Cheap Family Fun Ideas: How To Have Cheap Family Fun

Are you looking for some cheap family fun?

Living on a tight budget does not mean your family should sacrifice having good times. There are numerous types of fun activities that can bring smiles to the faces of your family members. As a frugal mom- I know!

In today’s economy, it seems that there is never enough to go around. So everyone is pinching pennies and tightening their belts- I know I am!

The one area of your life that shouldn’t suffer is your family fun time. Indeed, you may not be able to afford a trip to an amusement park this year, and even trips to the movies or arcades may be out of the question, but family fun can be frugal. In many cases, it can even be free.

As a low-budget and frugal mom, I have spent a lot of time thinking of cheap family fun ideas for my kids. Of course, it takes a bit more planning, but it will be great!

There are plenty of activities for kids to do that make digging into your pocket unnecessary.

Your choice of activity may be affected by the weather. Due to the day being either sunny or rainy will also help you decide what type of activity you do. You will have to tailor these cheap family fun ideas to whatever season you are in. Certain activities are better suited for summer, winter, spring, or fall. 

Here are some cheap family fun ideas to fit any budget.

Cheap Family Fun Ideas

Local Parks

Get to know your local Parks and Recreation Department. Many cities or state governments have website links to the parks department. Parks are great for more than just playgrounds (although playgrounds are a great way to spend lovely afternoons if they are age-appropriate).

Take Classes

Many area parks departments offer classes in the summer ranging from arts to sports to nature and science education.

Sometimes these classes can be very inexpensive or even free. They also host community picnics, fireworks displays, fishing derbies, and nature hikes in some areas. So if you think swings and slides are all parks have to offer, it may be time to take another look.

Watch Games

If you or your child like live sports, then high schools and colleges usually have games you can watch that are significantly cheaper than a professional sports game.

You can easily find out when the games will take place by searching the league or the school whose field it belongs to and finding the sports schedules- these are usually posted online.

Outdoor Competitions

You can also search on the Internet to find out if there are any local BMX racing trails or outdoor skateboarding competitions.

But, again, don’t waste time and gas going there unless you have located the schedules of any upcoming events. Usually, there is no entry fee for people to enjoy the races.

Nature Park

Nearby nature parks can provide hours of enjoyment. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch to eat in between some fun activities such as hiking, throwing a Frisbee, playing catch, flying a kite, and possibly even feeding a pond of ducks.

There might even be canoes to rent at some parks where there is a pond for a nominal fee.

Fun Outdoor Activities

Without getting into the car and driving somewhere, your family can still participate in fun outdoor activities.

Some of these activities can include having a lemonade stand, planting flowers, going for a bike ride, organizing a neighbor kickball game on the street, playing water balloon games, writing on the cement with chalk, building a fort, making an obstacle course, and how about making up a treasure hunt game.

Should you be stuck with a day of rain which undoubtedly would put a damper on outside activities, you still have options for a rainy day as well. Although your options for free activities will be limited, you can still find many activities that won’t hurt your wallet.

Trash To Treasure Art Projects

Trash to treasure art projects is a  fun and frugal activity and fabulous for the environment. Take a few minutes to look around your house for things you would typically throw away but could use for an art project instead. Empty cans, newspapers, paper towel rolls, and plastic grocery bags should be a good start.

Allow everyone in the house a certain amount of time to find the items, then spend an hour or so making your masterpieces. When everyone is finished, put on an art show to exhibit your trash to treasure artwork. It’s also fun to have a friend or neighbor judge the exhibits.

Local Library

Another source of free amusement is your local library. In most cities, your library is good for more than just books (although those are great too!) They usually have computer software and a movie selection, at the very least.

In larger cities, however, they tend to have a lot of activities, anything from storytime for infants and toddlers to reading and writing competitions for teens and adults.

While many of these activities are solo activities, exploring the library and its programs together can be fun. In our local library, they also have weekly performances put on by local theatre companies and bands, and best of all, it’s all free!


You may discover nearby museums that have free admission or a low fee (you can find one near you here). Spending a day at a museum is not only enjoyable but also educational.

If you have not been to one in a while, then you may be surprised at how many of them have several hands-on activities for all to enjoy.

Watch a Performance

It would also be a good idea to look for any upcoming special events at your local libraries, malls and schools, and local small performance theaters that put on children’s plays. Again some of these options will have nominal fees.

Family Game Night

Never underestimate the appeal of a good old-fashioned family game night. Teenagers may roll their eyes and sigh at first, but in truth, they will end up loving it. Many of the board games you grew up playing are still available in stores, as well as a lot of new ones.

Teens might like video trivia games, especially on pop culture topics, if they are likely to beat their parents. Add some brownies or popcorn to the mix, and you have a winning combination.


There is something about helping others that creates a bond between people. Volunteering your time as a family to a local charity is not only free, but it teaches your kids lessons they won’t be able to learn elsewhere.

It may not sound like the most fun you could have together, but what better way is there to teach your kids to be grateful for the loving home that you create for them? Volunteering isn’t for everyone, but if you think your family might enjoy it, many websites can help you find a local charity in need of volunteers.

Cheap Family Fun

Remember that the most essential part of spending time together isn’t how much money you spend or even what you do; it’s how you interact.

What your family will remember the most is how you make them feel when you are with them. So whatever you choose, leave your work at work, turn your cell off and make it about them. You will be glad you did, at that is free.

As you can see, there are ample opportunities for cheap family fun! However, when it comes to spending time with your children, it’s not how much the activity costs that they care about; it’s the good times that they experience while spending quality time with you that will produce enjoyable memories for a long time.



Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.