If you’re looking for a way to create special memories or spend time together as a family, Saturday afternoons offer plenty of opportunities. For ready-made activities, most communities have family-friendly events such as carnivals and art fairs to choose from. Or for a more personalized adventure, make your own fun by exploring, getting physical or helping others -- together.
Check your community calendar of events via your city or town's website or local newspaper to discover festivals and gatherings geared toward families; then visit one or more to enjoy great food, people and experiences. If you like to cook, find out if there is a local farmers market to pick up seasonal fruits and vegetables grown in your region. Then use the fresh foods to give some new recipes a try. Or make your afternoon a social one: join with friends to attend a classic film festival that shows movies adults and children can enjoy together.
After a busy week of work and school, getting outside can be a great way to unwind and connect. Hiking trails in local parks or nature preserves are a good way to spend time together. Toni Klym McLellan, on Parents.com, recommends snapping photos on your hike, or consider starting an observation notebook for tracking animals, insects, flowers or other areas of interest you see on your excursion. If your older kids like treasure hunts, geocaching is a real-world outdoor version using your GPS to find containers other people have filled with small prizes, hidden and listed at Geocaching.com. For a more low-key undertaking, consider a bike ride through the neighborhood, or visit a nature center on a rainy day to enjoy the outdoors without getting wet.
No need to travel far to find fun when your own city has so much to offer. Trent Hamm has listed over 100 things to do for free during the weekend on thesimpledollar.com. He suggests taking a walking tour of “interesting historical and cultural sites in your town.” Hamm also recommends enjoying free-to-the-public days for museums and science centers. Another idea for exploring your community is a digital scavenger hunt. Make a list of local places or sites to find, then divide into groups -- maybe one parent and child versus another parent and child -- to find everything on the list.
For a meaningful afternoon that offers a chance to make a difference in your community and teach your children valuable lessons in compassion, consider volunteering as a family. If your children are interested in animals, check with your local rescue organization or shelter to see how you can help. Share your green thumb by working together with a local gardening club to help beautify your town or plant food for food cupboards. Cynthia Hochswender on Parents.com points out that children of all ages can join in to make a difference in this way. Two other ways to volunteer as a family: serving at a soup kitchen or organizing a community cleanup.