We've all been there. Times when money is tight, but you want to get the family out of the house to have some fun! It's easy to stay home and entertain them with electronics and such, but they still have energy to burn, and we parents still have our sanity to maintain. Getting everyone out of the house for a bit is good for everyone mentally, emotionally and physically. And keeps that family bond, tight.
We live in such a beautiful part of the United States here in Hagerstown, MD. Not only is it breath takingly beautiful, but it's rich with our nations history. I don't know about you, but history is one subject that I didn't pay much attention to in school. But when it came to learning about local history, I enjoyed every minute. There are a lot of small museums locally that get overlooked, but some of what they offer for free to the public is amazing. We also have tons of State and National parks full of hiking trails, lakes for fishing or swimming, covered pavilions for picnics, and much more to offer for free. Libraries that offer a crazy amount of free classes, Storytime's, groups etc. Even just loading up in the car and getting lost on our back roads some would consider fun. The possibilities are endless, in fact a little overwhelming so I have narrowed them down to a list of my top 5 free things to do with your families in and around Hagerstown, MD.
Washington County Free Libraries:
Go to your local library. Not only can you check out the next book you want to get lost into, but they also offer a large assortment of classes and groups. Take the littles in to enjoy a free story time with songs, rhymes, puppet shows and more. Not only will they get to interact with other kids their age, but you also have the opportunity to connect with other local parents with children the same age. A couple of times a month, a local Washington County Free Library will have movie night. This would be ideal for parents who need to get out without the kids, or even as a family. Whichever you would prefer, just make sure to check into what movie they have playing that night. Some movies shown may be too much for the smaller children. Grief Support, knitting, and writers groups are just a small example of what they offer besides story times. They have anime/menga, lego, teen baking and more for the younger crowd. If a group or class isn't what you are looking for, as a family try and pic out something you'd like to learn together. It could be sign language, astrology, local history, etc. Find all the resources you need there, and take them to a local park,and as a family, hang out and do some learning. Go to the main Washington County Free Library website and find your local branch to get you started planning your free family fun.
Take The Scenic Route:
Maryland is such a great state to live in. We have beautiful forests. Mountains for days. The Chesapesak Bay, Ocean City, and the list goes on. When I was growing up, money was always tight. Both of my parents worked two jobs at one point to keep the household going. They did this so my sister, brother and I could do sports and 4-H, which we were very thankful for. We never took family vacations. Our vacations were fair season going from county fair to county fair to State Fair, to Eastern Nationals and sometimes even Madison Wisconsin showing our Jersey dairy cattle. The friends and memories made will last a lifetime. Since our "vacations" were more work and no play, my parents were always creative when it came to family time. We would pack a lunch and spend the day at the lake. Hike the trails in the park, go to the waterfall. But our favorite was the spur of the moment, "Let's take the long way home." Countless hours were spent in our old station wagon traveling all over. Going past our great grandparents old farm by the Potomac, up around Lancaster, York, or Gettysburg. It stuck with me as I had a family of my own. Even now, when my girls and I are in the car, I'll ask them which way to go, left or right, and we get lost and just drive. They make fun of my Amazon playlist, and I will annoy and embarrass them with my amazing vocal skills. To help you plan your route, here is a list of scenic drives in Hagerstown, MD.
There is always a need for volunteers no matter where you live. Animal rescues, food banks, soup kitchens and shelters, schools, the list is endless. For a few years, until I got pregnant with our youngest daughter, I volunteered for our local cat rescue, Cuddles Cat Rescue in Thurmont. I mainly fostered, but I also would do a few shifts at the rescue cleaning. If my girls were home for a shift, I would take them with me. The would play with the kittens, sweep the floors, and wash dirty bowls while I cleaned litter boxes, disinfected, and fed the cats. They loved it, they would want to go even if I didn't have a shift that day. Shelters are always in need of dog walkers. Take a stroll around the Hagerstown City Park with some adorable adoptable dogs. This helps to get them socialized, and possibly find their adopter. If animals aren't your thing, there is plenty of other opportunities where volunteers are needed. The Volunteer Match website is a good place to start, and help you find your families volunteer calling.
Plan a family night under the stars. Make a fire in the fire pit, and grab whatever snacks are in the cupboard. Gather every blanket in the house to make a pallet to sleep on, and a fort for fun. Also, games, get all the board games. A family favorite here is Bingo. We gather all the candy out of the parents candy stash and start a "candy pot" and whoever won Bingo that round, would win all the candy that was thrown into the pot. This has the opportunity to create life long memories for the kids and yourself. There is an app you can download as well that helps you identify the constellations and planets in the sky. The opportunities are endless for a night of backyard camping. This website is a good place to start to help you get idesas on what to do for your families night of fun.
Take A Stroll:
Downtown Hagerstown, MD has City Park, which is nationally recognized as one of the best parks in America. It has so much to offer our community. Playgrounds, pavilions, trails, a lake, and definitely do not forget The Museum of Fine Arts. The MoFA is a beautiful place to visit in itself.