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Free and Fun Family Activities

Michele Meleen
Family cooking

Having fun with your family doesn't have to cost a cent. When you bring enthusiasm and a positive attitude, everyone can have a good time with these exciting activities ideal for all ages.

Free Things to Do for Families

Look for new activities to try at home or in your neighborhood. If you head out around town, walk or ride bikes so your fun can be truly frugal.

Become Citizen Scientists

Look for a local or regional opportunity to collect data and serve as honorary scientists on a real research project.

  • Zooniverse.org features nearly 100 active projects in categories like arts, history, biology and climate.
  • For projects with a broader scope, CitizenScience.gov offers opportunities to participate in projects with the Federal government.
  • At SciStarter, you can find projects related to ecology and the environment for specific regions or that can be completed from any location.

Create a Family Logo

Make a unique logo for your family that can be used in your annual newsletter, on the cover of a family yearbook, on personalized stamps, or engraved into a large stone in your front garden. Choose colors to represent your values, add in a fun symbol, then scan the drawing into your computer as a JPEG file.

Make Matching Art

Find materials around your house, like cardboard or large pieces of paper for each person's canvas, and some painting supplies. Then search YouTube to find tutorials on how to draw specific objects. Hosts like The Art Sherpa post tutorials for beginners with images like lilacs in a Mason Jar or a rainbow willow tree.

Cook a Tag-Team Dinner

The first family member enters the kitchen and starts putting together a dinner. After five minutes, they head back to the other room with everyone else, without saying a word. The second person then has five minutes to pick up where the last person left off. This continues with five-minute rotations until everyone has had one turn. Then everyone can gather together in the kitchen and figure out how to finish the dinner.

Learn Trade Skills From Locals

Head out into town and ask the florist for a behind-the-scenes look at what arrangements they're working on or see if a cake decorator will let you watch them work. Your best bet is to check with businesses owned by individuals rather than corporations or franchises that may have to follow stricter rules about customer interactions.

Free and Unique Family Games

Add some competitive flair to your family time to up the fun and fill more time.

Play Junk Drawer Flip

Each family member chooses one item from the junk pile or drawer to reinvent. Set a timer for 30 minutes to an hour and get to work. At the end of the time you can either have a pop-up sale in the front yard to see who can sell theirs first or post a poll on social media to see which others like best.

Host a Family Lawn Game Tournament

Invite neighborhood families to compete in a lawn game tournament where each family is a team. Great outdoor games for a tournament include:

  • Cornhole
  • Ladder Ball
  • Spikeball
  • Can Jam
  • Bocce Ball

Make a Life-Size Game Board

Use chalk on the driveway or spray paint in the yard to make a life-size replica of your chosen game board. For some games family members can be the game pieces and for other games you might need to use objects found around the house like balls, frisbees, or seat cushions. Games that work great include Checkers, Life, and Tic Tac Toe.

Family playing giant chess

Play Progressive Hide and Seek

Whether you're stuck indoors or can use the back yard, hide and seek is fun at any age. In progressive hide and seek, the person who is "It" is joined by each person they find and all can help look for the remaining players. The trick is, all "Its" have to be together in order for a player to be found.

Play Pinterest Fail

Everyone has seen something online that they tried to recreate at home and it just didn't turn out great. Now's your chance for redemption as you all compete to recreate a craft or dessert item you find on the internet using only supplies you can find in the house. Look for a trendy item like a unicorn cake and make it a little more accessible by asking each family member to make a unicorn cupcake or cookie that resembles the cake. The creation that looks the most like the original is the winner.

Be Free Together

Families can bond over any activity, even those that don't cost a dime. Make fun for your family any time, any place when you think outside the box to find free ways to have a good time.

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Free and Fun Family Activities