This post may contain affiliate links. See our Privacy Policy and Disclosure Page for more information.

Sharing is caring!

things to do during no spend challenge

Free, Fun Activities to Do with Your Family during a No-Spend Challenge

Find 91 free, fun things that you can do during a no-spend challenge! These fun, free activities are perfect for your family when you are determined to not spend any money!

These free, fun no-spend activities will give you hours of good times with your family without needing to spend a dime!


What is a no-spend challenge?

Before we talk about the many free and fun activities that you can do during a no-spend challenge, let’s first make sure we know what a no-spend challenge is and what the purpose of a no-spend challenge is.

A no-spend challenge is where you go for a week, two weeks, or even a month or more either without spending money or without spending money on anything besides the bare essentials. You could start with a one-week no-spend challenge the first time, and then do two weeks, and then go for a whole month. Or if you really want to turbocharge your savings and short-circuit your spending habits, you could go all in and start with a one-month no-spend challenge. Or you could do a no-spend challenge in just a particular category, if you have a particular budget-busting area such as clothing or entertainment.

How can I successfully complete a no-spend challenge?

It probably won’t be as hard as you might think to be able to succeed at your no-spend challenge, especially with this huge list of free activities you can do during a no-spend challenge!

To be successful at a no-spend challenge, if you are going to do a full no-spend challenge including reducing (or even eliminating) the money you spend on food, then you will need to get organized and do some meal planning. (But you should do that anyway! :)) And you will probably need to get creative with your meal planning (download a simple weekly meal planning worksheet here). This is a great way to cut your grocery budget! You can of course search online for some great ideas for recipes that have the ingredients you have on hand that you are trying to use up, or you can just wing it and see what concoctions you can create. You’ll likely even find some new family favorites!

You can even make the no-spend challenge into a game, to help keep things from getting too serious. With your family, once you have determined a goal for how much you want to plan to save, see how quickly you can do it or if you can even exceed your savings goal—or even better, do both!

Other than that, it’s mostly just staying out of stores and restaurants and movie theaters and so forth and staying offline. Figure out what your triggers are for spending money, and then set yourself up for success by avoiding those trigger points.

Setting and then working toward your financial goals and dreams will also help you be successful at a no-spend challenge and stay on track to reduce your spending overall. When you know what your financial priorities and goals are, it’s easier to keep your resolve to go for a time without spending because you know that whatever you might be giving up now is a small sacrifice compared to the big financial goals you can reach if you will stay the course and follow through.

Also work on finding new hobbies and activities that don’t cost money or that don’t cost a lot of money. The list below of things to do during a no-spend challenge is a great place to start!



Super Fun, Free Activities to Do with Your Kids during a No-Spend Challenge!

Here are more than 90 things that you can do during a no-spend challenge to enjoy time with your family!

