Need free kids activities for family fun ideas? Check out our budget-friendly list of activities for kids, including some kids creative activities at home! Here’s what activities can you do without money or when you need cheap ideas for children!
FUN FREE KIDS ACTIVITIES FOR STRETCHED BUDGETS
Looking for kid-friendly activities in your city, searching for fun for family near me, or need more information on how to have fun while sticking to your budget?
Let’s face it, kids’ activities can get pricey!
Regardless of your family’s financial situation, raising a well-rounded child who is involved in a variety of activities can put a strain on the family budget.
Whether you have the next Picasso doodling on your living room wall or the future Sidney Crosby slapping pucks in your basement, it can become quite a financial undertaking to continue to fuel their passions.
How can I entertain my kids for free?
What can I do today for free?
Here are 10 free fun things to do with kids TODAY:
- Go to the park.
- Check out free classes at local libraries.
- Look for nature programs in your area.
- Enjoy an outdoor movie or concert.
- Go bowling with the “Kids Bowl Free” program. (Learn more later in the post!)
- Take advantage of free admission days at children’s museums and more.
- Search local churches and community centers for free indoor play places.
- Host a game day with friends or extended family (yes, even virtually!).
- Go hiking.
- Have fun at home with these stuck at home ideas.
What can I do with kids for cheap?
- Look for free (or really cheap, like $5) classes at stores like Michaels craft store or local pottery or painting shops.
- Get new books or games at a used bookstore or discount or thrift store.
- Host an online sleepover for kids.
- Have a “Nailed It!” bake-off with kids.
- Go geocaching or letterboxing.
- Shop clearance aisles for crafts to make.
DON’T MISS DETAILED IDEAS BELOW! [KEEP SCROLLING!]
Stuck At Home? How about these free online children’s activities!
How do you entertain kids virtually? Here are 8 free kids activities online:
- Do an online scavenger hunt (grab a free scavenger hunt printable here)
- Take online park tours
- Try a super fun online story creation program for FREE
- Watch free family movies and kids’ cartoons with Amazon Prime
- Play free online games
- Host a Netflix watch party
- Need drawing ideas for kids? Learn how to draw Narwhal (from the Narwhal and Jelly books)
- Download FREE online coloring pages of famous works of art
So, what cheap ideas for kids activities near me won’t break the bank?
I have always been someone who searches for affordable family fun activities.
And, since we began homeschooling, my frugalness has kicked into overdrive.
I believe that giving children educational and entertaining experiences should not have to come at a steep price.
Thankfully, there are a variety of engaging free activities if you know where to look!
HINT: It’s about way more than just searching online for activities near me for kids!
10 Free Kids’ Activities and Fun Family Activities
Here are kids free activities that you may not have even considered. Add them to your free fun things to do with the kids near me searches!
Free Kids’ Activities #1: Check out local parks.
This seems like the most obvious one, but it cannot be overstated: visit your local parks.
And, don’t just stick to your favorite, visit all of the local parks in your area over a period of time!
Remember how fun it was to catch a ball as a kid?
(No, not just on the Wii!)
There is so much to do at a park to keep the kids entertained like:
- Swing on the swings
- Go on a treasure hunt or a nature scavenger hunt
- Skip rocks
- Keep a nature journal
- Play tag
- Take a walk
- Blow bubbles
The options are limitless.
Oftentimes, we put so much pressure on ourselves as parents to have everything planned out so thoroughly.
We make it a point to have kids’ activities and distractions for our children so that every second is accounted for.
Even if the weather is changing (or cold!), it’s still the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the many benefits a trip to the park has to offer.
In addition to the physical health advantages, a day at the park for a child is a great way to release built up energy and lower stress levels.
It inspires imagination, stimulates social skills, and is just overall fun!
SEARCH: activities for kids near me [parks in your city]
Free Kids’ Activities #2: Don’t forget about libraries.
In a highly technological world with the answers to most questions at the tip of your finger, libraries are often viewed as archaic and obsolete.
This could not be further from the truth!
Libraries are often incredible, albeit overlooked, community resources with many valuable activities for children.
The best part?
They are free (and often have many free or very cheap class and activity offerings).
Libraries foster literacy early on in a child’s life.
Often equipped with engaging preschool programs, they start young children on the right path toward a lifetime of reading.
They also play a very important role in reading achievement for children who may lack access to books and other educational materials.
Libraries promote positive parental involvement in a child’s reading as well.
From book clubs to summer reading programs – there is no shortage of valuable, free resources at your local library.
(And, if you haven’t been for a while, you’ll be surprised. Today’s library’s are way cooler than libraries of the past!)
Free Activity Tip:
Don’t just search for free things to do with kids [your city]. Expand your search to nearby cities and the entire state!
