Looking for kid’s activity ideas? Need some fun activities for kids to enjoy throughout the day? Fun, educational activities for kids don’t have to cost money. Here are free or inexpensive activities for your child to enjoy.
My ideal budget for my kid’s activities is zero. Of course, I can’t always do that, but I do my best to keep it free or at least very cheap.
Grab this list every time your kids are bored and have a cute and free kid’s activity every time your kids are getting bored, or use them to plan last-minute activity day ideas.
These quick activities are perfect for those long Sundays or those school breaks that never seem to end.
78 Free Kid’s Activity Ideas
Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Indoor scavenger hunts are super fun and easy to do because all you need to do is print out a list like this one and have your kids run around the house until they find all the items.
Make a Personal Art Gallery
Experiment with different art forms, paints, and textures, and create your own art gallery. After your child paints or draws something, trim the paper, paste it on a different colored paper, and then hang it up on your wall. If you don’t like hanging stuff on your walls, you can tie a string across your curtain rod and hang the pictures with clothespins.
We love books, and reading is such a great activity. Spice it up by having each kid pick a book with a specific theme (like sharing or money or something about sleep) and take turns reading out loud. If you have older kids, you can all cuddle up on the couch with a cup of tea or hot cocoa and read all day!
Take out some of your books and line them up in a central location. Have each child (and adult!) grab a book and cuddle up to read. If you want to be really fancy, you can cut some papers into library cards and stamp each paper as they “check out” a book.
Play a Board Game
Board games are a perfect family fun time. Make a pot of popcorn or open a bag of chips and let the fun commence!
Charades are super fun and easy to play with no pre-planning. Pick a theme (Ie., Something you do or people you know) and have each person take a turn.
Do Science Experiments
We love making a volcano or magic milk. Even simple science experiments can be a lot of fun and often use only ingredients in the house. Doing science experiments is one of the discount activities for kids that is also educational, which makes it a win-win in my book!
While cleaning up may be a chore for the mom of the house, kids can enjoy some “fun” jobs. Take out the dirty dishes that are safe for kids to wash and have them wash dishes with way too much soap and water. They can also take a sponge and soap and clean cabinet doors or even floors. It may not be up to your standards, but it will be fun and slightly cleaner!
Play With Tape
Painter’s tape is cheap and can provide hours of fun. Take tape and create lines on the floor for kids to jump over, around, or take giant steps. Six lines of tape can easily give you five different games. One line of tape? Talk about a cheap activity!
Build a Fort
Building a fort from a table or chairs and some blankets is the quintessential indoor fun activity. You don’t need to buy anything for this activity so it can be a great spontaneous activity for your kids.
Sort Small Toys by Color
Hear me out… this may seem unexciting, but kids enjoy it. Any toy works for this, but Clicks, Lego, or magnetic tiles are great for this. Have them sort it all by color (either in piles or in towers). It takes a long time, is a super simple activity, and it’s a great lesson in color sorting.
Learn About Animals
I did this with my boys, and they loved it. We picked some animals (you can use this Scholastic lesson here) and learned about them, how far they jump, and other facts. Then we measured how far they jumped and saw how far we could do it.
Pick a Plant and Analyze
Go Botany! Pick a plant outdoors (the plant comes from outside, but the rest is an indoor activity- I promise!), bring it indoors (see?), and dissect it. Put it on a white paper or white tray and use tweezers to pick it apart and see what is inside. Older kids can try to identify the different parts and maybe label them on paper for a fun visual aid.
Learn a Dance
Dance party! We love dancing, and it’s super fun to all learn a dance together. That is why those TikTok dances go viral. You can learn one of those or have different kids choreograph and teach the rest. Looking for some extra fun? Record the dances and send it to friends and family.
Hide and Seek
A massive game of hide and seek inside the whole house with adults and kids alike? Yes, please! Kids will enjoy hiding and finding parents in weird spots. With different family members of various sizes, everyone can find interesting places to hide.
Have each kid pick a challenge that everyone else has to do. It can be simple, like crawling to the other side of the room, or more complicated, like a sequence: hop four times, jump three times, and walk only on the white tiles.
Bubbles indoors? Why not? Anything that is usually done somewhere else but then moved inside is fun for young kids.
Make a Calm-down Jar
These calm-down jars were super fun to make and fun to have. It calls for pretty basic materials; you can use your imagination to adapt them to whatever you have. This is the actual one we made.
Make Sand Art in a Jar or Bottle
We took salt poured it onto a plate, and then colored it with chalk. We did it with a few different colors and then poured it in layers into jars. (old honey or baby food or jelly jars work great for this.)
