.

Air Hockey

Worried about the cost of family nights? Don’t be. We’ve put together a list of 10 frugal family fun ideas guaranteed to bring the family together for less.

All-star family fun

Rooting on your city’s professional sports team as a family can be a lot of fun — and cost a lot of money. Satisfy the sports fanatics in your family by checking out a minor league, college or high school game. The entrance fees are inexpensive, as are snacks. Bonus — if you attend a high school game, you can typically pay one entrance fee to see both the boys’ and girls’ teams play. Go team!

Get cultured

Did you know that many museums offer at least one free day each month? Some offer discounted evenings, plus special family pricing and activities. Get acquainted with a new museum and spend an evening learning together as a family.

Bon appetit!

Eating out as a family can be a pricey affair. So why not bring the restaurant to your kitchen? Start by picking a theme and a simple entrée. Then, assign family members to certain tasks like decorations, food prep and clean-up. Dinner will taste even better knowing the entire family was part of the effort!

>> Fun themes for family dinnertime

BoogIE down

Dance the night away as a family by attending a free concert at a local park. Check your local community calendar for upcoming musical performances, ranging from reggae to classical music. Bring your own picnic, a blanket and some folding chairs, then sit back and relax!

>> Best free family activities in the US

Earn your pizza

Teach your family the importance of giving by spending an afternoon volunteering together. Then, celebrate your accomplishments with a pizza dinner. Find the right volunteer opportunity for your family by searching on a site like VolunteerMatch. Simply enter your location and keywords of interest to find the right cause for your family.

Backyard bonanza

Turn your backyard into a camping adventure. Pitch a tent (if you have one), or set up a few blankets or sleeping bags on the lawn. Watch the stars, share scary stories and serve up delicious s’mores.

>> Summer fun: 20 outdoor family activities

Game on

Pac-Man, air hockey and Dance Dance Revolution are calling your name! Pack up the family and head to your local family fun zone, Chuck E. Cheese or Dave & Busters to play arcade games. Give each child (and spouse!) $2 to 3 in quarters, and let them play until the money runs out.

Watch a movie under the stars

Have a blast from the past by spending your next family night watching cinema al fresco. Drive-in movies are a frugal and fun alternative to mainstream theaters, offering extra-large movie screens and two movies for the cost of one admission. Prices vary, though children under 11 are usually free. Check for your nearest location.

Get active

The family that plays together stays together, right? Then get ready to work it! Find a well-lit tennis or basketball court and challenge the family to a game. Or, stay indoors and shoot hoops and snowboard while playing Wii Sports. Either way, introduce a friendly wager, like taking over one’s chores for the week, to encourage a little friendly competition.

>> 6 Fun Wii games for family night

Enjoy a sweet treat

Save money by fixing dinner at home, then treating the family to something sweet. Look out for special deals like Baskin Robbins’ 31-cent Scoop Night, or Ben & Jerry’s annual Free Cone Day. Or, grab a few slices of your family’s favorite cheesecake, apple pie or chocolate cake to end the night on a sweet note.

More ideas for family fun

Guide to family attractions at

Super Moms’ guide to fun family activities

15 Free family activities

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