100+ Fun Things to Do for Families (That Won't Cost a Dime)

Updated November 3, 2021
Family cooking

Keeping your children entertained doesn't have to be an expensive and daunting daily task. With a bit of creativity, you can enjoy free family fun just about anywhere, at any time of year. Explore, create, and experience all you can with your brood without ever paying a dime. The best things in life truly are free!

Fun Free Things to Do in Winter

There is so much to do once the snow starts falling. Whether you bundle up and head into the cold, or spend cozy evenings in the comfort of your home, wintertime is family time ALL the time.

Paint the Snow

Fill spray bottles with water and food coloring and make cool designs in the snow.

Make Snow Angels

boy making snow angel

Put on hats, coats, mittens, and snow pants, and make snow angels in the fresh fallen snow.

Eat Snow Cream

Gather clean snow and use ingredients in your home to make yummy snow cream.

Build a Snowman

Work together to make one giant snowman or a family of snowmen.

Make Paper Snowflakes

Cut out shapes in folded white paper to make snowflakes. Hang them from the ceiling and make your home a winter wonderland.

Drink Cocoa by the Fire

Light a fire and watch the snow fall while you sip homemade hot cocoa.

Build a Nighttime Bonfire

Grab blankets and coats and sit by a winter bonfire in the evening hours.

Have a Snowball Fight

Make a bunch of snowballs and hurl them at each other in the backyard.

Go Sledding

family snow sledding down hill

Pack up the sleds and head to a local sledding hill. Spend the day racing down the hill together.

Shovel the Drive

Get your wintertime workout in by shoveling the driveway as a family.

Head Somewhere Virtually

Too cold to get outside? No worries. Take a virtual field trip to somewhere far away.

Exciting Free Things to Do in Summer

There is no shortage of free family activities to try out in the summer months. Take advantage of a slower pace and warmer temps and see if any of these ideas get your kids' attention.

Have a Water Balloon Fight

Toss water balloons at each other, dodging and weaving away from the wetness.

Have a Squirt Gun Battle

family squirt water gun fight in yard

Fill up squirt guns and target loved ones in the backyard. This classic summer game will leave everyone smiling and soaked.

Take a Family Bike Ride

Ride bikes around your town or neighborhood after dinner to wind down before bedtime.

Decorate the Pavement With Chalk

Create lovely designs on your pavement with chalk paint and chalk sticks.

Go on a Bug and Butterfly Search

girl holding branch with caterpillar

Look around in nature and search for flying and crawling critters. Draw what you find or snap a picture, but leave the little guys be.

Try Backyard Camping

Set the family tent up in the backyard and sleep under the stars.

Day or Night, Look to the Sky

family looking at clouds together

Look to the sky! In the daytime, find fun clouds that resemble other objects. At night, search for the brightest stars and cool constellations.

Play Some Sports

Practice soccer skills, basketball dribbling, or tossing a baseball back and forth.

Have a Jump Rope Contest

Go head to head in a jump rope contest. See who can get the most jumps. Can you make it harder? Try hopping on only your right foot or your left or jumping blindfolded!

Pick Wildflowers

Head to a field and pick some pretty wildflowers. Take them home and display them in a vase.

Run Through Sprinklers

Take your shoes off and run as fast as you can through the backyard sprinklers.

Free Fall Activities

The autumn season is filled with chillier temps, bright and vibrant colors, and so much to do both inside and outdoors.

Rake Leaves for a Neighbor

father and daughter raking autumn fall leaves

Find a neighbor with a large tree in their yard and ask to rake up their leaves for them.

Go on a Leaf Hunt

Take to the woods and collect as many different shapes and colors of leaves that you can find. How many did you discover? Bring them home and see if you can figure out what trees they fell from.

Make Leaf People or a Leaf Scene

Make funny leaf people on paper with leaves, twigs, and acorns you find in the yard. Try making leaf animals with different shaped leaves or create an entire scene with what you find on the earth's floor.