Ripped Paper Project
Kids really love ripping things. Like, really love ripping things. You can take different types of paper: scrap paper, old wrapping paper, construction paper, magazines, and circulars, and use them to create different ripped paper projects. We did this project on the planets, and it came out great.
This is fun and awesome but MESSY. Please don’t say I didn’t warn you. We started it off in a big bowl in the living room but ended up in the bathtub to attempt to contain the mess. It’s great sensory fun! Add bath toys or other washable items to the foam for fun.
Make Animals Out of Yogurt Containers
I love projects that use recycled items! Take yogurt containers, wash them well, and decorate them to look like little animals. You can use pipe cleaners for hands, googly eyes, construction paper, whatever you have on hand. You can try to do real animals or have each kid invent an animal and then describe it to everyone.
Play an Object Guessing Game
Give each child a dark-colored bag or a pillowcase. They have to go through the house and pick an item (it can be anything or something related to a theme). They place the item inside the bag and pass the bag around. Everyone can feel the item and have to guess what is inside.
Go Through Old Clothes and Toys
Do you have boxes and closets full of old clothes and toys? It’s time to clean it out! Go through the items and decide what you should keep, what can be re-purposed, and what can be given away or sold. Have fun with it, and have the kids make some decisions.
Bake and Decorate Cookies
Baking cookies is self-explanatory! We like to make this recipe and put sprinkles on top instead of inside. Kids can take a chunk of dough, roll it themselves, and dip it into the sprinkles. Tons of fun! You can also make a DIY cookie decorating kit and have each kid go to town while decorating with frosting, sprinkles, and anything else you have.
I love this cookie painting activity from Ree Drummond, and we do it often. Kids and adults can decorate cookies with this paint wash, bake, and enjoy! We recently got black food coloring to have even more fun with our cookie decorating.
Ice Cream Sundaes or Hot Cocoa Bar
Winter or summer- an ice cream sundae with all the toppings or a hot cocoa bar with all the mix-ins is always an appreciated treat! Everyone can put as many or as few toppings as they want.
Wash Toys in the Bath
I love this activity because it’s fun for the kids and convenient for me! I take toys, dump them in the bathtub with the kids in bathing suits, and hand them sponges with soap. The next thing I know, I have happy kids and clean toys! You can use your small plastic toys or even big riding toys or large plastic toys like a toy kitchen.
Grow seeds in your house! You can find out how to grow each seed here, and then once they are growing, you can replant them in the dirt on your windowsill. You don’t need a garden to have fresh foliage in your home!
Who remembers those shrinky dink makers? You can make them in your own home with hard plastic. Take a plastic plate, bowl, or cup and color on it with Sharpie markers. Bake on low in your oven. We didn’t have the right plastic and just used a cheap plastic cup, and it still came out fine. You can hang them up or string them on a string for a fun necklace or window ornament.
Make an “About Me” Book
This is a fun art project that is also a learning activity. Have the kids make an about me book with each page illustrating something about themselves. You can use a template like this to make it a little bit easier.
Make an Obstacle Course
Create an indoor obstacle course with items you have in the house. Clear a big area of all random toys and then set up chairs and a table. Use pool noodles or jump ropes to make obstacles, and the kids go on the chairs and under the table. Use your imagination!
This is so simple but tons of fun. It also helps kids work on their fine motor skills, so it’s a win-win. Place water into different containers, and the kids transfer the water back and forth. You can do it with larger containers or other transferring utensils to make it more difficult.
Do Some Dirt Painting
Collect dirt, sift, water, and paint. This needs some outdoor access, but it can be done inside. Collect dirt into a container. Have the kids sift it through a strainer so it’s smooth, and take out all the rocks and sticks. Mix the dirt with water and paint pictures using the dirt.
Picnic on the Floor
Anything different is fun, and eating breakfast, lunch, or supper on the floor is no exception. Take a blanket or tablecloth, spread it out on the floor, and have a nice indoor picnic. No ants or winds will ruin this picnic!
Make your playdough with this recipe, and then take out some cookie cutters or other random kitchen utensils (tuna strainer, knife, fork, different size measuring spoons, and have them play around). This is a super fun sensory activity for children.
Play With Pompoms
Blow pompoms across the tape or table with straws or Sort pompoms by color using different utensils like tongs or spoons. This is an excellent fine motor skill-building exercise.
Write Letters To Loved Ones
It’s good practice for your new writers. They can decorate the letters and envelopes for extra fun. It’s super fun to do and a lot of fun for someone to receive. Grandparents particularly love these types of things.
Do Free Art
Take everything and anything you can. I like to use different scraps of art supplies and some recycled items like boxes, paper towel rolls, magazines, containers, or anything else and have the kids use their imagination to create anything they want. You will be surprised by how exciting this is and how engaging this activity is. The best part is that whatever you have, you can use it!
