Are you one of the few, the wise, and the frugal? Well, we are one of the same then. Let’s share our ideas! Below is my list of the top 35 free things to do with your kids.
After you are done reading through it, tell me what free things you do with your kids in the comment section!
35 Free things to do with your kids
Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunt that is fun for both adults and kids! A geocache is a small trinket that people hide for others to find.
There are millions of geocaches worldwide and you can likely find a bunch hiding near you. All you have to do is download the geocaching app and start hunting.
2. Hold Challenges
If you’re a competitive family, come up with a challenge. The ideas for these are endless.
You could have an art challenge, baking challenge, money-making challenge, guess the movie song challenge, and more!
3. Visit a lake
Our family loves to visit our local lake.
If you want some ideas on what free things to do with your kids there, consider bringing a floaty to play with in the water, having a picnic, riding bikes or scooters, bringing a net and catching critters, or printing out a scavenger hunt for the types of nature you may find there.
4. Go Hiking
Hike a local trail or nature reserve. Also, if there is a welcome center, stop in to see what they have to offer visitors.
While some museums aren’t free, you might be surprised how many are. With a simple online search, you can find local museums that your family can visit absolutely free.
6. City Parks
If you live in the city, check out your local parks. Consider bringing along a blanket and a book to read to your kids.
7. Game night
Not into board games? How about playing a family video game? Pull out a classic like Mario Party 9.
8. Build a bike ramp
Let’s talk about free old-school things to do with your kids. Do you remember ramping your bike off of things when you were a kid?
If you don’t, I’m sorry – because ramping is the real deal! It’s thrilling with a hint of danger. Not for people who are afraid of a skinned knee.
When I was a kid, I used to ramp over natural hills and hills my dad made for me with the tractor, but that was in the country. You can get creative when you have some land.
However, if you live in the city, you can still build some ramps out of wood or make use of some plastic car ramps you might have in your basement.
9. Make up a game
What kind of game would interest your family?
My son created this game called “Man Hunt.” Essentially, it’s a ramped-up version of hide-and-seek in the dark. The kids go hide in the backyard and the seeker has to find them with a flashlight.
The kids get a kick out of it because the person hiding can move around in the dark without the seeker being able to see them.
Get creative and make up a game of your own!
10. Host a family reunion
Family reunions are becoming a thing of the past. However, I remember my grandparents having reunions at their house and how fun it was to play with all my cousins.
Why not pull one off of your own? You could have it in a large backyard or a local park. You can also have everyone bring a game and a covered dish to share!
11. Prank people
My husband would say that this is my inner bully coming out. I can’t help it. I LOVE to prank people. In fact, April Fool’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year.
Come up with some innocent pranks to play on someone. If your child has some toy spiders, you could place them on your neighbor’s doorknob.
Also, another fun one would be to tear apart a brown toilet paper roll, make it wet, and roll it back together. It will look just like a turd! Take that to Grandma’s house next time and place it somewhere! If you place a hidden camera and you could even go viral!
12. Set up an intense event
This takes a little creativity but is super fun. These events can be anything from a few minutes to days of fun.
For example, a few weeks ago the kids and I planned a secret surprise attack on my husband before he came home from work. We turned all the lights off and shut the curtains.
We played scary Halloween music and placed a Nerf gun outside the door with a note that said, “ENTER IF YOU DARE.”
Before he walked in, we hid in our secret spots and had a full-blown family Nerf battle in the dark. It was a ton of fun and the kids are still talking about it.
Additionally, if you have a ball of yarn lying around, you could cut it up and tape the string around your house. Everyone could crawl through the strings and pretend it is a laser maze.
We love these intense events because they don’t take a lot of time to plan, yet, the memories are here to stay.
13. Lowe’s DIY Kid’s Workshop
Did you know that Lowe’s holds a kids’ workshops with loads of free things to build with your kids. The workshops are held in-store every month.
14. Visit music festivals/concerts
Don’t be fooled into thinking that there is a cover charge for every festival. We routinely visit local events like these free of charge.
Of course, there is a lot of things to spend money on while you are there. However, you can often find freebie stands doing mini-games, giving out promotional items, and giving candy to the kids.
15. Visit historical sites
While historical tours themselves cost a fee, you can visit most historical sites completely free. To find one near you, simply do a web search for “free historical attractions near me.”
