Guest Guru: Valerie – Create Your Own Family Activity Binder

Create Your Own Family Activity Binder

By Valerie of

You are looking at a masterpiece. I wish I could take credit for this, but this is my friend Lisa’s wonderful idea, which she so graciously shared with us during our MOMS Club Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. Lisa is a mom of four boys, three of whom are triplets. Ahem. Triplet BOYS, people! With that kind of energy in the household, organization is not optional, it is required. She keeps a Family Activity Binder, and get this — she has one for every season! It is jammed-packed with calendars, flyers for free local events, brochures for local inexpensive attractions, and ideas for local day trips and other activities. When the family is faced with a rainy day, or she starts to hear, “Mom, I’m bored….”, Lisa goes to the binder and looks up all the local activities going on that day. It’s a serious sanity-saver, and since it’s full of free or inexpensive activities, it won’t break the family budget, either!

Lisa inspired several of us to start our own Family Activity Binders, and here are some ideas of things to include so you can too:

1. Free MoviesRegal Cinemas, AMC, and several other theaters offer Family Film Festivals featuring free or very low-cost admission to movies during the summer months. Days and times may vary, so check with your local movie theater.

2. Free Building WorkshopsLowe’s and The Home Depot offer terrific free workshops for kids. The kids each get a kid-sized apron, and a great project to make and take home with them.

3. Free Craft WorkshopsMichael’s features lots of free craft workshops for kids. Check your local store for days and times.

4. Free Story TimePottery Barn Kids, Barnes & Noble, and your local public library may offer free story time for kids. Check your local stores for event times and dates.

5. Kids Bowl Free — Find out if your local bowling alley participates in the Kids Bowl Free program during summer months. This is great for those rainy days!

6. Local Zoos or Aquariums — Local zoos and aquariums may offer special events for kids, or have discounted admission on certain days. Pick up a calendar of events for more information.

7. Local Museums & Science Centers — Another educational experience, local museums and science centers may offer discounted admission after a certain time of day, or have days when admission is free.

8. Local Community Center — Many local community centers feature free classes, movies, concerts, or other summer events. Be sure to check with your local community center to see what they offer.

9. Vacation Bible School — Check with your local churches, and you may find some that offer Vacation Bible School for free.

10. Summer Camp Brochures — You could also include any brochures for local summer camps your child may be interested in. Many times you can get a discount by registering early!

When you come across flyers for any free family-friendly events this summer, pick them up and put them in your binder. A little planning could go a very long way.

Valerie is the author of the Frugal Family Fun Blog, where she writes daily about her obsession with inexpensive craft and activity ideas that won’t break the budget. You can read more about her at