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One of our New Year’s resolutions was to spend more quality time with our kids and make more memories. One sure-fire way to accomplish this is to have some ideas at the ready to fall back on when you can’t think of anything to do together. I have definitely noticed that if the kids are engaged in something their behavior is 100% better than when they are not engaged, so as a part of my sanity saver, I think it is important to have free or cheap activities to fall back on when we run out of things to do. Plus, we will be making life-long memories to hold onto! So, without further ado, here is our list of things to do to increase the quality time you get with your kids. Don’t worry, there are some lazy activities in there, so you can still be a lump from time-to-time!
51 Free or Cheap Activities for Kids
- Garden. We started a vegetable garden a few years back and the kids enjoyed picking snap peas off the vine or strawberries off the plants and eating them while playing in the yard. This year I hope to get them more involved in the actual planting and tending to the garden part. Also, fingers crossed our garden isn’t completely washed away by floods this year!
- Go for a walk
- Cook together. Pinterest is full of ideas. Here are a few we have tried with success in the past.
- Bake bread in a bag
- Make butter for that bread
- Make ice cream and then eat it together
- Bake cookies or brownies
- Make your own pizza
- Swing on the swings together
- Read a book together
- Color pictures together
- Play a board game. Here are our favorites currently.
- Play a card game. Teach them a new one like “war” or play an old standby like Go Fish
- Build a puzzle together. Just be aware that if it is too complicated you will end up doing it all yourself while the kids tear the house up!
- Blow bubbles
- Play in the sprinkler
- Color with sidewalk chalk
- Ride bikes or scooters
- Make lemonade and have a lemonade stand
- Paint your nails together
- Make playdough and then play with it!
- Snuggle on the sofa and watch a movie (See? I told you there were some lazy day activities!)
- Make smores
- Pop popcorn (not the microwave kind!)
- Play rock, paper, scissors
- Ask your kid questions
- We always ask each other “what was your favorite part of the day?” It is part of our dinner routine
- How were you kind today?
- What do you want to be when you grow up? Why?
- Create a bucket list of things you want to do together on weekends/summer break/winter or spring break-ask the kids what they want to do and then do it!
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Drive someplace with no set destination in mind
- Visit the library for story time or craft time
- Tickle fights
- Build a fort
- Go hiking
- See how many playgrounds you can visit in a summer
- Go outside and play tag
- Play hide and seek
- Play follow the leader
- Set up an obstacle course in your back yard
- Go swimming
- Look for cool or interesting rocks. Try breaking them open with a hammer (safety glasses and parental supervision should be in place for this)
- Learn a new skill together. I’ve always wanted to learn how to cross-stitch!
- Volunteer at a local organization
- Paint rocks and leave them around town for others to find
- Go to the farmers market
- Visit a pick your own farm and pick your own fruits, then bring the bounty home and get to cooking!
- Wash the cars together. Don’t forget to surprise spray each other with the hose!
- Camp out in the living room as a family one night. Or in your own backyard if you’re up to it!
- Make bird feeders
- Dance party. Turn up the music and dance like no one is watching! Your kids don’t care if your moves are terrible, they just want to have fun with YOU! ( ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ )
- Water balloon fight. As a cleaner, easier alternative, use (clean) sponges cut in half and dunked in water. You are sure to have fun, and there isn’t the mess of broken balloons to worry about afterwards!
- Put on a show-or rather, have your kids put on a show! Let them have center stage and wow you with their creativity
- Play dress up
- Have a tea party
- Take silly pictures together and make a collage to share
- Roll down the hill
- Catch fireflies
I’m sure there are many other great free or cheap activities to add to this list. This should get you started, but we want to hear what you do for free or cheap entertainment. Help me save money and my sanity this summer!
Who has time to read when all you want to do is veg out in front of the TV or go to sleep? Well, once upon a short time ago, that was me whenever I wasn’t playing with the kids, doing chores, or writing. Now as a work-from-home dad, I have implemented something that brings me pure joy.