free fun

50 Free (or Almost Free) Fun Family Activities

I’m sure you know how it can be. Sometimes money is tight and entertainment can be expensive.

Kids, or mine at least, always want to do something, to be entertained, to experience something different and fun. While when they are younger it can be rather easy to find fun things to do, as they get older it can get harder to find activities they are interested in that will also not break the bank.

I’ve compiled a list of free or almost free fun family activities guaranteed to make both the kids and mom’s pocketbook happy.

Sometimes the most fun can be had for free!

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Go to the library

Your local library probably has a ton of free activities, like story hour, book clubs, after-school programs, and art shows.  Many libraries offer more than just books: often you can borrow music, movies, and video games too.

Go to a park or playground

Always a kid favorite!

Play a game

Put together a puzzle, get out a board game, play tic-tac-toe, have a thumb war, the options are endless.

Get artsy

Draw, color, paint, knit, kids and adults love being creative.

Exercise

Whether it is walking the dog or doing yoga, it’s more fun together.

Have a spa day

Give each other facials or manicures and pedicures.

Make a play date

Have double the fun with another family.

Go for a bicycle ride

As kids, my sister and I rode our bikes for hours.  Get the whole family in on the fun.

Cook together

Make cookies, grilled cheese sandwiches, or make pizzas and let everyone choose their own toppings.

Dance party

Turn on some music and see who has the best moves.

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Play dress up

Try on mom and dad’s clothes, old Halloween costumes, anything goes.

Have a picnic

Eating in the park or even the back yard makes mealtime more special.

Pretend

Fire up your imagination- play dinosaurs, astronauts, cowboys – there are so many possibilities!

Have a tea party

My niece and nephews loved playing this and always giggled so much when I would tease that there was a (pretend) bug in my food.

Water balloon fight or play in the sprinkler

Lots of hot summer afternoons were spent in the sprinkler or with epic water balloon fights when I was a kid.

Blow bubbles

Bubbles are fun for many ages!

Play catch

It only takes two people but any number can play.

Outdoor games

Kickball, hopscotch, jump rope, Frisbee, run races – there’s a game for everyone.

Read together

From board books to comic books to chapter books, reading (and listening) is fun!

Nature exploration

Look at rocks, catch bugs, pick flowers, and explore the great outdoors.

Lemonade stand

Because every kid has to have a lemonade stand at least once.

Photography

Get out the digital camera and take photos.  You’ll get to see your world from different perspectives.

Garden

Gardening can be an educational and delicious hobby.

Listen to music/make music together

Everyone loves music.  Turn on the radio, get out an instrument, or make your own instruments.

Take a drive/ride

Drive around your neighborhood or out in the country.

Volunteer

There are many volunteer opportunities that can be done as a family.

Go swimming

Find a swimming pool, pond, or lake.

Go to a farmer’s market, festival, or other community activity

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Local activities are happening all the time in your community and most don’t have any entrance fees.

Sidewalk chalk

Drawing with sidewalk chalk can be done over and over again because it washes right off.

Build a fort

Build a fort in the snow, in the living room with the sofa pillows, or even in the yard with blankets over the clothesline.

Camp in the back yard

You don’t have to leave home to go camping; set up your tent or sleep under the stars.

Walking tour

A lot of towns and cities have walking tours, some are guided and some are not.  Contact your local visitor’s bureau for information.

Tie-dye shirts

This one is a little messy but always a good time.  All you need is some white shirts, rubber bands, and dye; or use a colored shirt, rubber bands, and bleach.

Movie night

Make a bowl of popcorn and watch your favorite movie or movies, or watch something totally new!

Put together a model

As well as being fun, building something together can teach skills like focus and patience.

Paper airplane competition

All you need is paper!

Look at the stars

Go star gazing.  Try to find constellations.

Go to a pet store or farm store

It’s always fun to walk around a pet store to look at a variety of animals.  In the spring many farm stores will have adorable bunnies, chicks, and ducklings.

Go to the zoo

Spending a day at the zoo seeing exotic animals is always a memorable time.  Small children are often admitted for free.

Go to a museum

Find an art museum, a children’s museum, a natural history museum, your local historical society- there are so many options to have fun and learn!  Sometimes if certain attractions are closed or broken free admission is offered.

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Play in the dirt, sand, or snow

Make mud pies, a sand castle, make a snowman, or just dig.

Fly a kite

A little wind and a kite are all you need.

Watch a sunset

See a free show every evening.

Play flashlight tag

Flashlights, friends, and the dark are all that is required.

Sit around a fire

Build a fire in the fireplace or outside and then roast marshmallows, cook hot dogs, have a sing-along, or tell ghost stories.

Sing together

Singing can be fun for everyone!  Sing old favorites or find new ones.

Treasure hunt

Hide a treasure and then create a map to help everyone else find it.

Hike a nature trail

Hiking is a great way to get exercise and enjoy nature.

Go to Home Depot

Some participating Home Depot locations offer free kids projects on the weekend.  Call your local store for more information.

Bring out the photo albums

Look at old photos, tell stories, and reminisce.

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What other free activities can you think of?

Sarah

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