As a stay-at-home-mom, it can get a little nerve wracking to be at home every day with little adult interaction.
But every time we leave the house, we inevitably spend money on something – sometimes it’s lunch at Chick-Fil-A because nap time crept up on me while we ran errands, and I don’t feel like braving a cranky lunch hour at home.
Other times I spend money on admission to jump zones or indoor play areas.
Sometimes I want (or have to..when I’m trying to spend less) think of ways to have fun without spending money. Below are the first 8 ideas of free (or almost free) ways to have fun with kids without breaking the bank.
Free Things to Do With Your Kids – Outdoor Activities
Take a walk – Sometimes I get caught up in the idea that we need to go to a jump house to have fun, but if all you need is an outdoor space to let out some energy, a walk will do just fine! If they are hesitant to go, add variety by calling it a “nature walk” where you find different leaves to identify or ride bikes in a “Mickey Mouse “road rally.”
Go on a Spider Hunt – Boys especially love this one! On a late summer evening, just after dark, take a walk around the house looking for newly spun (or in progress) spider webs. Try to identify the spiders you find and, if you are patient, you might even see a bug get trapped and wrapped! If it’s raining or you’d rather stay inside, you can do this from indoors simply by turning on the outdoor lights and looking through your windows – spiders like to put webs across windows and doorways.
No-Cost Fun – Free Kids Activity Ideas
When I say free, I suppose I should say “little or no cost.” I consider using something you already have on hand (that probably costs a few cents per use) to be basically free.
Sidewalk chalk can be a mom’s best friend some days. One box costs a few dollars and will last forever as long as you don’t leave it out in the rain. Here are a couple of our go-to sidewalk/driveway activities with chalk (that we seem to have a lifetime supply of!):
Hopscotch – Get out the chalk and draw a hopscotch pattern on the driveway. Kids of all ages love this game. It can even be a way to teach your younger ones how to count!
Draw or Stomp Shadows – On sunny days, you can go outside on the pavement and learn about the different shadows your silhouette casts on the ground based on where you stand. My kids like to have me outline their shadows on the ground so it looks like they’re laying on the ground. Older kids can do this with one another without your help. Sometimes we even make a game out of trying to step on one another’s shadow!
I Spy – Good for outdoor or indoor fun, a good old game of I Spy can entertain kids of all ages for at least 20 minutes. Depending on age, you can use it to reinforce color recognition, counting, or even storytelling.
Free Activity Ideas for Hot or Rainy Days – No-Cost Indoor Fun
Sometimes you just need to find something to do inside on a super hot, stormy, or just cold and rainy day.
Indoor Picnic – You can make a boring lunch into something fun by calling it a picnic and eating on a blanket in the house. I usually do this in the dining room so we don’t make a mess elsewhere. My kids like to “invite” their dolls and bears to lunch!
Lava Dancing – My daughter and I came up with this one time when she was playing with painter’s tape. We made small squares on the floor with painter’s tape (about 8″ x 8″) and turned on some fun music. I served as the DJ while my daughter danced. Anytime I stopped the music, she had to immediately jump to a square because turning the music off made the floor into burning hot LAVA! There was nothing else to it…it was just a good challenge to try to always be near a square yet dance in the meantime. So I realize this isn’t exactly free, but it’s very very low cost.
Make up a Story – Remember that activity from when we were kids where you had to ask your friend to give you random words as you filled in the blanks on a story? Same principle here. I like to make up a short story and leave blank spaces for my kids to give me words. When we’re done, I read them the silly story they concocted! If you’d rather skip the story-writing part yourself, I found an online version of this on the PBS Kids website: Create a Story.
Do You Have Any Free Kids Activity Ideas?
So that’s it. Eight ways you can create free fun kids activities at home with your children.
Do you have any favorite no- or low-cost ideas to share?