You think I'm joking. I'm not, my family spends a lot of quality time together playing cards.
No kidding! Cards are a great investment in cheap quality time that lets you stay at home, spending very little to no money, provides entertainment, and brings you closer to your family.
There are hundreds if not thousands of card games, the rules of which are varied and can be found here.
Why do I think playing Gin Rummy is good quality time? We talk. At first my blended family had little in common; after you (that would be me) spanks everyone at the table, they quickly find solidarity in losing.
We now talk about more than cards and the rules of the game. We talk about our days, about school, work, upcoming activities.
It is not a time of quiet, we argue, we laugh, we snort soda.
Card games as well as board games offer children learning opportunities.
The most important is learning to wait your turn, we had to institute a point deduction system to enforce this but they have learned.
Second thing that can be learned is strategy and planning, can't win if you don't formulate a plan.
An unexpected thing my children have learned is awareness of the task at hand. Chronic multi-taskers often have trouble just concentrating on one thing. My son with ADHD is really developing a keener sense of attention and tracking.
So this is my submission for the Economic Downturn's cheapest entertainment.