Melt an Ice Block
Take a clear container and find some small items around the house (something like a Lego, a magnet, or a toy animal). Place it in the container, and cover the items with water halfway up the container. Freeze. Once it is mostly frozen, do the same thing again- this time until the water reaches the top of the container. Freeze.
Set the kids up in an empty space and give them the ice block. Have them try to get the toys out using warm water and syringes. They fill the syringe with warm water and let the ice around the toys melt.
Make Magic Art
My kids call this magic art, and it stuck. Take a piece of paper and make lines every inch or so. Color within each line a different color, so it looks like a rainbow. Place a white paper on top of the colored paper and draw a design on top, pressing down hard with the pencil. When you finish, the other side will have a pretty colorful design.
Make Lunch or Supper
If you are home and making meals anyway, there is no reason for kids not to get in on the action. Give out age-appropriate tasks or teach them a new skill, like peeling and cutting safely, and have them chip in for meal prep!
Lily Pad Jumping
Take colored construction paper and cut it into large circles. Place them strategically around the room (based on the kid’s age level). The point of the game is to get around the room by only stepping on the construction paper. If you step off of it, you lose! This is great for working on kids’ gross motor skills.
Re-Purpose Old Crayons
Take all the old crayons that are crushed or too short to use for coloring. You can use them to make new crayons or a candle if you have the right equipment.
Play Follow the Leader
Turn on a song and sit in a circle. Each person takes a turn to move their hands and feet to the music, and everyone has to copy them.
Keep the Balloon in the Air
Blow up balloons and throw them in the air. The object of the game is to try to keep the balloon up in the air as long as possible.
Create a sensory bucket using sand, plastic dinosaurs, and other items. Let the kids dig through the sensory bucket to see what they can find. It’s good for their fine motor skills!
Playing with water and soap is every child’s dream! At least it’s my kid’s dream! Take different buckets or even a baby pool- whatever you have available, fill it with water and some soap and have them play with the bubbles and suds! It’s super fun, and they get clean while they play. Then, rinse them off with the hose or pop them in the bath to get the soap off, and it’s an easy and cheap outdoor activity.
You don’t need a fancy water table for your kids to have fun with the water outside. Set up a few buckets or containers with water. (You can use an empty baby pool to make it easier to contain). Let the kids have fun!
We all know what this is! If you have water guns, you already know how to do this, but if you don’t take some empty spray bottles or empty soda bottles, use those to have fun! To use the soda bottles- fill them with water, cover them, cut some holes in the bottom of the bottle, and use it by squeezing it as you aim it at someone.
Coloring with chalk is super fun, but spray chalk is a new twist on an old favorite! You can use this recipe: Spray Chalk (thirtyhandmadedays.com) to make different kid-safe chalk sprays—fun to use and easy to clean off.
We love bubbles!! Get a big bubble mix to make giant bubbles in the yard if you can. You can pour the mixture into buckets and either buy or create your giant bubble wands.
This can be a multi-faceted activity and science experiment with the kids experimenting with different materials to use as bubble wands—some ideas to get you started: wire hangers, sticks, ropes, or plastic piping. So, get googling and get experimenting.
The classic never disappoints! Fill up balloons with water and play around. You can throw them at each other, play catch, poke small holes, and pass them around; the ideas are endless.
If you have a good, flat pavement area, then you can get creative with chalk! Take painter’s tape and make a big square. Then, put smaller pieces of tape inside to make a mosaic. Direct the kids to color each area a different color. When you remove the tape, you will have a cool chalk mosaic.
Every Kind of Tag
Tag is the quintessential game for kids. Everyone knows how to play it, and everyone has fun. There are so many variations to the game of tag, and you can play all of them (not all at once!).
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
Your backyard is a veritable treasure chest of fascinating things to find and explore. How do I know? Because all outdoor areas are! You can use one of my outdoor scavenger hunts or make your own and have your children learn all about insects, plants, and things they can find in their backyard!
Water Balloon Pinata
Water balloon pinata is a party game that is played with a pinata filled with water balloons. The goal is to hit the pinata with a water balloon and cause it to break, releasing the water balloons. The game is played by dividing the players into two teams.
One team is designated as the “water balloon team,” and the other is designated as the “pinata team.” The pinata team will fill the pinata with water balloons and hang it
Pool Noodles Obstacle Course
Pool noodles are a great way to create a fun obstacle course for kids. They are inexpensive and easy to set up. You can also make them into a fun obstacle course for adults if you are looking for games that adults can join in as well.