Free Kids’ Activities #3: Look for nature programs.
Take advantage of your local city and/or county parks system and contact them about upcoming events.
Often, the parks system will offer nature-based programs and hiking excursions at no cost for the community.
While you’re at it, check out national parks as well and take part in the Junior Ranger program “Explore, Learn, and Protect!” from an early age and instill an appreciation for nature.
Children as young as five can begin earning badges as part of this educational, family-friendly program.
Free Kids’ Activities #4: Take in an outdoor movie or concert.
Many areas now offer free outdoor events.
From concerts, movies, sports and fitness events, there is almost always something to do for a large portion of the year.
Find out what’s happening near you by visiting your county or city website (and don’t forget about surrounding areas, too!).
Free Activity Search Tip:
When searching online for activities for kids today, narrow your search by age group like activities near me for toddlers (or teens or whatever age group you have).
Free Kids’ Activities #5: Go bowling… for FREE!
Bowling is great family activity, but can be pricey with a big family.
However, select bowling centers across the country are participating in the Kids Bowl Free program.
Registered children will receive two free games per day, every day!
This program, available at certain participating locations, is designed to give back to the community by providing a safe and affordable way for children to spend their time.
Free Kids’ Activities #6: Look for free admission days.
Most major cities will offer free admission days at least once a year for local attractions (and even special days for homeschoolers).
Take time to navigate the websites of your local resources to learn more and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Children’s museums, art and history museums, galleries, zoos, local businesses, amusement parks and more offer free admission days.
These days serve as a wonderful opportunity to experience some of your city’s premier attractions without cracking open your wallet!
Fair warning: free admission days are significantly more crowded than a typical business day and sometimes parking is not included.
SEARCH: free kids activities today.
Free Kids’ Activities #7: Take in-store classes.
Did you know that many stores offer free activities for children?
Have a little one who enjoys building?
At other stores you can enjoy crafts, coloring, Lego building activities, and more!
The list goes on!
Here are some stores with cheap and free children’s activities:
The Lego Store – VIP Monthly Mini Model Build Events for those in participating areas.
Whole Foods -check for your location for upcoming craft and story times.
Disney Store – learn to draw your favorite character or create an origami puppet!
Pottery Barn Kids – enjoy weekly story time, activities, and more as part of the Pottery Barn Kids Book Club.
Barnes & Noble – Reading is FUNdamental, right?! Take part in your local B&N free story times with creative activities. Check your location for accurate times and themes.
Apple – Apple has Kids Hour, a new hands-on way to spark your child’s imagination. In this free class children will explore coding, storytelling and illustration, movie making, and more! Check your local store for available dates and times.
Michaels – Michaels craft store offers a mix of free and super cheap classes for kids and even has free Zoom classes online now! Check your local store for available dates and times.
Free Kids’ Activities #8: Go Hiking (Even If You Don’t Know How)
Hiking is the ultimate free family activity and a way to experience nature and areas that you haven’t visited before!
However, if you’ve never hiked, it may feel intimidating.
No worries, check out our “how to hike” guide and make it fun so that even the biggest couch potato in your family will enjoy it!
Free Kids’ Activities #9: Host a Board Game Day (Even Online!)
I think in this age of high tech, we often forget about the old-school solutions for fun.
Enter: Board Game Day.
Host a family (or even friend) board game day where you turn off the TV and let go of technology for the afternoon.
Let everyone pick their favorite game or even have friends bring their own fun card or board games.
Free Kids’ Activities #10: Think of fun things to do with kids at home
Wherever your itinerary leads, be mindful not to overlook the most basic but impactful activity of them all:
Spending time with you at home.
The greatest gift you can give your children is your time.
- Cuddle on the couch and watch a movie.
- Read aloud together.
- Turn up the music and have a dance party.
- Cook dinner together (and learn why cooking with kids is important!).
- Plant a fairy garden from things you find outside and around the house.
- Sit around a bonfire, make s’mores, and look at the stars. (Or, make indoor s’mores!)
- Look through family albums and share family stories.
- Do a puzzle.
- Create a craft or art project.
You can do these things right at home, they won’t cost a thing (or will cost very little), and the memories are priceless.
One Last Kids’ Activities Tip: What free activities are near me?
If you want to regularly search online for free kids’ activities in your area, use search terms like:
- free kids events today
- activities near me for families
- fun activities for kids near me
- free activities for kids today
- free kid events near me
- fun things near me for kids
- families activities near me
- fun things to do with toddlers near me (or another age range)
Contributor Samantha Lee is a homeschooling mom and blogger in the Pittsburgh area. As a wife, homeschooling parent, and freelancer, she aspires to grow academically, faithfully, and wholly everyday. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.