5 ways to spend an inexpensive family night out
By Aimee Heckel
It’s Saturday. You just can’t watch another episode of Good Luck Charlie — not without losing a crucial chunk of your sanity. And if you build another castle out of Mega Bloks, well, you’re going to try to hide in it. For the rest of the night.
You’re sick of ordering pizza, the kids are bouncing off the walls and beds and you need to figure out a way to entertain them — out of the house. But you don’t want to blow a week’s pay to do it.
Here are five fun – but cheap! – things to do tonight.
1. Have a game night — out. Many coffee shops, pizza joints and family-friendly establishments come stocked with board games for patrons. Candyland or Jenga can cure even the most advanced strain of childhood antsy pants. Better yet: old-school arcade games. A restaurant with games kills two birds with one fork: feeding the munchkins and entertaining them.
Kick it up a notch and head to Dave & Busters Restaurant, which is basically like Chuck E. Cheese for adults. Although Dave & Busters is primarily an adult establishment, some locations will permit kids, with adult supervision. Call ahead, before promising your kids a Dance Dance Revolution dance-off.
Tip: Hit D&B’s on Wednesdays, when games are 50 percent off. Depending on how rough your day is going, you may also be interested in learning that cocktails at Dave & Busters are half off during happy hour.
2. Explore the children’s section of the library of book store. Often times, you can find live book readings and signings, or special children’s events. Barnes & Noble has a great kids section and even a B&N Kids’ Club.
Looking to save money? Always check Barnes and Noble’s deal of the day. Got a teen? Use this coupon code for 20 percent off a teen’s book purchase.
3. Try a new restaurant; let the kids pick it. Visit Restaurant.com to buy a mega-discounted gift certificate for the restaurant of their choice. Sometimes, you can score a $100 meal for as little as $25. Now that’s fun.
Save even more money if you buy through ShopAtHome.com, which offers up to 20 percent cash back! Click here for $25 worth of food for only $10 through Restaurant.com.
4. Go bowling. It’s OK to admit you’re excited by this idea. Bowling is an American tradition as much as, well, downing a pitcher of beer while bowling. If you haven’t experienced the glory that is Lucky Strikes, you’re missing out.
Lucky Strikes is a unique chain that truly transforms bowling into a party, complete with wild lights, loud music and a much more extensive menu than you’re used to at a bowling alley. Order up mac and cheese bites for the kids, gluten-free dishes for Mom and short rib tacos for dad.
5. Watch movies — outside. There’s something extra exciting about being outside and watching a movie. Plus, your kid’s energy doesn’t ricochet off the ceiling and walls and land on you. Look for movies in the park and drive-in theaters.
Or, even just head to a park with your iPad, a blanket, a cooler of refreshments and a bag of gummi bears and sign up to wifi (or make your own hotspot from your smartphone, if your city doesn’t offer free wifi), and watch a movie on Netflix.com.
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