With the weather warming up and spring in full bloom, staying indoors is getting even harder. While there are plenty of activities to do at home, getting out of the house on the weekend can be a refreshing change—especially with so many of us working and going to school from home already. If you're on a budget, scope out some local places you can visit; chances are, there are tons of low-cost or even free things to do in your city or state that are both safe and fun. Just be sure to check your local and state health guidelines first.
Here are some of the budget-friendly things you can do with your family this weekend, according to parents in the know.
1. Head to the park for a picnic.
A picnic is a great way to spend some time outdoors with your kids. Trent Hamm, columnist and founder of the personal finance site The Simple Dollar, says outdoor activities like picnics are great because they allow for social distancing. "Outdoor activities, especially ones that are naturally socially distanced, are always great ideas, and many of them are frugal. You can plan and assemble the meal together, pack a picnic basket or backpack, and find a beautiful spot that's socially distanced," Hamm tells Parents.
2. Go to a yard or estate sale.
Look for a yard or estate sale happening in your area that you can shop. Teresa Britton, owner and editor of MomsWhoSave.com, says her kids loved garage sales when they were little and could spend all day shopping one. "I gave them a little bit of money and let them decide what to buy. For them, it was a treasure hunt, since there are usually lots of toys and games for sale," Britton tells Parents. Another option? Have your own garage sale for a mini business lesson and spring cleaning all rolled in one. "Let the kids go through their toys and games to see what they've outgrown and are willing to part with. They can help set up the sale, and keep the profits from what they sell," suggests Britton.
3. Visit your local farmers' market.
Britton also suggests visiting your local farmers' market. It can be a great way to explore which fruits and vegetables are in season and support local vendors. If your family likes to cook, you can shop specific ingredients for a meal that you can cook together later.
4. Go on a nature hike—and look for treasure.
Another budget-friendly way to explore some cool outdoor spots in your area is to go on a nature hike. "A good approach to ensure social distancing is to get out of the city and seek a rural area where traffic is much lower, and select walks and hikes with less traffic," says Hamm. Kumiko Love, founder of The Budget Mom, suggests adding a fun twist to a nature hike by making it a treasure hunt. "All you need is a smartphone and the Geocaching app. People hide 'treasure stockpiles' (geocaches) all around the world. All you have to do is use your GPS to find them," Love tells Parents.
5. Find a local museum to visit.
If museums are open where you live, visiting a local museum is a fun, educational, and inexpensive way to spend a weekend afternoon. Many cities have free museums or offer free admission days. "We've found some museums and exhibits we've really enjoyed, and we've learned so much by visiting our local museums. Our local history museum is free, and they always have new and interesting exhibits. We make an afternoon of it, with a stop for a treat before we head home," says Britton. If you're stuck inside because of the weather or local COVID restrictions, many museums around the world are offering virtual tours you take from your couch.