It seems like money is always tight for one reason or the other, so over the years I have developed cheap or even free activities that we can do as a family that won’t break the bank, but still us to have plenty of giggles and fun! Feel free to use or modify any of the ideas below and add your family’s favorite low cost fun activities in the comment section.
1. Build Your Own Fort or Fairytale Castle
In my house we build forts, but if you have a little girl, you can easily build the greatest fairytale castle with items in your house. We drap sheets and blankets from the top of the dining room table and fill our fort with plenty of pillows (aka ammunition.) Sometimes a line of matchbox cars serves as a moat around the fort and the invading monsters (aka siblings) get boinked in the head with flying pillows. My boys also love to place sheets over vents to create pop up icey hideouts in the summer and cozy playspots in the winter.
2. Have a Treasure Hunt
Get some use out of those Easter eggs all year long with a spontaneous treasure hunt. For older children, you can make a map they have to follow or provide clues that lead from one egg to the other. For younger kids, you can simply hide them as usual and set them loose. Create gift coupons with snacks, hugs and kisses given as prizes or place your spare pennies inside for an afternoon of fun. It doesn’t have to be much, just enough to get them out of the house and having fun.
3. Have Fun With Nature
Fun and excitement is all around you if you know where to look. The boys like to go out in the yard and gather insects, plants and seeds that look interesting. We observe the insects and little animals and send them back to their habitat and look up the plants and animals online to find out cool new educational facts about them. You cane even print out some free coloring sheets of the items you find in order to extend the activity. One day, we found a slug, large grasshopper, several different butterflies and a velvet ant all in one afternoon.
4. Movie Night on the Cheap
If your family is anythign like mine, then going to the theater is a huge splurge. It can cost us over $100 with snacks to go to the movies. Instead, we use free codes we find online for Rebox and Blockbuster kiosk rentals and get a few movies for free. Add in some fresh popped popcorn, some koolaid and fruit rollups, and you have a movie night for less than $.50 per person.
5. Have a Field Day
If you have a lage family like ours this works well. If not, invite nephews and nieces or a few neighborhood kids over for a mini field day in the front yard. Sack races with pillow cases, three legged races with rubber bands and the 50 yard dash are just a few of the field day activities that you can do anywhere at anytime. Even if you end up making lunch for a few extra competitors, the lunch of champions (peanut butter and jelly with sliced apples) won’t put you out that much.