Boys making a movieFor once, your whole family has a free weekend, and you want it to be fun. But fun that doesn't involve the boy going off to play video games, the girl bustling off to the mall with her friends, and hubby hitting the golf course for the entire afternoon. You want your family to be together, but to insure that, you need to come up with some sort of activity that everyone will enjoy. There's nothing worse than a forced family outing, when even you would may prefer to be somewhere else.

Here are five fun, out-of-the-box and different activities that the whole family can enjoy on your next free weekend.

1. Family film festival

If you're lucky enough to find yourself in an area where an actual film festival is happening, then you're in luck. Many regional film festivals now have family programming sections, and chances are everyone will find something they want to see. Then you can top it off with a dinner out and discuss all the movies you took in (and maybe some of the stars you spotted!). If you can't attend any local festivals, have no fear. You can throw your own! Have each family member pick a movie or two and set up a day of screenings. Even better, give the kids your video camera and help them make their own film to screen at the "festival." Put together ballots and have everyone vote on their favorites, and give out awards to your little budding auteurs.

2. Interactive museums

Although you and your husband might enjoy a traditional art museum, your kids may be bored within half an hour. So hop on the Internet and find an interactive or kid-friendly museum near home town. There are tons of fantastic art and science museums that feature interactive displays. And, you may learn a little something while your kids get inspired about art and science by connecting with the displays. You could top it off with a nature-themed IMAX screening. Some alternatives, could be a trip to a wax museum or a music or sports hall of fame.

3. Group camping trip

Almost all kids love camping. It's their chance to get dirty without being scolded. You'll enjoy the peace and quiet, the campfires, and the chance to disconnect from technology for a weekend, while they'll enjoy playing in the great outdoors. If you have the time to plan, put together a larger group of families to camp with. The kids will all play together while the adults cook fantastic barbecue and share a cocktail or two.

4. Television taping

Lots of TV shows tape in front of a live audience, and the tickets are often free. Go look into some of your family's favorites, and sit in the audience for a live show. It's an experience your kids will never forget. It will be fun to see the behind-the-scenes magic of a favorite show.

5. Home improvement

Do you have a home improvement project you'd like to tackle? Make it a family project (kids love to paint!). It may not get done as quickly, but it will be a whole lot more fun. Send the handy ones to Home Depot for supplies and a lesson in carpentry. Send those with a flair for decorating to a nearby accessory or craft shop, or have them head to a garage sale in New Jersey to find pieces that will top off the project. It may be a messy weekend activity, but it will be one no one will ever forget.

Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student from California.