Spending time with your kids goofing around can be a very rewarding experience, especially given today’s busy schedules. Even better, your kids will grow to cherish those times they got to hang out with their mom or dad. Those times make for great bonding moments. However, many family fun outings come at a cost, and that may dissuade you if you’re looking for something more wallet-friendly.
So what are you to do if you’re not in a position to splurge? Well, there are plenty of activities you can partake in as a family without having to get your wallet out. Fun doesn’t have to cost a thing! You can get away with paying nothing. If you’re starved of ideas, check out this list of unique activities you and your kids can enjoy for free.
1.Visit a Children’s Museum
A museum may sound stuffy and a tad boring, but they really are fascinating places. Children’s museums feature child-oriented environments where young ones can learn while playing. Many of them have interactive activities that will engage their growing minds while also providing an opportunity for parents to join in the learning experience. If you decide to visit a childrens museum, remember to check out their website first so that you know beforehand what kind of activities to expect.
For example, the Edventure Children’s museum in South Carolina features learning through role-play, where kids are provided with the tools to play the role of a pilot, scientist, farmer, chef, firefighter, and many more. Others, like the biggest children’s museum in the world in Indiana, offer more spectacular experiences. Among other attractions, they have full-size dinosaur skeletons, a functioning archaeology lab, an Egyptian tomb laden with Indiana Jones artifacts, plus an opportunity for you to decode hieroglyphics that will help you identify a mummy.
Many children’s museums have exhibits showing the inner workings of various machinery or scientific principles. Overall, children’s museums are great places to disguise learning as play. As for the cost, many have free days where they do not charge for admission. You can take advantage of free day offers by consulting your museum’s website. Another way to save is through child tax credits, whereby memberships to a museum are tax-deductible in accordance with the law in your area.
2. Go Camping
Kids love camping. Treat them and yourself to an outdoor adventure and spend the night surrounded by nature as you huddle around a fire making s’mores. If you wish to take it easy, you can camp right in your backyard. However, if you’re up for it, there are free camping spots in the country, which include national forests and grasslands or land owned by the bureau of land management.
Camping provides an opportunity for kids to set up a campsite, explore, learn basic survival skills, etc. Whether you go for spring, summer, or winter break camps, you are sure to have a blast. Just make sure you carry the appropriate gear, especially for those cold winter break camps.
How about lending a helping hand where it’s needed? There are a couple of kid-friendly places one can volunteer, for example, picking up litter at the park, helping out at the zoo, serving food at the soup kitchen, doing chores for the elderly, or walking some dogs from the shelter. Some shelters even allow people to foster a dog for a weekend so you could bring home a Golden Retriever or maybe a pair of Goldendoodles.
4. Earn Some Money
If volunteering isn’t their cup of tea, perhaps you could show your child some ways to earn a couple of bucks and kickstart their entrepreneurial careers. For example, you could help them set up and run a lemonade stand, or if they are crafty, you could help them create an Etsy account where they can sell their art creations.
If summer has just begun, there will be homes needing a pool opening service, so they could fulfill that demand with some help. If they have a skill like coding or martial arts, then they can offer to tutor others for a fee. Encourage them to look for more side hustle ideas online or brainstorm a plan together. You may discover that they already have an idea ready to go.
5. Create a Mini-Game Day
For your mini-game day, prepare a series of games that will keep your kids entertained for hours. These can be novelty games like a sack race, an egg race, musical chairs, or a treasure hunt. Include sports like football, swimming, rope jumping, and golf. Don’t worry about not having all the gear, such as golf clubs. Use what you have to make the day into a fun-filled event that will leave them exhausted by the end.
6. Walk or Hike to an Interesting Destination
Sometimes, the simplest things are often ignored. A walk to the park, river, lake or some other place of interest can be rejuvenating. You can turn the walk into a game by creating a scavenger hunt list to make it more interesting. Maybe someone will be lucky enough to find a stray golf ball near the local private golf courses or stumble onto a mushroom. If you make it to a lake or a pond, you can lay down a picnic and feed the ducks. A calm, pleasant day can be just good enough.
7. Plant Some Vegetables
There are vegetables that are easy to grow at home without having to buy seeds or starter plants. One of them is potatoes. Simply bury them in soil, water them and wait. In no time, a new plant will begin to push through. You can do the same with half a tomato, and it will sprout. Burying the seeds of pumpkins and peppers will also yield results. If the kids don’t forget to water them accordingly, they will have their very own vegetable patch.
