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Free Family Fun!

Happy, healthy families have something in common: they take the time to have FUN. Here, 10 inexpensive ways to enjoy each other.
family fun at the beach The Secret to Happy, Healthy Families

My kids disagree as to which of them began the game of "alien eggball." After the green plastic ball—we joked it was an alien egg—appeared mysteriously in our backyard, we started playing something vaguely resembling volleyball with it, using the swing set as a net. Years later, in spite of my kids' advanced ages (now a teen and a tween), we still play alien eggball on warm summer nights and cool fall evenings. We have no rules, we don't keep score, but we have fun and laugh.

Turns out that kind of silliness is a key ingredient of happy families, according to Kenneth R. Ginsburg, M.D., M.S.Ed., author of A Parent's Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Your Child Roots and Wings. "Kids need a deep-rooted connection with loving adults, and playing together fosters those connections." It also lets children of any age see parents in a different—and more relaxed—light. Those positive interactions will keep family bonds strong as kids learn to be independent, says Lisa M. Schainker, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate scientist for Iowa State University's Partnerships in Prevention Science. Here's what other families do for laughs.