Did you know that the average household spends $3,568 annually on entertainment? That figure seems jarring to most. If you’ve been looking for ways to save money, finding free or cheap family fun ideas can help!
You don’t need to spend much money to entertain your kids and create family memories. Parents are always looking for new things to do with their brood that won’t break the bank. Keep reading to get 15 cheap family fun ideas you may have yet to hear about!
1. Go on a Virtual Tour
Maybe it’s too rainy or hot to play outdoors, or your kids just need a break from outside activities. Try taking a virtual tour of a zoo! Kids love watching animals in their natural habitats. Check out these 18 virtual zoo field trips, tours, and zoo cams for kids.
2. Visit a Farmer’s Market
Nearly every town or neighboring town hosts farmer’s markets, and the items for sale are generally inexpensive. Sometimes farmer’s markets are even held near a fun park or feature live entertainment for shoppers. Bring $20 to $30 in cash and see what local produce you can score. Bonus: school-age children can get some practice counting and making change!
3. Host a Family Movie Night
Grab snacks from your pantry and watch a movie you own for no-cost fun. Or check your local library for available movies you can check out.
You can also take things up a notch at a low cost. Stream a new film that the gang has yet to see and get pizza delivered. Take the kids for a trip to the dollar store to buy some fun snacks and candy your family might not usually get to indulge in.
4. Visit a Museum
Museums are a great way to explore cultures, educational topics, and different forms of art. They’re a great way for parents to have an affordable day with their kids while bonding.
Museums will often charge an entrance fee per person, but many offer free or discounted entrance fees on certain days of the week or throughout the month. Check online or call your local museums to see whether they offer discounts.
5. Pan for Treasure
Have you ever been panning for gold? Getting started with this fun outdoor activity is easier than you might think! Gold panning is a great way to get the entire family outside, spend time in nature, and learn about history.
Discover and identify your gemstones and minerals by ordering a gem-mining kit to be shipped to your home. It’s fun for all ages – simply add water to the gem/gravel mix to begin your own treasure hunt at home. Experience the life of a treasure hunter right at home!
6. Go Camping
If you have a tent and some outdoor knowledge, camping can be a fun and inexpensive family activity to enjoy during the warmer months. Camping’s significant cost is the tent and associated gear, so you might see if someone you know has items for you to borrow. Or, you can rent camping gear from your local sporting goods store.
You don’t have to travel that far: many kids enjoy a simple night of camping in the backyard. Pitch a tent together, roll out your sleeping bags, and make s’mores under the stars. Having a free staycation like this is a favorite activity for so many families!
7. Head Out for Some Fun in the Water
Visit your local community pool for a swim on a hot summer day, or head to a nearby river or lake. You might rent a canoe or kayak and spend the day traveling a local river with your loved ones. Canoe rentals won’t break the bank, with prices ranging from $20 to $40 for two to four of water fun. Pack lunches to eat poolside or on the riverbank, wear swimsuits, and enjoy the day together in nature.
8. Enjoy a Spa Day
Try bringing the luxury and relation of a trip to the spa to your family at a much lower cost. At most dollar stores, you can purchase items like bubble baths, face masks, nail polish, and candles. Treat your loved ones to a manicure, foot soak, and sweet-smelling scents without going broke.
9. Check Out an Open Gym
Start your child on the path to an active, healthy lifestyle. Check your local gymnastics center online or give them a call to see if they offer an “open gym” playtime. Most gymnastics centers will offer this at an affordable rate, usually around $10 per child. Kids can explore the gymnastics equipment and try new skills in a safe and supervised environment!
10. Hold a Bake Off
Baking together is a great way to spend time with the family; the ingredients will be the only associated cost. You can make it extra fun with a cooking challenge. Split the family into teams, and purchase enough ingredients for each team to make their own batch of cookies. Do a blind taste test to see which team reigns supreme in the kitchen!
11. Build a Garden
Creating a garden is an affordable activity that the whole family can get in on. Gardening shows your kids how we get our food while connecting them to nature. Even your youngest will love learning about dirt, plants, and bugs. Dirt and seeds are low-cost items sold at most home repair and grocery stores.
The younger the kids, the larger the seeds should be. You want to find seeds that are big enough for small fingers to handle. Some good seeds to plant include peas, beans, sunflowers, and squash. These plants will grow quickly, which makes them interesting subjects for any kid to watch! Enjoy beautiful flowers and yummy veggies that you and your family made possible.
12. Create a Chalkboard Wall
Add an element of fun to your child’s bedroom or playroom by giving them a wall to draw on! Chalkboard walls have become popular additions to children’s spaces. Installing one in your home will be relatively inexpensive. A chalkboard wall will be a well-loved addition since it provides a perfect setting for learning, pretend play, and games.
13. Paint Some Rocks
Rock painting is an excellent way for your family to get creative without spending tons of money. Local craft stores will have what you need to get started: paints and a few paintbrushes. Search for smooth stones around your home, clean them off, and take turns giving them a colorful facelift.
14. Go on a Picnic
You only need a blanket, a basket, and food, and you can host a fun family picnic. Spread your picnic in the backyard or a local park and enjoy some sunshine and company. Bring a ball, baseball mitts, or a frisbee for after-lunch entertainment.
15. Have a Game Night
You probably already have a few game boards at home and a deck of cards. Create a fun family experience by thinking of a different game to play each week.
Add games like charades, or buy a new board game every month to add to your collection. You may even be able to check out a board game for free at your local library!
Enjoy Cheap Family Fun Ideas
As you can see, putting together fun activities for kids doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are plenty of affordable activities for kids, even with what you have around the house. I hope you take this list of 15 cheap family fun ideas and have a blast!