Paint Acorns

Collect pretty acorns from outside and paint them in bright colors. Fill a bowl or vase with them.

Make Scented Pine Cones

Make the best smelling pine cones! These are pretty to display in the home, and they are so fragrant.

Take a Family Jog

Put your sweats on and go on a family run. Fall is a great time to start getting into shape. The weather is cooler, and breathing in that fresh air feels oh so good.

Play Backyard Football

Fall is football season. Play a game of touch football in the backyard before heading in to turn on the big game.

Sip Cider on the Porch

Sit on the back porch and sip some fresh cider while chatting about your day or discussing what is to come.

Carve or Paint a Pumpkin

Autumn is the perfect time of year to emphasize pumpkins. Paint or carve a pumpkin and display it on your front porch.

Clean Out Garden Beds

boy cleaning garden for fall

The garden is ready for a long slumber following the summer months. Fall is the prime time to get everyone outside and start cutting plants back and cleaning up the garden beds.

Cool Crafts That Won't Cost a Dollar

Kids love to spend a few hours crafting, and free crafts are the very best crafts. All of these activities can be done with items you likely have lying around your home.

Create a Treasure Map

Have kids each choose one item in the home and hide it. Then make treasure maps, leading siblings to the hidden treasure.

Paint the Sunset

Go outdoors in the evening with paper and paints and paint a stunning sunset.

Make Noodle Necklaces

Use pipe cleaners or string and noodles to make noodle necklaces. If you have food dye on hand, color the noodles differently and create patterns.

Paint With Nature

You don't need paint brushes to make masterpieces. Paint with what you find in nature. Roll rocks, use sticks, dot paint with leaves and flowers, to create stunning and colorful texture variations.

Make Paper Bag Puppets

girl with paper bag puppets

Make cute paper bag puppets and put on a puppet show for your family.

Make Playdough, Slime, or Putty

Recipes for homemade playdough and putty are easy, and you probably have all you need right at home. Same goes for slime recipes. You might be able to create these fun, sticky substances for free.

Create a Recycled Sculpture

Create an incredible sculpture using only recyclable items. Work together to fashion something interesting and unique.

Design Your Own Apparel

Grab an old pair of shoes, and fabric or permanent markers, and get designing! Create colorful and cool patterns to make old items new again.

Make a Hallway Family Art Gallery

girl hanging artwork on wall

You might not be able to plan an afternoon at The Louvre Museum, but you can make your own family museum at home. Decorate any long hallway with your kids' most prized artwork pieces. Use new art they create, and work in old pieces you have stored away.

Make Bookmarks

Get out heavy-duty cardboard or cardstock and cut out bookmarks. Add designs and inspirational sayings or cute quotes from children's books to the design. Using a hole punch, attach a string or ribbon to the end of the bookmark.

Sew Something

girl sewing at home

Pull out some scraps of fabric, a needle and thread, and practice your sewing skills. Make items for dolls or stuffed animals, or learn a new stitch.

Indoor Games/Activities for Rainy Days

It's pouring outside, and everyone is stuck indoors. No need for moping because the four walls of your home are full of free family fun ideas.

Make a Fort

If you have a large cardboard box or couch and chair cushions, you can make a fort. There are tons of interesting ways to make forts that are free or cost nearly nothing.

Have a Tea Party

Put on your fanciest frock, get out the good tea cups and have yourself a tea party. Invite all of your children's favorite stuffed animals to the soiree.

Make a Movie Theater

Pop popcorn, close the blinds and set chairs up in the family room to create an at-home movie theater. Pick a favorite family flick out for this fun and free event.

Build With LEGO

Build an entire village out of LEGO on the dining room table or the kitchen floor.

Have a Family Talent Show

family talent show play recorder instrument

What is your family good at? Spend some time practicing special skills and then show them off at a family talent show. Do a few individual talent routines and then pair family members up to do something together.

Play Freeze Dance

Put your favorite music on and play a couple rounds of freeze dance. You can also work as a family and come up with a choreographed dance routine.

