There are always fun things to do with your little ones. Sometimes it simply takes a little creativity and effort. The good news is that not all the ideas will break your bank.

Here are some great family hangout ideas:

1. Information Resources/Online

One of the best ways I know how to find fun, quality family activities is to search using the “Events” tab in Facebook (left-hand side, under “Explore”). From there, you can filter by city, by day, by the weekend, etc. Using the “Events” is a fantastic way to get current with your local and expanded community’s upcoming family events such as plays, concerts, sports-related activities, etc. The “Events” page also suggests events that may be of interest to you because your “friends” have shown interest in them as well.

In addition, “Parent helping websites.” such as Mommy Nearest and Red Tricycle offer users a steady flow of ideas for their respective major metropolitan area. Looking for the best ice cream in Seattle? Looking for the best family getaways in San Diego? Looking for things to do on a rainy day? They got you covered. Sign up and get the news delivered to you or peruse the respective websites.

Are you trying to find fun things to do but are on a tight budget? (Um, who isn’t?) Download the Goldstar app (www.goldstar.com). Goldstar is a great app to look for seriously discounted tickets on family and kids events in your area. Using Goldstar, you can purchase discounted prices on your favorite local events (comedy clubs, amusement parks, local sporting teams, etc). And, what more, if the tickets don’t sell? They are comped!

2. Educational

Libraries are a wonderful way to encourage little ones to read and to open their young minds to creativity. Libraries often provide enrichment workshops, magic shows, storybook reading times, interactive and educational sessions with staff, and much more. Libraries are the gateway to so much fun! Sign up TODAY!

Should your city have any number of museums and exploratoriums, these are a fantastic way to educate your children (and yourself!), while having fun in the process. Spending easily three to four hours at gigantic places which encourage children to run, touch, be loud, ask questions, build, knock down are the places you want to let your kid “be a kid.” You can feel the educational discovery oozing from them each time they go.

3. Back To Nature

What can create better family memories than a fun-filled day at the park or a sunny day at the beach? Bring some food, do a BBQ, and let your kids play on the play structures or in the water all day long. You can join in, read that summer novel you wanted to get to, or just chill out. Either way, you are a winner. And best of all? The cost is nearly nothing.

Should you be so fortunate as to live near the mountains or any other hills, nature exploring can provide your family a great way to see nature up close, typically at a low cost and it can make for some great education. Oh, don’t forget your repellants and good walking shoes.

County Fairs – Spring and summer usher in the time of the year when county fairs return in full bloom. Fairs provide fun for the whole family: farm animals, roller-coasters, rides, good food, music, good times. Go for the entire day and have a ball. Look for tickets months ahead for discounts and special offers.

Holiday Festivals – The “Most Wonderful Time of Year” offers family and children so much by way of tree lightings, holiday parades, public ice skating, Charles Dickens festivals.

Likewise, an affordable, fun “staycation” can show your children that your home can be transformed into a magic wonderland. It can also give you a chance to demonstrate your creativity by, well, doing almost anything you want with your kids. Build a fort out of the sofa cushions, paint nails (daddy’s too!), build rocket ships or robots from cardboard boxes. Let your imagination run wild. Here is a secret: The messier the house is, the more fun it will be. Chances are the more fun memories you will create. Save “clean up” til the end of each day or the very last day.

4. Other Activities

- Bowling

-Putt-putt golf

-Waterparks

-Ice-skating

-Fishing

-Hiking

-Trampoline parks

Whatever you do, be sure to do it together and have fun.