Being a parent is one of the greatest joys life has to offer. We all want to give our kids a fantastic childhood, and that includes coming up with fun things to do together. But let’s be honest: it can get expensive! The good news is it doesn’t have to be. These free (or almost free) activities will be a blast for you and your kids.
Free Things to Do with Kids Inside Your Home
Teach Your Kids to Play Cards
Seriously. This might not sound super-entertaining, but I’ve seen first hand how excited kids can get by learning a new skill and getting to play a “grown-up” game with their parents.
You probably have a deck of cards kicking around – if you do, this activity is free! If you don’t, you can pick one up for about a dollar, making it almost free.
Play a Board Game
Whatever you have at home will do, but I recall Monopoly being a favorite for all ages. Added bonus? It will help teach your kids about money!
Don’t have any board games at home? Hit up your local thrift store to pick one up for cheap.
Create a Personalized Piggy Bank
Post-Monopoly, your kids might be pretty excited about money.
Keep the momentum going by crafting DIY piggy banks at home! Use items you have around the house (think mason jars, cereal boxes) to keep this activity free.
Learn to Fold Origami
Have you ever admired the skill it must take to fold simple paper into beautiful origami shapes? This free playlist has over 60 tutorials to help you and your kids learn the ancient art of origami:
Have Fun While Studying a New Language
Broaden your child’s horizons by introducing them to a new language. There are hundreds of free educational tools on the web that can help you and your kids learn a new language. MondlyKids is one of our favorites, and it is free to use!
Hold a Magic Show
Blow your kids’ minds with some magic tricks! Here is a step-by-step tutorial to get you started.
Conduct a Science Experiment
Did you know you can make invisible ink with lemon juice? Show your kids that science is fun by conducting your own experiment at home.
Karin from MommyPopping gathered up a collection of brilliant science project ideas just for you to try!
Organize a Mom & Kid Face Painting Contest
If your kids go wild for face painting at events, why not bring the fun right to your home?
Issue a challenge to see who can come up with the most creative design (just be prepared!). Face paint is inexpensive to buy, but you can try this natural recipe to save even more money and keep your kid’s skin away from harmful ingredients!
Have a Movie Marathon
Sometimes there’s nothing better than spending a rainy day curled up on the couch with your favorite people, your favorite snacks, and your favorite movies. Choose family classics that adults and children can both enjoy. My vote? 90s Disney!
Make a Cardboard Box Castle
Transform an old cardboard box into your very own indoor castle for hours of playtime and no costs! This fun tutorial has foolproof instructions.
Bake Some Delicious Cookies
You probably have ingredients at home to whip up something simple, and your kids will love helping you in the kitchen. This can also save you money on buying expensive pre-packaged snacks. Yum!
Get Creative with Play-Doh Sculptures
I know, I know, play-doh isn’t free…unless you make it yourself!
Check out some recipes here.
Make Shadow Animals with Your Hands
Put on a shadow animal show for your kids with these amazing techniques:
Start a Story Telling Circle
Pick a night of the week, and each week it’s someone’s turn to tell a story they thought up. This is absolutely free, really encourages children’s creativity, and helps develop public speaking skills.
Take Your Kids to the Public Library
Membership is free, and having lots of choices encourages them to read. If your kids aren’t reading by themselves yet, you can choose a story to read together.
Get Outside and Leave Your Wallet at Home
Have a Picnic Outside
Get your kids to help you prep some tasty snacks at home. Then grab a blanket and head out for the afternoon. Fun, free, and delicious!
Does your family own a tent? Even if you can’t get away, spend a night camping in your backyard! No tent? Small kids will get a kick out of making a tent inside with blankets and chairs. Bonus points if you have ingredients to make s’mores.
Take Advantage of Free Park Activities
Spending the day exploring a local park is a lovely (and frugal) way to pass time with your kids during any season. Over the summer, there might be free outdoor concerts or movies the whole family would enjoy.
Identify Stars with Your Phone
Introduce your kids to astronomy with a leading free app like StarChart. You might learn a few things, too!
Teach Your Kids to Play Hopscotch
All you need is some pavement and a piece of chalk – that’s as good as free. This kind of game keeps kids active and helps young children build coordination.
Play Pokémon Go
Download the incredibly interactive game and start catching Pokémon with your kids in the real world!
Warning: you may love it just as much as they do.
Volunteer at the Local Animal Shelter
This one is great because it’s 100% free, and teaches your kids the value of helping those who need.
It’s also a great opportunity to talk to your kids about what an important responsibility adopting a pet is – perfect if your family is considering doing just that.
And hey, if getting a pet isn’t in the cards but your kids have been asking, this is a great way for them to get their animal fix.
Get Your Kids to Help You with the Gardening
As much as you might loathe pulling up weeds, young kids will probably find it pretty fun for a bit. Older kids might enjoy helping you do some planting.
Even if you don’t get much productivity out of them, they’ll enjoy hanging out with you while you garden.
Volunteer for Community Events
Maybe your town is organizing a local clean up or hosting a BBQ fundraiser for charity. Either way, talk to your kids about the value of giving back, and get out there and get involved. You won’t be spending money, and you might make some new friends in your community.
Seasonal Free Activities Your Kids Will Love
Make a Bird Feeder
When spring arrives, make a bird feeder with your kids and follow up with some bird watching. You can repurpose household items like bottles and teacups, making this activity free and environmentally friendly. Check out these designs for inspiration.
In the summertime, head out for a day of swimming and sunshine. Your town most likely has a local beach or some lakes or ponds that would be suitable.
Some towns also have outdoor public pools in local parks that may offer free swims on certain days of the week.
Absolutely no swimming locations within a reasonable distance? Play some water games in your backyard with the garden hose.
Play in the Snow
If you have snow during the winter, make a snowman. Or snow angels. Or a snow fort. You get the idea! It doesn’t cost a cent, and it encourages your kids to stay active during the winter. And the fresh air won’t hurt you, either.
Take Your Kids Sliding
If you don’t already own slides, you can pick up crazy carpets for next to nothing.
It’s easy to blow through money when you’re focused on keeping your kids entertained, but these fun-filled free activities are proof that it doesn’t have to be that way. Have you tried any of these? What are your family’s favorite frugal ways to enjoy time together? Let us know in the comments.