Tax day is coming up! And, like everyone else, you’re hoping for a refund. Or at least to break even. Even if you have to pay some like we did this year, there are so many fun (paid and free) things to do with your kids.
I’m always looking for ways to spend time with my kiddos that are fun, educational, and don’t break the bank (too much).
I truly believe that making memories and having fun experiences with your kids is more important than buying gifts. Things are great. But, they don’t last forever.
Rather than just buying another toy that will break down and eventually get thrown in the trash or end up at Goodwill, I’ve tried to include things on this list that will create experiences with your kids.
I want my kids to grow up knowing that relationships and connecting with people are always the most important. And, that starts with me being intentional about spending time with them.
Money is great. But, unless we’re using it to create memories with our kids and really get to know them, then they will grow up thinking that money is more important than spending time with people.
So, no matter what your refund status is, know that money doesn’t matter. There are always fun things that you can do to spend time bonding with your kiddos.
1) Go to the museum
Price range $$$
Museums are never that far away. If you’re looking for a museum near you, most cities have several options. There are historical museums, kids’ museums, aviaries, or Insect and bug museums.
This is a great activity for kids because it’s both fun and educational. My daughter loves looking at the dinosaurs and playing in the kid zone.
Some museums even offer classes for kids to members. I went to one with my daughter and she had fun playing with the toys, interacting with kids, and we even got to take home a painting that she did.
Memberships can be a bit pricey. But, it can be so worth it if you visit the museum often. If you buy a membership, try to get one around a time where the museum has fun exhibits that would be interesting for kids.
2) Go swimming
Price range FREE – $$$
Ever since we took my daughter swimming for the first time when she was just three months old, she has loved to go swimming!
Maybe it was because she was born in the water (read my first birth story), but she has always loved bath time, splash parks, and anything involving water play.
This is also a great sensory activity. I’ve noticed that making sure to have water play cuts back on the times my daughter spills juice during mealtime just to play with it.
Swimming is also a great skill for kids to learn (even if you’re in a landlocked location like us). Every kid will come across a lake, ocean, or swimming pool eventually and will need to know how to swim.
I think that I love taking my kids swimming because it is so relaxing. We have several hot springs near us that I love to take the kids to. They splash and play while I enjoy soaking in the hot tubs as well.
No matter where you are, there are probably swimming pools, hot springs, or splash parks. Some places like local ponds, beaches, rivers, or sometimes splash parks can be free places to get in the water. But, places like public swimming pools and hot springs can be pricey.
Buying a membership with your tax refund money can cut the cost of a membership. So, depending on the size or that tax refund, you can still find a fun place to take your kids to cool down in the water this spring and summer.
Related: That Kind of Mom I Want to Be
3) Go to the park
Price range FREE – $
Ok, you might be thinking that you take the kids to the park every day. But, what about a different park? Or, a walk in the forest, by a river, or take your kids to a national park if there’s one nearby or a close drive away.
We are so fortunate to live just over an hour from Yellowstone National Park. Every year, we take a day trip into the park to explore and learn about all the different animals that we see.
While our daughter was too young to really appreciate it last year, I’m excited to take her this year because I’m sure that she will love seeing the animals and geysers.
If a national park is out of the question, you can always mix it up and take your kids to a new playground. Our kids get tired of going to the same park in our neighborhood all the time. After awhile, they just roam around looking for something new to do.
So, every now and then, I will drive to a new neighborhood and find a different park. Kids love the change of scenery and I get to meet new moms too. It’s a win win.
4) Go on a date
Price range FREE – $
Sometimes I like to take my daughter on special mommy-daughter dates. We have gone to the mall, gone out to eat, or taken a fun trip to the dollar store.
Our special date days usually involve grabbing lunch and/or a treat at McDonald’s or some other kid-friendly food joint. Bonus points if they have a play area!
There are so many fun and special things that you can do on date days. Sometimes I take my daughter to a gym day where they have a bounce house. It melts my heart to watch her walk into the gym throwing up her hands and yell “bounce house!”
Check out what local kids’ activities are in your community and plan date days around them. Churches can be a great place to look for upcoming kid-friendly events and activities. Here, there is even a local church that hosts a bounce house day once a month.
And it’s free!
So, even if you didn’t get a refund this year (or if it’s already earmarked for car repairs or big-ticket items), there are still fun and free kid activities for date day.
5) Go to the toy store
Price range $
What kid doesn’t love a new toy. It thrills me to see their little faces light up when they walk into a toy store. And, watching my daughter strategically pick out the perfect toy makes me smile.
It’s such a good way to find out what my daughter is into as well. It changes so fast, doesn’t it? Right now, my daughter loves anything Daniel Tiger… and jungle animals.
Taking your kid to the dollar store can also be a great way to teach them about money and how to be responsible. You can have them hold their dollar bill and hand it to the cashier and handle the transaction themselves.
I always have my daughter help me swipe my debit card and talk to her about how things cost money which we work hard to earn. This is one reason I love taking my daughter to stores—so that she can learn how the world works and how to become a responsible adult.
Since we had to pay into taxes this year, we will probably be choosing some of the free options like the park or splash park, but I’ll hang onto this list for next year and hopefully, we’ll have some cash for a museum membership.
What other things do you like to do with your kids using your tax refund money?