Have a Family Room Sleepover

Get pillows, blankets, and sleeping bags out and have a family sleepover in the living room.

Make a Matchbox Car Racetrack

Use painter's tape or masking tape to make a racetrack to zoom matchbox cars all around the house.

Learn How to Make Cool Braids

There are so many interesting ways to braid hair. See how many different braids you can create on each other or on dolls or Barbies.

Throw Paper Airplanes

Make fun paper airplanes and toss them around. Whose travels through the air farthest? Which one has the coolest design?

Learn How to Do Cat's Cradle

Teach your kids how to do Cat's Cradle using string.

Do a Puzzle Together

Putting a puzzle together is peaceful, takes teamwork, and leaves everyone feeling accomplished when the puzzle is completed.

Family Outings Big on Fun & Low on Cost

Pack some snacks, load the kids into the car, and hit the road. Family outings don't have to be pricey activities. There are so many places to visit and explore for free!

Go on a Drive

Around Christmas, check out the holiday lights. In the fall, gaze upon colorful trees. In warm months, roll the windows down, turn up the tunes and sing at the top of your lungs along the open roads. There is no bad time to take a family car ride.

Check Out Local Walking Trails

Drive to local walking and hiking trails and get wandering.

Check Out a Museum

Many local museums waive the admission fee at different points in the year. Take advantage of these free days.

Head to a Local Lake

family playing on beach at lake

Play in the waves, build a sandcastle and soak up the sun at a local lake.

Try a Corn Maze

During the fall months, can your family figure out how to get through a local corn maze? You'll have to work as a team to achieve this fall feat.

Go Picnicking

Pick a perfect picnic spot, spread your blanket out and dine on all your favorite picnic foods.

Spend Time at the Library

Libraries are great places to spend a day. They often hold free events and have a children's section for kids to roam about in.

Check Out Community Concerts

In the warmer months, see if any community concerts are happening in your area. Listen to the music and relax with your family.

Play Sand Volleyball or Tennis

Find a sand volleyball or tennis court to play a few games with your kin.

Go on a Lighthouse Tour

If you live near a coastline, drive along it and check out the amazing lighthouses in the area.

Spend Time at a State Park

State Parks also hold days where the admissions fee gets waived. Find out when those days are, and take the family into the wilderness.

Find a Festival

father and son in bumper car at fairgrounds

See if any festivals or fairs are taking place nearby. Head to one and spend the day checking it out.

Play on a Playground

You can play at your favorite playground, or try a few of the local ones out on a day where your family has nothing planned but some together time.

Free Family Activities That Boost Learning

Work together to engage minds while connecting with one another. These learning activities are fun, free, and meaningful.

Try New Magic Tricks

brother sister putting on magic show

Take to the internet and learn how to perform a few magic tricks. Practice them and put on a family magic show.

Learn About Your Family Roots

Look through photo albums, call up senior family members and gather info to create a family tree. Learn about your family's roots and heritage.

Read a Chapter Book Together

Choose an epic chapter book and read one or two chapters a night together.

Create a Family Recipe

family making recipe together in kitchen

Pull together some family recipes and make a cookbook, or create a brand new recipe together. Learn about measurement, write out preparation and cooking steps, and teach kitchen safety skills during this activity.

Do a Science Experiment

Write in invisible ink, learn about items that sink and float, or create a soda explosion. Use items in your home to dive deeper into scientific concepts.

Write a Family Poem

Write your family's last name on a sheet of paper with the letters written vertically. Together, think of a word that describes your family for each letter in your family's last name. Decorate the name poem and hang it in your house.

Play Mad Libs

Help kids hone their knowledge of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs by playing Mad Libs. There are so many cute and free Mad Lib printables to work on with your family.

Engage in a Round of I Spy

I Spy is an excellent way to boost younger children's vocabulary skills. Play a few rounds of this game any time your family has downtime.

Play War

You only need a deck of cards and two players to play the card game War. This game encourages kids to think about the mathematical concept, greater than and less than.