A nature walk is a great way to spend time outdoors and explore nature. It’s a great form of exercise and a good way to get some fresh air. You can go for a walk by yourself, or you can go with a group of friends.
To make your nature walk a bit more fun, check out: 8 Ways To Entertain Your Kids On A Nature Walk
Analyze Plants and Animals With a Magnifying Glass
Children are often curious about the world around them. They are always looking for new ways to learn about the world and how it works. One way to learn is by using a magnifying glass.
A magnifying glass can be used to examine plants and animals. When examining a plant, a magnifying glass can be used to see the veins and the tiny hairs on the leaves. When examining an animal, a magnifying glass can be used to see the scales on the skin, the hairs
Basic Ring Toss
Ring toss is a game that has been around for generations. It is a game of skill and can be played by people of all ages. The object of the game is to toss rings onto pegs. The game can be played with two or more people.
Have a Picnic
A picnic is a super fun way to spend time outdoors! First, pack up some food, drinks, snacks, pillows, and blankets. Then, set up a nice little picnic spot in your house or backyard! Picnics are always a lot of fun and much more relaxing than a typical formal meal at a table.
Gardening is a handy skill, and getting into the dirt can be a lot of fun. You can start a little vegetable, herb, or flower garden, depending on the space you have. If you have a lot of space, everyone can have their little plot to grow what they want as well! Gardening is a great way to show your kids how patience, hard work, and perseverance can pay off in big ways!
Build a Fort Outside
Building a fort outside is a great way to spend time with friends and family and create memories that will last a lifetime. You can either Take some sheets that can get dirty and possibly ripped and have your kids collect sticks or other materials to make a fort, or they can use old cardboard boxes to make a haven for them to play and hide.
It will be fun to build, and they will have hours of fun playing inside it.
Ride Bikes and Scooters
Riding bikes and scooters for fun is a great way to spend time with friends and family. Scooters are great because they are easy to carry around and can be used on sidewalks and bike paths.
Take Pictures of Flora and Fauna
Consider giving your kids a camera if you’re looking for a good way to explore and document the natural world. Have them take pictures of items that they see that pique their interest. Close-ups of plants and flowers can be particularly interesting.
Afterward, you can put together a slideshow or try to remember which picture was what. Who knows? You may have a budding photographer on your hands.
Water Relay Races
Water relay races are a fun and competitive way to get a group of people to work together. If you have a few kids, arrange a few really races that all involve water. For example, have them try to carry buckets of water and pass them to the next person without getting too wet.
Read Some Books in the Sunshine
Yes- I love reading and encourage my kids to read as often as possible. Take a nice book for yourself and have your kids pick a book out for themselves, too, and get outside and get reading! Lay a blanket down on the grass and enjoy reading in the great outdoors! Maybe you will even learn something new!
Have the kids collect as many different leaves as they can and then get them to put them between the pages of an old book or a magazine with something heavy on top of it. When the leaves are dry and flat, they can decorate a frame with a picture of them collecting the leaves in the picture frame.
It’s an old-fashioned game that has been around for centuries. Likely a favorite from your childhood, your kids will enjoy a game of hopscotch at your local park. Chances are your park has several hopscotch courses already painted on the ground. If not, you can bring sidewalk chalk and draw your own. You can use stones or pennies to toss as “markers.
Feed Ducks in a Pond
Take some bread that is getting stale and head over to the neighborhood pond to feed the ducks. You may also see some fish or frogs! This is a great way to see a little nature in your backyard.
Make a Family Video
Use your phone or an old camcorder to document a whole day with your family. Then you can watch it back and even edit it into a fun family movie if you want to! As the years go by, it will be fun to look back and remember what a fun day you had and how you lived at that time.
Make a playlist with everyone’s favorite songs, and have a big dance party! Go crazy and have fun just shaking out all your troubles. You will get an excellent workout for it, too!
Make a New Photo Album or Scrapbook
Add pictures to a new album to remember your fun summer! You can even try scrapbooking to make it even more meaningful and organized. Everyone can fill out a page in their own style and write their own little memory notes next to each picture.
Color Life-Sized Drawings
Get a giant poster board or butcher paper and have someone lie down on it. Then, you can trace around their body, so you have a template. Once you do that, everyone can work together to fill in the template and make a life-sized drawing of the family member!
Karaoke is a lot of fun; making it a family affair will get lots of laughs. You can even hold a contest for the silliest song/voice combo or the most energetic singing. Bonus points for interpretive dance!
Make Some Treasures
Trash to Treasure art projects are fun, frugal, 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.
Hang a Swing
You can purchase cheap materials to make a swing or scavenge some old tires and rope to make something fun!