I hope you notice and take advantage of all the free activities in and around Neosho. Many people struggle to make ends meet and do not have money for anything costly. Professional ballgames, vacations, even a day-pass to some area parks can be tough on a family.

I hope you notice and take advantage of all the free activities in and around Neosho. Many people struggle to make ends meet and do not have money for anything costly. Professional ballgames, vacations, even a day-pass to some area parks can be tough on a family.
But families should be aware of some fun things to do that don't stretch the budget. The Newton County Fair is an example. Yes, there is the carnival with rides that cost, but there are also some interesting things that are free. Most people, especially kids, like animals and the fair offers plenty of opportunities to see them, everything from dogs, to horses, to rabbits and everything in between.
People can watch as the big animals are washed and brushed, or if you are like me, see all the chickens because they are all so different and so colorful.
Watching the judging contest to see how it's done and how the animals and kids perform is really fun. You can even try to outguess the judges and see if you can pick the winner. Watching the small children show their animals is sometime comical especially when the animal outweighs the child. It seems the animal is the one in control.
Of course who doesn't like to see all the exhibits and find out how talented today's kids are with food, woodworking, art, photography and sewing projects.
Besides the fair, the George Washington Carver National Monument has free programs and exhibits all the time. Carver Day and Prairie Days are packed full of things to see and do—at no cost.
But free fun things happen all year long. Many area towns have free fireworks show, the local fish hatchery has a big open house and fishing derbies for various groups, and events such as Celebrate Neosho and the fall festival are good to check out.
The local library also has some interesting programs that are free. Not only can you check out books and movies, but don't forget about the programs. Stop by sometime and ask about the program dates and topics.
It seems there is a car show every once in a while that is free and if you are a car lover, that's the place to be.
And don't forget the schools have plays, sports and music concerts. Some have fees and some are free.
But perhaps the best free events are ones people make for themselves. Kids playing together in a neighborhood is heart warming. Nothing is more fun than a ball game, a game of hide-and-seek, or games that have no name but are just made up by the kids. I grew up in a large family and playing with my brothers and sisters are my fondest memories.
So don't let a lack of money destroy your childhood or the childhood of your children. You can give them so much more than you can buy them.
I hope I drive by your house one of these days and see children having a good time.


Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.