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Family Money

Is it possible that it is already spring break? Perhaps you are one of the lucky people reading this on a plane to Disney World or while headed to a sandy white beach. Or maybe you are like me, staying close to home. Luckily, there are endless possibilities for frugal, fun, family staycations in the Fredericksburg area. Here are some suggestions:

Plan day trips and pack a picnic lunch. Just a short drive to the north or south are museums, parks and zoos that you can visit at little to no cost. The district has kid-friendly places like the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History. Richmond has Maymont Park, the Canal Path or the Hollywood Cemetery for your "big" kids.

Camp out. Set up a tent in your backyard and allow your big kids to have a sleepover or take the kids on an overnight adventure to a local campground for a nominal fee. Gather around the campfire and create family traditions with s'mores and ghost stories.

Cook at home. Just because you aren't going away doesn't mean you have to eat as usual — use disposable dishes and utensils when possible; cook and freeze ahead of time; use the crock pot and/or grill.

Read. Open a book and take an imaginary journey to a far-off magical place — escape in time, create a storybook adventure and re-enact scenes from a favorite play.

Family game/movie night. Let the kiddos choose their favorite board games and movies and snuggle up for family fun. Don't forget the popcorn!

Nikki Ducas is a Fredericksburg mom to an active 4-year-old. She is always looking for frugal, budget-conscious activities to do with her family.

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