16. Library activities
Oh the library – such a magical place. Libraries offer a ton of services, programs and other things you can do completely free with your kids.
Sure, you can check out books for free but you can also do other fun things such as borrowing movies, meeting authors, learning languages, joining reading clubs, and more.
If you don’t visit your library, you are missing out!
17. Build a Lego city
If you have a ton of Legos sitting around, dump them out on the floor and the whole family can make a building. Afterward, your kids can have a whole city to play with for weeks!
18. Visit botanical gardens
Looking to take in some beauty while also taking advantage of some photo opportunities? Visit your closest botanical garden.
Here are some awesome ones:
To find a botanical garden near you, simply do a web search or try searching this state-by-state list.
19. Tour a fire station
All you need to do is call in and ask to schedule a tour! Someone will be happy to show your family around the station!
20. Outdoor movie
I’m sure you’ve seen extravagant outdoor movie setups, however, all the glam isn’t necessary. Forget the big screen and elevate your laptop outside on a box or something.
Enjoy some popcorn on a blanket or hammock and have the best outdoor movie on a budget you’ve ever had!
21. Build forts
Do you know those store hangers that have clips on them? Are you aware that they also make for easy fort building? You can clip a sheet anywhere for an awesome fort!
22. Build an obstacle course
Unleash the beast mode inside your family by making an obstacle course. No, this doesn’t have to be the next “American Ninja Warrior” course – use what you have!
I once created an obstacle course with random bricks, lumber, and a broken swing frame I had. It was the highlight of the party and we kept it up for the kids to play on for two weeks.
23. Backyard camping
Pop up that tent that you never use and sleep in the backyard! To make it extra fun, have a campfire and roast marshmallows. You could also bring a flashlight and tell stories!
24. Make a movie
Come up with a storyline and make a fun movie with your family that you’ll be able to look back on for the rest of your life!
25. Community movie night
Hang out with your community during a local movie night. I’ve seen these events hosted by medical offices, parks, and more! Facebook Events is a great place to look for these and other community events.
26. Scavenger hunt
There are a ton of free scavenger hunt sheets available online that you can easily print out to do. Check out this list of scavenger hunts from Good Housekeeping.
27. Start a kid business
Although entrepreneurship is usually only thought about with adults, it’s for kids too. Teach your kids about business ownership by creating something to sell, printing out flyers, and making money!
28. Backyard water park
This is the perfect summer activity. All you need is a tarp, dish soap, and a sprinkler for some serious fun!
29. Local playground
Visit your local playground and let those kiddos run free.
30. Go Hillbilly Sledding
(I completely made up this name.)
If you have a riding mower and a sled, you can go Hillbilly Sledding. Here’s how you do it:
First, tie your sled to a long, sturdy rope (if there isn’t one on it already.) Then, tie or clip the rope to the towing hook on the back of your riding mower. (We have ours attached to a sturdy metal clip we had lying around.)
After you have the sled hooked up, take your kids sledding through the grass or mud! Just don’t pull the sled through any hard surfaces such as a driveway, rocks, roads, etc. Safety first y’all!
31. Sleepover party
Let your kids invite some friends over for an exciting (and free) party. Tell them all to bring something similar to play with as a group. For example, everyone could bring their Nerf guns for a battle or their favorite nail polish for a spa night.
32. Have a picnic
Seriously, who doesn’t want to have a picnic? Pack up some sandwiches and a Frisbee and go have some fun!
Additionally, if weather doesn’t permit an outdoor picnic, bring the picnic indoors!
What better way to raise your kids to be well-rounded than to give back! Read, Volunteer Opportunities for Teens for some ideas!
34. Bug discovery
Grab an old plastic leftover dish and poke some holes in the lid. Afterward, go find some bugs and discover what kind they are.
35. Mini holiday party
We came up with mini holiday parties this year and they were so fun that we have actually decided to make them an annual tradition.
Back in July, we were missing the magic of Christmas. So we decided to have “Christmas in July.”
We baked a mini Christmas dinner, made crafts, put up Christmas lights, played Christmas party music, and even went to the Dollar Tree and picked each of the kids out two gifts.
The whole evening was wonderful and everyone loved it.
Although we did this as a mini-Christmas, you could do it for your own favorite holiday.
So there you have it! 35 free things to do with your kids. Let me know which ideas you like the most and share some free things you do with your own kids in the comments as well!