Is Affordable Family Fun Going Out of Style?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

It seems almost everything costs money these days. So many kids’ school activities come with fees, and most summer activities have costs too, especially camps and events. While many parents still try to find activities that are affordable to enjoy with their families, it seems like the need to spend is increasing.

Whether children are becoming more demanding or parents are feeling the need to compete with other busy families who pay to enroll their kids in constant entertaining activities (or just buy them electronics to keep them busy at home), the culture does seem to be changing. Many kids would probably be happy going to the park and playing ball with their mom or dad, or even their siblings, but the fact that so many other kids are constantly involved in activities or playing on their tablets can throw kids and parents into the state of competition. The result is that affordable family fun, like going to a park, or playing games, is being overshadowed by more expensive choices, or by choices that involve self-play instead of family interaction.

According to a study done by Mintel in 2012 and reported last year, many Millennial parents are spending more money on entertainment. Forty-two percent of parents surveyed were spending less on family entertainment than they did a year before, but 36 percent of Millennial parents were spending more (as compared to only 17 percent of non-Millennials.)

Young dads (18-24 years old) were particularly relaxed with entertainment spending. Seventy-nine percent of these dates spent less than $300 on family entertainment each month (which seems expensive already), but the other 21 percent spent more than $300 each month (whereas only 11 percent of men over 35, and 7 percent of women 18-34 did the same.) Dads, particularly in this age group, seem to be more relaxed than moms, and according to Mintel, often spend more money and more time on entertainment.