This was a guest post written by Stephanie Lynch -- the co-founder of howmuchisit.org.
Taking your children to the zoo, movies or baseball game can really add up. Each of these activities could easily surpass the $100 mark, placing a decent dent in your monthly budget.
Who says you need to spend $100 each time you take your kids out? If you have this mindset, it's time to stop thinking this way because there are so many great things you can do out there with your children for less than $5.
No matter where you live, I can guarantee you there arecountless things to do for less than $5.
1. The local state park
Most state parks will cost very little to enter, and if you have one nearby, you may want to see what they have to offer. Most state parks will have a slew of activities, which may include lakes for fishing, hiking trails, nature centers and playgrounds.
2. Go bowling
Bowling doesn't have to be expensive if you know where to look. Sign your kids up at KidsBowlFree.com, and they will be entitled to two free games at a local participating bowling alley. By the time you throw in the shoe rentals, it should be less than $5 per child.
3. Learn about birds
Pick up a pair of binoculars, a bird guide and head to your local park to watch birds. This is a fun way to educate your child about birds and even maybe help you learn about them as well. Make it a game and create a bingo-like checklist for the birds in your area.
4. Visit the public library
If you haven't taken advantage of your public library in a while, you may want to set aside a few hours to do so. Most public libraries have thousands of books, DVDs, computer games, and yes, even some have video games you can borrow for free. Most libraries also hold events daily or weekly for your children such as crafting, painting or building with Lego blocks. To find out about these activities, visit the library's official website for more information.
5. Movies in the park
During the warmer months, many local Parks and Recreation departments hold movies in the park. Churches may also offer the event as well. Free of charge, this is a great way to sit under the stars while watching a newly released movie.
6. Home Depot workshops
Did you know the Home Depot offers free workshops every first Saturday of the month? Projects can range from anywhere from a toolbox to a holiday craft. Be sure to register on the website if you want to take advantage.
7.Cheap movie theater
If you live in a larger city, you may be lucky enough to have a $1 or $2 movie theater. Even if you don't, many of your large chains may hold free or discounted movies on certain days. Check your local movie theater's website to see if any promotions exist.
8. Go camping in the backyard
Take advantage of your large backyard if you have room for a fire pit and tent. Set aside a night and pretend like you're camping for the night. This could include roasting hot dogs on the grill, followed by some tasty smores.
9. Visit the fire station
Local fire stations commonly have open houses or even let you visit if you let them know. This is a great way to talk with your local firefighters, learn about what they do and even sit inside the fire truck. Some stations may even take you for a spin around the block.
10. Trip to the dollar store
Chances are you have a few dollar stores in the area, and if one is within a reasonable distance, hand your kid a few dollars and let them pick out a few things. Most dollar store chains have a range of coloring books, toys and even crafts.
11. Working farm tour
Rural areas often have lots of farms, and some allow you to come and visit with reservations. Try to avoid the touristy farms and look for a smaller one without the touristy feel. Generally, these farms can be found online or by asking some local neighbors on Facebook.