It's easy to think of learning as something that's limited to school hours, but as anyone with an inner (or outer) nerd can tell you, education can be a fun -- not to mention fulfilling -- recreational pursuit. With a little brochure gathering and Internet searching, you could be on your way to a new hobby or regular weekend activity for little to no cost.
Public libraries, although sometimes eclipsed by the Internet in terms of research speed and convenience, are a rich resource for recreational and practical education. Many public libraries host craft sessions, reading groups and classes on practical skills like resume writing and interview preparedness, basic and mobile technology skills, and English as a second language [source: Los Angeles Public Library, Boston Public Library]. And even better, since most libraries are public entities, their classes are usually offered free of charge.
Community centers are also a valuable resource for cheap and easy recreational activities. Classes at a community or rec center often cost more than those you'll find at a public library, but with their dedicated space and facilities, they usually also offer a much wider variety of options [source: Portland Parks and Recreation]. Want to learn to swim, dance, sculpt, whittle and karate chop -- all in one afternoon? Your local community center is the place to be.
But you want to learn new skills on the cheap and help others, you say? Read on to find out how to have fun while earning some brownie points from your fellow man.