Like many families, quality time with my family is cherished. However, sometimes it’s challenging for me to come up with fun, family-friendly things to do on a tight budget. Entertaining little ones is rarely an easy feat for many reasons - short attention spans; high energy; the need to be interactive. Also, I can never be absolutely sure that a new activity will peak my daughter’s interest, so it’s risky to invest in a large amount of money on a single event. I've gotten pretty creative over the years and put together a list of 30 (fifteen this week, and 15 next week) fun, family-friendly easy activities you can do with your kids for little to no cost. Enjoy, and share your own!
1. Paint Pictures - Personally, I like to find an old Bob Ross show on YouTube and paint along with him. My daughter loves making “happy little trees.”
2. Write a Book - You can work with your kids to write a story and they can draw pictures to go along with the words. If you have a scanner, you can scan your pictures and order a copy of the book from a service like Snapfish.com . This runs about $20 but the website usually runs specials.
3. Go to a Museum - Check to see if any local museums have specials for free admission. Your librarian may also have members-only specials. Here’s some advice from our blogger Chris on buying a museum membership.
4. Chalk it up…on the Sidewalk – Sidewalk chalk is inexpensive and you don’t have to worry about coloring outside of the lines and onto your walls or table. Take pictures; that masterpiece might be worth something someday.
5. Have an Impromptu Talent Show - Break out some holiday decorations or fun costumes and set up a stage. Have the entire family perform a talent and record or photograph the event and share with the grandparents.
Play that Funky Music
6. Have a Dance Party… and invite your friends! Dancing releases stress and energy and makes you feel great. If your dance moves are stuck in the 80’s, use a video or game like Dance Dance Revolution to assist.
7. DJ Mix Master Mom (or Dad) - Everyone gets to take turns being the DJ while each family member creates their ultimate playlist. This can work perfectly with your dance party!
Fall In Love With Nature
8. Have a Picnic - Try picnicking in your living room if the weather isn’t good for going outside.
9. Go to the Beach - If it is too cold to swim, make a sandcastle!
10. Start a Vegetable Garden – Depending on the time of the year, you can start your seeds inside or outside and watch them grow.
11. Take a Walk or a Hike - Appropriate walking or hiking attire is the only thing needed to make a day of outdoor fun.
12. Feed the Ducks - Did you know that bread is actually not a great dietary option for ducks? Try peas. They are good for the ducks, and very inexpensive.
Let’s Get Physical
13. Let’s go Bowling - Check with your local bowling establishments to see if they have kid’s specials during specific times or days of the week or coupons on their website.
14. Run Through a Sprinkler - The perfect way to cool off on a hot day.
15. Volunteer - It is a great way for kids to get involved in the community early in life and will teach them to be grateful for what they have.
What do you think of these 15 fun family-friendly activities? (Say that three times fast!) Tell us some of your ideas for family fun on a budget in the comments below, and check out part two of this series with 15 more family fun on a budget.