Need some fun family things to do with no money? If you’re anything like me you’re constantly on the lookout for ways to keep your little ones entertained without spending a fortune or travelling miles. And let’s face it, with the unpredictable British weather it’s always good to have a mix of indoor and outdoor activities up your sleeve!
I'm Steph, mum of three! 👋
Here, I share practical insights on making (and saving!) money. With a knack for budgeting and a passion for financial freedom, I've picked up lots of tips & tricks along the way. And I can't wait to share them with you here!
What To Do With The Kids When You’ve Got No Money
Well, I’ve got some good news for you. There are plenty of fun, engaging activities right under our noses that don’t cost a penny.
Yes, you heard that right – free, fun and educational activities that your kids will love, and that will give you some quality time together as a family.
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Free Kid Friendly Activities
So pop the kettle on and grab a cuppa, let’s dive into these 20 free activities for kids. Trust me, your little ones are going to love these and I bet you do too!
One of the simplest yet most enriching activities you can do with your little ones is to take them on a nature walk.
This isn’t just about getting from point A to point B. It’s about observing the world around us, appreciating the beauty of nature, and learning about the environment.
You can turn it into a mini-adventure by creating a scavenger hunt list of things to find, like a certain shaped leaf, a pinecone, or a feather. Talk about the different animals and birds you see, discuss the changing seasons, and teach them about the importance of preserving nature.
This activity not only get them outside but also peaks their curiosity and a love of the outdoors.
Books are a gateway to different worlds, characters, and experiences.
Visiting your local library and participating in story time sessions can be a magical experience for young children. Libraries often have a dedicated children’s section filled with colourful picture books and engaging stories.
Many libraries also host free story time sessions, where librarians or volunteers read aloud to children. These sessions can help instil a love for reading from a young age, improve their listening skills, and enhance their vocabulary.
Plus, it’s a great way to meet other parents and children in your community. Your local library should be able to give you a list of times and activities they’re hosting.
Crafting is a fantastic way to stimulate your child’s creativity and fine motor skills. The best part is, you don’t need fancy supplies.
Look around your house for things you can use – old magazines for collages, cardboard boxes for making a castle or a robot, or even just paper and crayons for drawing.
You can also introduce them to simple origami, or make homemade play-dough together (see below for a simple recipe).
Playdates are a great way for your child to socialise and learn to play with others. It’s also a great opportunity for you to meet and connect with other parents.
You can take turns hosting the playdate, which can be as simple as free play with their toys or you could plan some structured activities like a craft or a game.
Remember, the goal is not just to keep the kids entertained but also to give them chance to develop their social skills and make friends!
Who doesn’t love a good dance party? It’s a fun and easy way to get your little ones moving.
Just put on some of their favourite music and let them shake it off! Dancing helps improve their motor skills, coordination, and balance. Plus, it’s a great way for them to express themselves.
You can make it more fun by playing musical statues or having a little competition to see who can come up with the silliest dance moves!
Picnic In The Park
A picnic in the park is a simple and fun way to enjoy lunch in the sun (hopefully!).
Let your child help prepare the picnic by choosing their favourite snacks and helping to pack them up. Once you’re at the park they can run around and play before settling down for the picnic. This activity not only makes lunch more exciting but it’s also a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Plus, it gives them a break from screen time.
Making playdough at home is a fun and easy activity that your kids will love.
All you need are some basic kitchen ingredients like flour, salt, and water. You can even add food colouring to make different coloured play-dough. Your child will have a blast kneading the dough and creating their own shapes and figures.
Plus, it’s a great way to develop their fine motor skills. And don’t worry about them making a mess – that’s part of the fun…….
Need a simple recipe to make play dough? Try this one.
- 240g of all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 150g salt
- 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
- 140ml boiling water
- Food colouring (optional)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cream of tartar.
- Stir in the vegetable oil.