8. Make a Scarecrow
Now that the kids have their own vegetable patch, they need something to keep birds and other creatures away from their produce. It doesn’t take much to make one, but they will have loads of fun making it. All it takes is a couple of old clothes, a straw hat, some straw and cane, a newspaper for stuffing, a plastic bag, and finally, some needle and thread.
9. Switch Roles
How about if, for about an hour, you had no responsibilities? Let your child play the adult for an hour, and you’ll role play as the child. Take it a notch higher and do your best to change into children’s clothing while they put on adult clothing. The results will be hilarious!
10. Help Them Create a Story
Ignite their imagination by helping them write a story and bring it to life in the form of a play with puppets. Ask them to come up with different voices for their characters and act out the play in those voices. They should also illustrate their story to help them visualize the character they’ll be playing.
11. Make a Short Movie
While you’re out making lively stories, why not make a movie? It can be about anything they want, even something as mundane as daily chores. Let the kids express themselves. It will be lovely to watch their homemade movies when they’re all grown up.
12. Create a Flip Book
There’s something magical about watching a flip book’s static pictures transform into a movie. Imagine how pleased they’ll be when they make their own flip book movie! You can make one by drawing your image on the bottom right of the first paper. This will ensure that your image is visible when flipping the book. Draw the second image in the same bottom right spot on the next sheet of paper but vary the image slightly. Repeat this process many times, and you’ll be able to observe a moving character when you flip the pages.
13. Write Letters to Your Future Selves
Write letters addressing the future versions of yourselves, telling them about your current life, including your hopes and dreams. Having the children partake in this will help them create a vision for the future and plan for it. You should also agree that you will only open the letters at a certain date upon which you’ll be able to gauge your progress against where you aspired to be.
14. Play Water Games
Bring out the water guns and have a blast shooting water jets at each other. If you don’t have water guns, cups of water will do. The idea is to get wet. Turn on the sprinklers and run through them for a bit of silliness. The cool water will be splendid on a hot day. For even more terrific fun, make a slip n’ slide with some garbage bags taped together or, alternatively, a long plastic sheet. Pour water and liquid soap over the plastic sheet, and voila, enough fun for a whole afternoon.
15. Create Origami
You can fold pieces of paper into varying shapes, for example, a butterfly or a dinosaur. It’s also easier to make them nowadays because of the detailed video instructions on YouTube. You can turn it into a competition and see who completes their origami the fastest.
16. Try Geocaching
How would you like to join the world’s largest treasure hunt? Embark on a quest to find hidden caches using your phone or GPS to track them down. The caches are usually waterproof containers with a logbook inside. After locating the cache, you sign the log and return the container to exactly where you found it. More than 3 million caches exist are hidden across the world. To help you find them, use a geocaching app, so you don’t go off on a wild goose chase.
17. Identify Plants and Bugs
Thanks to the internet and social media, online communities have cataloged many plant and bug species such that an app is able to correctly identify these life forms from a photo. Give your kids the camera and let them explore the yard to see how many different plants and critters they can identify.
18. Plant a Tree
Why not do the planet a favor and plant a tree or two together. Not only is it good for the environment, but your child will also gain the satisfaction of watching the tree they planted blossom and one day become fully grown. Just make sure you plant it in an optimal place so that you won’t require tree service in the future.
19. Learn Magic
Have fun confusing each other with magic tricks that are sure to make your child the main attraction back in school. Some easy tricks to learn include the disappearing coin, spoon bending, guess the number, and dissolving a double knot.
20. Cook Together
Let your kid pick a recipe and do their best to follow it. That way, they get to learn how to follow step-by-step instructions and also more about nutrition. You can also bake together and let their creativity shine through by experimenting with adding elaborate designs to the cakes.
21. Make a Family Scrapbook
Just like the home movie, a family scrapbook is a lovely way of looking back and cherishing the memories you’ve made through the years. The whole family will enjoy reminiscing over the moments you’ve managed to capture.
There are many other unique free things you could do with your child. Children have such active imaginations that it doesn’t seem possible that such a list could be exhausted. If you’ve run out of ideas, it’s unlikely that they have. Reach out to us and let us know if you have more suggestions.