Volunteer Your Time
Community-based classes aren't the only way to take advantage of low-cost recreation. Volunteering offers opportunities for you and your family to help others while furthering a passion or developing a skill, all for no more than the cost of transportation.
A great way to find volunteer opportunities is simply by contacting establishments you frequent or organizations you support. Schools and social cause groups, especially nonprofits, usually welcome volunteers, and some Web sites feature online databases with extensive lists of volunteer opportunities and matching services based on your interests [source: Volunteer Match]. Like spending time by the ocean? Get the family involved in a beach cleanup day. Wish you could learn more about history or the arts? Sign up to lead tours at a museum in your area.
And don't be afraid to use volunteer opportunities as placeholders for pricier pursuits. If the kids are begging for a dog, they can experience the joys of working with animals without the time and budgetary commitments of pet ownership by volunteering at a shelter. Additionally, organizations like the ASPCA offer volunteers opportunities to serve in roles ranging from animal socialization to veterinary assistance [source: ASPCA].
If a day volunteering in the botanical gardens always leaves you wanting more, however, you may want to make outdoor exploration a regular part of family recreation. Read on for tips on how you and your family can learn to walk on the wild side.