- If you’re using food colouring, add a few drops to the boiling water. This will give your play dough a lovely bright colour. If you want to make multiple colours of play dough, you’ll need to divide the mixture and water into separate bowls.
- Slowly pour the boiling water into the flour mixture, stirring continuously until it forms a dough.
- Once the dough has cooled down, knead it for a few minutes until it’s smooth and pliable.
- If the dough is too sticky add a bit more flour. If it’s too dry add a bit more water.
- Your play dough is now ready to use! Store it in an airtight container or an airtight bag when not in use to keep it fresh.
Remember even though this play dough is non-toxic, it’s not meant to be eaten!
Creating a puppet show can be a fantastic way to stimulate your child’s imagination.
You can use old socks or paper bags to make simple puppets. Add some googly eyes and a bit of yarn for hair and you’ve got yourself a character!
Your child can then put on a puppet show for the family. This could be a retelling of a favourite story, or a completely original tale. This can provide hours and hours of entertainment….as I found out!
If you have a garden, let your child explore it.
They can look for bugs, help with simple gardening tasks, or even try planting their own seeds. This can be a great introduction to the world of plants and insects, and the basics of gardening.
If you don’t have a garden you can still do this activity by creating a mini indoor garden with some pots and soil.
Baking is a fun activity that also introduces your child to the basics of cooking. Choose a simple recipe like cookies or fairy cakes and let your child help with the mixing and decorating.
They’ll love the process of creating something from scratch, and the tasty treat at the end is a bonus! Just remember to supervise them closely, especially around hot ovens.
There’s something magical about bubbles that kids just can’t resist. The joy of creating them, chasing them, and popping them can provide endless fun.
Making your own bubble solution at home is easy and cost-effective. All you need is some dish soap and water. For the bubble wand, you can either purchase one from a dollar store or make one at home using a wire hanger or even a straw.
A treasure hunt is a fantastic way to keep your child engaged and active.
You can create a simple treasure hunt around your house or garden. Draw a map or give clues to guide your child to the ‘treasure’ which could be a favourite toy or a healthy treat.
This activity can be as simple or as complex as suitable for your child’s age. It encourages problem-solving skills, understanding of directions, and provides a sense of achievement when they find the treasure.
Creating shadow puppets can be a fun way to stimulate your child’s imagination and is such a wholesome way to have some fun!
All you need is a flashlight and your hands! In a dark room, use the flashlight to cast shadows on the wall. You can make animals, characters, or even tell a story using shadows.
This activity not only entertains but also introduces your child to the concept of light and shadow.
A nature collage is a great way to bring the outdoors inside and teach your child about different types of plants. During a walk, collect leaves, flowers, and twigs.
At home, give your child with a piece of paper or cardboard and some glue and let them create their collage.
Homemade Musical Instruments
Music is a fab way to stimulate your child’s auditory skills and creativity.
You can use items around the house to create simple musical instruments. A pot and a spoon can become a drum, or fill a container with rice to make a shaker. This activity is one the kids really seem to love. I apologise in advance!
Water play is a fantastic activity for young children.
On a warm day, fill a tub with water and provide cups and spoons for pouring and stirring. You can also add a few drops of food colouring for extra fun.
And it goes without saying, always supervise small kiddos around water.
Chalk drawing is a simple and fun outdoor activity.
If you have an outdoor space like a driveway or a pavement they can use, your child can draw pictures, write words, or even create a hopscotch game.
Dressing up is one of the kids favourites. They could pretend to run a shop, be a doctor or act out a scene from a favourite story.
You can use toys, costumes or everyday items to let their imagination run wild!
Sensory bins provide a tactile experience for young children.
Fill a small, clean bin with different materials like rice, beans, or sand. Add in small toys for them to find and manipulate.
Bird watching can be a wonderful introduction to nature and wildlife.
Teach your child about different types of birds and help them get to know one bird from another. You can watch from your window or during a walk.
You could even make a homemade bird feeder and see who comes to visit.