A family tradition is such a great way to bond as a family. We're all about creating sustainable traditions that are affordable, too! Britney is bringing us 7 cheap and easy traditions to try this month!
Hi Freebs! It’s Britney again. I’m pumped to be back on Fun Cheap or Free talking some more about connecting as a family through family traditions.
Family traditions provide an easy way to bond with your kids through fun, laughter, and quality time. Plus, they create lasting memories for years to come. Some of my most cherished childhood memories center around traditions my parents started in our home.
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Now it’s my turn to create those happy memories for my kids, and I want to help YOU do the same. Today I’m sharing details on 7 cheap family traditions, so get ready to pick a new activity to start with your loved ones this month!
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Service increases gratitude and teaches sacrifice and love. Plus, when you serve with others, it helps bond you together. We live in a world where entitlement is something as parents we are constantly trying to discourage and this is a great way to really help your kids open their minds and hearts and let go of themselves!
Pick one big service project, or take a few hours to do a bunch of small acts of service. This family tradition can easily be done in any amount of time and with any ages of kids.
- Leave dollar bills at the Target Dollar Spot or the dollar store.
- Put bookmarks in books at the library.
- Write thank you cards for police officers or firefighters.
- Hand out water bottles or popsicles on a hot day.
- Gather toys, blankets, or other needed supplies for a children’s hospital.
- Bake cookies for a neighbor.
- Take a meal to someone who just had a baby.
- Do yard or house work for neighbors.
- Draw pictures for someone in need.
- Pay for the person behind you in line.
- Leave a treat for your mailman.
- Donate gently used toys and clothes.
- Leave quarters on gumball or vending machines.
- Visit a nursing home.
- Pick up litter.
- Donate books to your local library.
- Make a care package.
- Donate to a food bank.
- Bring flowers to someone going through a hard time.
Giving service doesn’t have to be complicated. Maybe it’s as simple as donating money online to a charity you believe in or FaceTiming with grandparents.
MIXED-UP DINNER FAMILY TRADITION
The basic idea here is that you serve a meal in a weird order. My kids ADORE this family tradition! It takes hardly any extra effort beyond preparing our normal meal, but it makes dinner much more special.
This type of meal is more fun with several items, so pick a variety of foods to serve. Assign a number to each item, then ask each family member to choose numbers for each course:
- Drink & appetizers
- Main dish & sides
Finally, serve up each course with the numbered items they choose.
For example, I might serve 1-spaghetti, 2-green beans, 3-salad, 4-garlic bread, 5-strawberries, 6-brownies, and 7-milk. So if my husband chose 1 & 6 for appetizer and drink, I would serve him spaghetti and brownies. If my son chose 3 & 5, I would serve him salad and strawberries.
It’s simple and the kids find it HILARIOUS to see what each person gets served together—especially once you get to dessert. It might not be the most delicious meal, but it creates a night of laughter, bonding, and a memory to remember for years to come.
FAMILY TALENT SHOW TRADITION
Gather together once a month to share talents, projects, or goals you’ve been working on.
Maybe your preschooler learned to count to 20. Maybe your fifth grader memorized a poem. Mom can share a quote she learned to hand letter, and Dad can demonstrate how many push-ups he can do with the toddler on his back.
Learning to tie a shoe. A Lego creation. A new piano song. Learning to dribble. Mastering a back walkover. It all counts!
Showcasing these things as a family will help kids gain confidence, encourage goal setting and hard work, and help you connect by learning more about each other and getting to cheer each other on.
FAMILY BOOK CLUB TRADITION
Starting a family book club is one of the best family traditions! Not only is it a ton of fun, but it also helps foster a love of reading. The more positive experiences we can create around books, the more likely our kids are to love reading.
IDEAS FOR NON-READERS
Option 1: Choose a theme. Then, read some books, do simple crafts or activities, and serve a snack with the same theme. For instance, you could choose the theme “fish” and read The Rainbow Fish, The Pout-Pout Fish, and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Then create a fish with craft supplies, play a round of Go-Fish, and finish the day off with Swedish Fish and Goldfish for a snack.
Option 2: Read the book, then watch the movie. Kids as young as three or four are ready to start listening to chapter books. There are so many good ones made into movies, like Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There are even some picture books that were made into movies as well, like Ferdinand, Horton Hears a Who, and Where the Wild Things Are.
**Note from Jordan – If you have non-readers, grab 4 Weeks to Read from Learning Dynamics (use the code JORDAN20 for 20% off) and go through it with them. They’ll have so much fun doing it, they won’t even realize they’re learning!
IDEAS FOR INDEPENDENT READERS
Option 1: Utilize the ideas above, even for kids who can read on their own. There are tons of benefits to reading aloud to kids, even when they’re plenty old enough to read on their own (yes, this includes tweens and teens). Or have kids read on their own, then do the activities above.
Option 2: Have a traditional book club, where each family member individually reads the same book, then gather together to discuss it.
DOLLAR STORE ACTIVITY DAY
Head to your favorite dollar store, give each family member a dollar, then let them choose one thing from the store to do as a family. Then go home and do them!
You might end up with a puzzle, some sidewalk chalk, a snack, a package of dinosaur figures, and bubbles. What a fun way to spend an afternoon together as a family! This out of the ordinary family tradition is super simple and only costs a handful of dollars.
FAMILY DINNER CREATION NIGHT
Have each member of the family pick a menu item to prepare for dinner. You’ll end up with a hilarious mish-mash of food items. Like the Mixed-Up Dinner, it might not be the most delicious meal, but it will be fun!
You can choose a category, like Mexican food. Or, you can assign each person a course: Dad does the main dish, Mom takes a side, the eight-year-old does dessert, and the five-year old does the drink.
Part of the fun comes with the random hodge-podge of items you get at the end! So don’t feel like you have to choose any details at all.
HOME PROJECTS DAY
This family tradition combines necessary chores with family bonding. Have a running list of house projects—like organizing, deep cleaning, painting, or repairing—then tackle one each month together as a family.
Turn on some music on the disco ball speaker to make it more enjoyable, then have a treat or do something fun afterward for motivation!
FAMILY TRADITIONS ARE FUN
Family traditions can be intimidating because it feels like you’re committing to do them forever, but that’s not true. They are meant to be fun and bond you together. So if you try a tradition and it’s not working, don’t force it. And if you’ve had a tradition for a while, but it’s no longer serving your family, don’t be afraid to let it go.
I hope one of these family traditions stuck out to you to try this month! Let me know how it goes in the comments! Come visit me over on my blog or Instagram where I talk about all things mom life, but especially loving who you are, productivity tips & tricks, and better connecting with those you love. I’d love to see you there!
Make sure that you check out my other posts on bonding together as a family:
- These 5 daily activities will strengthen your family.
- Try out these fun things to do at home as a family.
Want more things Fun Cheap or Free?
- Check out these healthy snacks for kids.
- Learn tips on how to find fun things to do near you as a family!
- Make some family memories at Disney, but save money while you're at it!
- Learn 10 ways for your kids to make money.
- Check out these fun snack tray ideas!
Hi, I’m Britney and I’m passionate about helping moms find joy in motherhood through self-love—recognizing the good we do as moms, productivity—learning how to get more done in less time, and relationships—finding the best ways connect with those we love. Motherhood is one of the toughest, yet most rewarding, things in the world, so I love connecting with other moms and sharing our stories, struggles, and tips & tricks. I’d love to see you over on my website Color My Happy!