  1. Go on a bike ride, or ride scooters.
  2. Visit cousins or set up a play date with friends.
  3. Call or do a video chat with grandma and grandpa.
  4. Play dolls or superheroes.
  5. Play together with your kids’  favorite toys (play ponies, play cowboys, play puppies, play Barbies—anything where you have enough of them that everyone can have one and be part of building your own adventure).
  6. Play pirates or battleships.
  7. Build a simple race track and have a race.
  8. Make chocolate milk or hot cocoa and make and decorate homemade donuts.
  9. Make and decorate cookies.
  10. Make banana splits or hot fudge sundaes.
  11. Make caramel popcorn and watch a favorite show, play games, or talk.
  12. Read together.
  13. Reread or retell a favorite story.
  14. Reenact a favorite story.
  15. Write and act out a simple play.
  16. Color or marker together.
  17. Draw rainbows.
  18. 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 :)).
  19. Go on a scavenger hunt.
  20. Draw a map and go on a treasure hunt (my kids love this one!).
  21. Paint together.
  22. Do finger painting.
  23. Paint your kids’ fingernails and toenails.
  24. 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.
  25. Have a tea or hot cocoa party.
  26. Play dress-up.
  27. Form a band (create or gather simple musical instruments to play together as a family or with friends).
  28. Dance together.
  29. Choreograph a simple dance routine.
  30. Do aerobics or other exercises together.
  31. Do yoga or Zumba together.
  32. Do simple (maybe edible!) crafts together. Find ideas for kids crafts here.
  33. Get books or videos from the library to watch or read together.
  34. Give the kids a bubble bath.
  35. Play age-appropriate board games and card games together.
  36. Invite another family over for games or a movie night.
  37. Play with wooden blocks.
  38. Play with marble tube games.
  39. Play with plastic building blocks.
  40. Do puzzles together.
  41. Do chalk art.
  42. Blow bubbles.
  43. Write a silly poem or story together, or have everyone write their own and share them once everyone is done.
  44. Use a flashlight in a darkened room to make shadow puppets.
  45. Build a fort out of chairs or sectional furniture and large sheets or blankets.
  46. Let the kids help to make a simple favorite family meal.
  47. Try a new recipe together.
  48. Play on your swing set.
  49. Jump on the trampoline.
  50. Play in your sandbox or the one at the park.
  51. Color with chalk on the sidewalk.
  52. Play tag in the backyard or at a park.
  53. Play hide and seek.
  54. Let your kids help you garden or do other yard work.
  55. Play catch.
  56. Play Frisbees.
  57. Play kickball or football.
  58. Go camping as a family in the backyard or at another close, free location (if it is warm enough).
  59. Go swimming somewhere for free.
  60. Go to a free beach and build sand castles or collect seashells.
  61. Watch a sunrise or sunset together.
  62. Go stargazing together (in your backyard, or drive up the canyon).
  63. Volunteer together or serve a family together in your community.
  64. Tie a quilt together to give away to someone or to have as a family keepsake.
  65. Make indoor or outdoor s’mores.
  66. Have a hot dog or marshmallow roast in the backyard or up the canyon.
  67. Go “camping” in your family room for the night (my kids love this one!).
  68. Watch videos of your family (hook your phone up to the computer, or just watch on your phone), or scroll through family photos (my kids love doing these two activities and regularly request them—because they are the stars of their own show!).
  69. Watch a movie together (let your kids pick it).
  70. Play a family-friendly video game together (let your kids choose it).
  71. Decorate hard-boiled eggs, cookies, donuts, fruit pizza, or other fun edibles.
  72. Make tie-dye shirts together using food coloring.
  73. Bake a favorite dessert together.
  74. Go on an Easter egg, Easter basket, Halloween bucket, Christmas stocking, or other treasure hunt where the treasure is that item filled with candy (even if it is not that holiday; my kids like to do Easter egg hunts any time of the year—and why wouldn’t they, when the reward is candy or another fun treat?).
  75. Go to a free play or pageant.
  76. Go to a free community event.
  77. Listen to fun kids’ music together.
  78. Go to a free music concert.
  79. Go for a drive up the canyon.
  80. Go to a pond, stream, or lake and wade or skip rocks.
  81. Go puddle jumping.
  82. Go for a walk or hike together.
  83. Go fishing together (if you can do it for free).
  84. Ride skateboards or inline skates.
  85. Go to the park.
  86. Fly kites.
  87. Go on a picnic (my kids love this one, whether it is at a park, along a walking or hiking trail, or in our backyard!).
  88. Visit free museums or aquariums (or go on a day when admission is free).
  89. Go to activities (our local library has free kids’ activities, and if you live in a good-sized town or city, yours probably does too!) or to read at the library.
  90. Make a bonfire and sing around the fire or tell stories or just talk about what is going on in your kids’ lives.
  91. Ask your children what they want to do, and then do it! 🙂



There are so many fun, free activities you can do to keep your kids entertained during a no-spend challenge! Enjoy special time together by doing free, fun activities with your children during your no-spend week or month! If you take the opportunity to do so, your family could really be strengthened by growing closer together during your no-spend challenge as you spend quality time together! Whether inside or out, you will find ideas for hours of fun activities for your kiddos or for the whole family to do during a no-spend challenge!


What free, fun activities do you love to do with your family during a no-spend challenge? I would love to hear what no-spend activities you and your kiddos do as well, so leave a comment below and let me know!


things to do during no spend challenge

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

Join Our Facebook Group!

Join our new, closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.