If you are looking for a fun way to spend time with your family, there is no need to spend any money—not when there are so many fun free and cheap things you can do with your family to stay entertained! Whether inside or out, you can keep your children entertained for hours with just a few of the ideas from this list. Here I mention more than 70 free and cheap things that you can do as a family.
Free and Cheap Activities for Kids You Can Do at Home
Play dolls or superheroes.
Play pirates or ships.
Build a race track and have a race.
Make chocolate milk or hot cocoa and make and decorate homemade donuts.
Make and decorate cookies.
Make banana splits or hot fudge sundaes.
Make caramel popcorn.
Write and act out a simple play.
Color or marker together.
Play house (or family, as my five-year-old daughter likes to call it) or school or bakery (or ice cream shop—you get the idea J).
Go on a scavenger hunt.
Draw a map and go on a treasure hunt.
Do finger painting.
Have your children invite a handful of friends over to play simple games like “Duck, Duck, Goose,” “Musical Chairs,” “Hot Potato,” “London Bridges,” “Follow the Leader,” and so on.
Have a tea party.
Form a band (create or gather together simple musical instruments to play together as a family or with friends).
Choreograph a simple dance routine.
Do aerobics or other exercises together.
Do simple (sometimes edible) crafts together.
Give the kids a bubble bath.
Decorate hard-boiled eggs.
Play age-appropriate board games and card games together.
Play with wooden blocks.
Play with marble tube games.
Play with plastic building blocks.
Do puzzles together.
Do chalk art.
Use a flashlight in a darkened room to make shadow puppets.
Build a fort out of chairs or sectional furniture and large sheets or blankets.
Let the kids help to make a simple meal.
Play on your swing set.
Jump on the trampoline.
Color with chalk on the sidewalk.
Play tag in the backyard.
Play hide and seek.
Let your kids help you garden.
Play kickball or football.
Go camping as a family in the backyard.
Have a hot dog or marshmallow roast in the backyard.
Go “camping” in your family room for the night.
Watch a movie together (let your kids pick it).
Ask your children what they want to do, and then do it.
Free and Cheap Activities for Kids That You Can Do on the Go
Go for a bike ride, or ride scooters.
Visit cousins or set up a play date with friends.
Go to a free or inexpensive music concert.
Go for a drive up the canyon.
Visit a state or national park.
Go camping—even if it’s just in your backyard some of the time.
Go to an indoor (or outdoor, if it’s warm enough) pool.
Go out for (inexpensive) ice cream.
Go to a kid-friendly restaurant with a play area and buy ice cream or inexpensive food the kids can eat for a snack, and then let them play for an hour.
Go to an inexpensive movie (dollar theater).
Go for a walk or hike.
Ride skateboards or inline skates.
Go to the park.
Play hide the button at the park (the hider lets the other children know when they are getting warmer or cooler as they look for the button).
Find a grassy hill to roll down.
Find puddles to jump in.
Go for a short run together as a family (and if you like it, work up to doing a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or even marathon together!).
Go on a picnic.
Go to the community rec center (consider getting an annual pass).
Visit free or inexpensive museums or aquariums (or go on a day when admission is free or reduced).
Go to the zoo (especially when you can get reduced-price or free admission).
Go to activities or to read at the library.
Go to an inexpensive fun center or jumping gym.
There are so many free and inexpensive things you can do to help keep your children entertained! They definitely don’t need to be sitting in front of the TV or an electronic device all afternoon or evening long when there are so many better free or cheap options. I would love to hear what your family does as well, so leave a comment below!
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