Thinking of coming home ideas for your military loved one? Of course you are! Homecoming is one of the highlights for military families. It goes beyond the joy of having your family complete. It is more of feeling a deep sense of happiness because your loved one just came from battlefield unscathed.
When a soldier gets back home to his family after months of being deployed, the next thing to do is spend quality and quantity time with them. However, these activities do cost money. As much as you want to line up several activities while the family is complete, your budget might not be able to take them.
Fortunately, you do not have to let your financial worries keep you from celebrating this joyous event. There are many low-cost activities that can help your family enjoy each other’s company without breaking the bank.
Low-cost activities for coming home ideas:
Check with your Morale, Welfare and Recreation department
One of the resources you can look into is your MWR department. They can give you a lot of ideas for low-cost activities after homecoming. They can provide you with a list of discounts that you can avail as a military family. Through the MWR, you can even encourage your kids to join summer activities.
Enjoy discounts in National Parks
Military members and their respective families are offered a free annual pass to visit national parks. This pass will even let you access forest services and fish and wildlife parks.
Bring the whole family to a museum
Blue Star Museums offer free pass during specific times in a year to help you bond with your family. It can be a great alternative if the weather does not permit you to enjoy the outdoors. It is quite educational too.
Go camping with the family
Another idea is to join a camp and create new experiences with the whole family to enjoy. You can teach the family some basic survival skills – things that a military personnel should know.
Ask about military discounts when on vacation
There are various ways to go on a vacation without spending too much. Just remember to ask for a military discount wherever you decide to go. These discounts can be used on your airfare, accommodations, and even the various activities that you have in your itinerary.
Consider a kids swap day with another family
This allows your children to gain new experiences with other people. It is also a great way for you to impart knowledge to other kids as well. Both families involved will learn a lot through this experience.
Get the kids reading
Reading is a great way to pass the time and it does not have to cost you a lot of money. Public and online libraries offer a variety of options. This inspires your children to pick up reading as a great hobby and exercises their creative minds as well.
Develop your kid’s hobbies
One of your kids might be starting to like photography or baking delicious food in the kitchen. You can spend time with them and encourage them to develop their new found hobby. You can be the model or even the one who tastes the food they bake. You can join them in any sport that they may want to participate in.
Take the kids to the movies
There are movie houses that will let your kids watch a movie for a dollar. You may have to skip the first day showing but the movies are still new and will still give your family a good time.
Visit an animal shelter
Visiting the animal shelter is another low-cost activity that you can do with the family after homecoming. Who knows, they might even fall in love with one of the rescued animals and you all come with a new member of the family.
Introduce other heroes in the community
There is no doubt that in the eyes of your family, you are a real life hero. However, it might be a good idea to introduce them to other heroes in the community. Visit the fire department or the police station so your kids will get to know the other people who keep them safe.
Have a family cook off
This is a great activity. Mom and Dad will each cook a meal that the kids love to eat. The judge will be the kids. Whoever wins will get a prize – like being spared from washing the dishes. At the end of it all, the whole family can enjoy two dishes.
Enjoy some pizza
There are pizza parlors that let customers create their own pizza. This should be a great experience for the kids. Make sure you film the whole thing so the kids can revisit this wonderful memory with the family.
Take the family to the zoo
Combining kids and animals will always lead to a fun time. Let your kids enjoy the local zoo. Most of the time, they offer low rates for kids. This is a great way to bond with your family in between deployment.
Organize a talent contest in your living room
Why not set up some friendly talent competition right in the comfort of your own home? You and your kids can showcase their respective talents. Set up teams or go solo. Sing, dance, or act your way to be declared the champion in the family. You can even look at trends on social media like the mannequin challenge and do one as a family.
Start a garden at home
This activity will not only give you a low-cost activity to enjoy at home. This will also result in a lower food cost for the family. You can work as a family to start a garden. When you get deployed again, the garden can help remind them of you while you are away.
Play outdoor games
Feel free to invite other people on this. Call family, friends, and neighbors for some games in your backyard. You can even turn it into an annual competition for families in your block. This helps your community bond together. They can provide support for the rest of the family during deployment.
Go out for a picnic
Spend a day in the park and bring some food to enjoy with the family. Play games, run around barefoot, and share a meal together. You can also do something at the beach and end it all with a bonfire at night. The idea is to create as many memories together as a family so they have something to hold on to when the you are deployed again.
Build a relationship with your community
When you are not home, you always think about the safety of your family. Your community will play a big part in managing this stress. The stronger the community is, the more you would feel at ease knowing that whatever happens, everyone is looking after each other.
Relax with movie night
Technology has made it easier for almost anyone to watch their favorite movies in the comfort of their own homes. You can do the same and have the whole family together with popcorn and drinks on hand.
Explore your family history
Bring out your old albums and visit older relatives to help your children know more about your family history. You can even start a project together like putting together your family tree.
Go garage sale hunting
This is a great way to teach your kids about the value of money. Give them a small amount and have them spend it in garage sale events. Make sure you teach them how to negotiate the price. At the end of the day, you can compare what they bought. Although this is a spending activity, it still qualifies as a low-cost activity because you have full control over the amount they will spend.
Play board games at home
Take some time off from electronic games. Get a traditional board game and have fun with the family. You don’t really have to spend anything or go anywhere to have some fun.
Exercise as a family
You can teach your kids the value of physical exercise as you look for activities you can do as a family. You can look for a nearby bike trail or even head on out to the closest pool in your area.