Fun Family Activities – 16 Free (or Almost Free) Ideas

Quality time spent together as a family is vital in creating a strong emotional bond between parents and their children, as well as, sibling relationships. Family time allows the family to work on better communication between one another resulting in deeper trust and a feeling of belonging.

It has been proven that children who spend quality time with their family have better grades overall than children who don’t. Children are also less likely to exhibit behavioral problems if they frequently spend quality time with their family. Kids who have strong family relationships are less likely to do things that will get them in trouble with the law and are less likely to do drugs.

As a Mother of three kids two things I am often faced with in everyday life is saving money, keeping my kids occupied, and finding ways to bond as a family. My kids like to often tell me they’re “bored” if they don’t have anything specific to do or worse they start picking on each other or making messes around the house. Keeping kids occupied, especially multiple children, can grow costly very quickly if you’re constantly taking trips to places with entry fees or other costs (or hidden costs) associated with them.

Keep the kids happy, entertained, and enjoy quality time while keeping money in your pocket with these free and cheap activities I have compiled below.


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Visit the Park

Although, this might seem like an obvious one I still wanted to start the list with it.

Parks are a great place to take children and adults of all ages and abilities. Local parks can be found everywhere and offer a range of fun from play ground equipment, picnic tables, baseball fields, and tennis courts.

State and national parks offer an abundance of nature walks and hiking trails. A walk through nature is a chance to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells that the natural world has to offer.

Bring along a picnic basket and make an entire day out of your trip to the park. If It’s a hot day bring water balloons and squirt guns to keep everyone cool while also having fun. Most parks feature BBQ grills. Utilize them by bringing hot dogs, hamburgers, and other food to make on the grill.

Need help finding one? Use this great park locator tool from Discover the Forest to find a park or a forest near you.

Start a rock collection

Rocks can be found practically anywhere and often you can come across some pretty cool looking ones. If you want to know the name of each rock you find, The Mineralogical Society of America offers a great rock identification key 

Have a movie marathon

On days when it’s too hot, too cold, or rainy try this indoor activity that everyone will enjoy. Have your family members vote on movies to watch or let each kid pick out one. If you don’t own any movies or want to watch something new try renting a movie from Amazon, Redbox, Hulu, or Netflix. All of which are fairly cheap.

Visit the Beach

Beaches are often fun and family friendly and are a great option when it’s too hot to do much else. Build sand castles, get a tan, and cool off in the water. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and life jackets.


Go to a Community Concert

During Summer months many communities hold outdoor community concerts. They’re often held in a local park, so you can take a picnic basket and a blanket and lounge around with the whole family while you enjoy live music.

Create an Obstacle Course in Your Backyard

My siblings and I did this all the time when we were children. Obstacle courses are easy to make as you can use practically anything you have laying around. For example you can use a log as a balance beam, hula hoops to jump across, or bend pool noodles to create hurdles or tunnels.

Have a Fire in the Backyard

Build a fire in your backyard to relax around. Buy some roasting sticks and let your kids roast hot dogs and marshmallows, and create smores. Tell stories and enjoy the glow of the ambient fire.

Camp in your yard

Another favorite from when I was a child. Pitch a tent or two in your backyard for free family fun. Make a little camp fire or star gaze. If the weather isn’t great you can pitch a tent in your living room.

Visit Local Farms or Orchards

Learn about animals and farming and get a chance to see animals up close, maybe even pet some! You can check out big farm equipment and learn how growing and harvesting is done.

Local orchards tend to have a lot of fun things to do in the Fall. Some fun may include picking apples and pumpkins, hayrides, play areas, and live music.


Host a Family Game Night

Plan a night to play board and other games together. Scrabble, Pictonary, Life, Monopoly, Charades, Hungry Hungry Hippos. If game night is a success make a plan to have one weekly or monthly. Try new games each time or make up your own.

Take a Trip to a Museum

A trip to the museum is a simple way to get your kids out of the house without having to plan out a full-blown excursion. No matter if you’re in your hometown or traveling with your family, a visit to a local museum, large or small, can help inspire and expose your kids to something new.

While most museums are free, some require a small fee for admittance.

Visit the Public Library

Libraries are a great way for children to learn and play and they offer books and entertainment for everyone in the family. Check out books, music and movies or play games on the computers.

Libraries often host Summer Reading Programs to keep children’s mind active and engaged while school is out. These programs offer reading contests, story time, crafts, and other activities to make reading fun and exciting.

Go for A Bike Ride

Head out on a fun bike ride around town, through a park, or on biking trail. This is a great way to get everyone out of the house into some fresh air and it guarantees gentle exercise.

Plant a Garden Together

Messy fun that is rewarding. Children will love to dig in the dirt and get messy. Use this as a tool to teach your kids responsibility by having them check on the plants daily and water them. If you plant a fruit or vegetable garden allow your children to help harvest the plants and make a meal using the plants.

Increase their knowledge and love for learning by teaching them fun ways to care for their plants.


Make Crafts Together

Make bird houses, piggy banks, paper bag puppets, dream catchers, cards, picture frames or anything else you can think of. Also, be sure to check out Pinterest and Google for endless ideas on crafts for all ages.

Cook or Bake Together

Cooking as a family is fun and allows children to learn necessary cooking skills that they will need later in life. If you are worried about your child being near the stove, have them mix ingredients together or prep the food before it goes in the oven.

My family likes to make pizzas together. I make the dough and divide it up between everyone. Each of my kids, my husband, and myself get to create and eat our own individual pizzas with toppings of our choice. This is especially great when no one can agree on toppings or crust thickness.

Another recipe we enjoy creating together is chocolate chip cookies.

Check Out OurChocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

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