Challenge Each Other to a Game of 'What Am I?'

One person describes an object or an animal without ever saying what it is. They have to use their best association and descriptive skills to help the other players guess what the object they are thinking of is.

Bring Out the Board Games

You probably have tons of board games lying around the house. Pull a few out and play. So many board games are packed with learning skills.

Free Family Fun That's Good for the Soul

These activities cost nothing, but they provide so much. Self-care, working together on something, or giving back to the community are all excellent ways for your family to bond.

Create Vision Boards

What do the kids dream of being or doing someday? Using a large paper or poster board, create vision boards. Include pictures, inspirational quotes, and ideas for the future.

Do Yoga

mother and daughter doing yoga together

Using a free app or a video, do a bit of deep breathing, stretching, and yoga in the living room. Find your center together.

Start Journaling

Devote old notebooks lying around to journaling. Set aside a few minutes each day to find a cozy, quiet space in the home and write down thoughts, feelings, and musings.

Build a Gratitude Wall

Use Post-It notes and a large wall to make a gratitude wall. Throughout the year, put up notes about all that your family is thankful for. Expressing gratitude is healthy and soul cleansing.

Donate Used Items

Tackle organizing a cluttered space together. Clean out a closet, a basement, a bedroom, or a garage. Donate the items your family no longer needs to a good cause.

Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Show kindness to animals in need and spend an afternoon helping out at your local animal shelter.

Make Cards for a Senior Center

Make cards for the elderly and drop them off at a senior center.

Spend the Day Feeding Others

Check out local soup kitchens or food banks and see if they need a few extra sets of hands. Discover how good giving back feels.

Do Yardwork for a Neighbor

Does your family have elderly neighbors or young families with babies? Head over and mulch, rake leaves or do some planting for them.

Make a Meal for Someone Else

Cook a meal together in your kitchen and give it to someone else. Their gratefulness will warm your hearts.

Clean Up the Local Playground

Take care of the space your family loves the most. If you frequently visit a local park, spend some time cleaning it up rather than playing there.

Free Activities Fueled by Imagination

Spend the day pretending to be something else. Playing pretend fosters creativity and imagination, improves social and emotional development, enhances language and communication skills, and costs nothing! What can you and the kids pretend to be?

Be a Restaurant

Make menus, set the table, bake cookies, create sandwiches or blend up a smoothie. Use what you have in your kitchen to play restaurant.

Run a Car Wash

If the sun is shining, fill up buckets of water with suds and head outside to wash the cars.

Play Bookstore or Library

father and daughter with book in home library

Set books up and play bookstore or library. Discuss how books are categorized and take turns running the shop/library and being the shopper/book browser.

Turn Into Architects

Dream and design buildings and cities on large pieces of paper. Draw out plans for unique spaces and share your ideas with each other.

Play Pet Shop

Set up all of your favorite stuffed animals in different boxes and containers and turn a room in the house into a pet shop. Care for the animals and find them good homes.

Transform Into Actors for a Day

Make a movie, put on a play, or walk the red carpet. Turn into actors for an afternoon.

Be Vacation Planners

Vacations are expensive. Dreaming about them costs nothing. Be vacation planners and have everyone think about and research their dream vacation. Share your perfect getaway with each other.

Play Spa

Turn bathroom lights low, put spa music on and fill up the tub with bubble bath. Paint nails, do a homemade facial and go full-on Zen.

Turn Into Hairstylists

sisters styling hair and painting nails at home

Get out hairbrushes and hair ties and play hair salon. Wash, comb, dry, and style each other's hair.

Go on an Imaginary Boat Excursion

Turn items lying around the house into an ocean-faring boat. Set sail in your living room for faraway lands.

Free Family Fun Is All Around You

Next time the kids whine that there is nothing to do, remember, that phrase won't fly. Family fun is all around you; you just have to stop and look. Activities don't have to be expensive, take the entire day, or occur far from home. Use what you have and their personal interests to suggest activities that cost nothing but keep everyone smiling.

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