How To Have Family Fun On A Budget

Are you looking for family fun on a budget? Want some free family activities to try?

Fun family outings are becoming more and more expensive. With a bit of creativity, though, you can have a good time and entertain the kids without breaking the bank.

Entertainment can quickly become a considerable expense, but there are many ways to have family fun on a budget. If you are not the least bit creative, you can still have a lot of fun with these awesome family fun ideas!

Here are all the ways you can have family fun on a budget- indoors and outdoors!

Indoor Family Fun on a Budget

Rent a Movie

Renting movies is much cheaper than the ever-rising megaplex rates. Even if you buy candy and popcorn from the local grocer, you’ll still pocket about half the money you would have spent at the theater. Though you have to wait a few months after a movie’s release, for half the price, you can watch it again and again without worrying about the baby’s cries disrupting other viewers, and you can pause for bathroom breaks.

Watch Free Movies

Or if you don’t want to rent them, you can always gather all those movies you already own and watch them with the kids again. Kids have their favorite movies to watch that they will watch over and over. Borrow movies from the library and watch some old classics! To top it all off, you can keep library movies for a week, and the late fees are a lot less than those movie rental places.

Play a Board Game

Get out the board games! Play board games with your kids that are very easy and require no reading or math skills, such as Pretty Pretty Princess. For more of a challenge and a teaching experience, there are other games that teach kids how to add and several like Monopoly that help a child learn to count.

Go Bowling

Turn the hallway into your own personal bowling alley! Clean out and save 2-liter bottles to serve as bowling pins, and use a small ball your kids already have. This activity is completely free and a fun break from the norm.

Have a Fancy Dinner

You can make any meal a special occasion by setting the table a little more formally, lighting some candles, and serving from your “fancy” dishes. You can make it even more enjoyable by encouraging family members to dress up. Dressing up doesn’t have to be your Sunday best. It can be pajamas, costumes, or anything you like and have on hand. The best part – it doesn’t cost a cent more than any other homemade dinner.

Try Origami

Research origami online or get a book from the local library. Kids will have a blast turning their paper into birds, windchimes, and frogs. This activity only costs as much as the paper you’re folding, so it is up to you if you want to get brightly colored printing paper, construction paper, or plain old notebook paper.

Venturing Out For Some Cheap Family Activities

Go Outside!

Go outside and have some FUN! Go to a nearby park or out in your own backyard for some stellar family fun. Play baseball, or kick the can, or any other game! Have the entire family ride their bikes at a nearby park. In the winter, go sledding at a nearby park for free. Make snowmen, throw snowballs or create a sled in your own backyard for stellar-free family fun.

Have a Neighborhood Party

Have family fun with the entire neighborhood. Get the neighbors together and have everyone who has kids play outside games. Everyone can play baseball, football, or run through a sprinkler (if it is summertime). People can swim at each other’s homes by taking turns. Kids can ride their bikes and skate at each other’s homes. Everyone can bring their grills out and make food for their family. It will be one big family extravaganza of super cheap fun.

Go To The Beach

If you live anywhere near a beach, go to the beach and have a great day. Take the kids and dig in the sand, create sandcastles. Go swimming, try wakeboarding, fishing, and shell collecting. Then, when it is cold out, build a fire and roast marshmallows.

Go To The Playground

Take the kids to every playground near your home. The kids get exercise, you get exercise, and everyone gets fresh air. This way, you will save money on an expensive gym membership! In addition, you can try to find some new playgrounds that you don’t usually go to for a new and exciting trip.

Free Museum Days

Many museums and zoos have “free days”s or very low children’s rates. I suggest buying a yearly or season pass to one zoo, theme park, or museum and going there all the time for outings. Besides saving money, it relieves the pressure of seeing or doing it all in one day. Then, next year you can get a pass to a different place.

Watch the Planes

Going near the airport and watching the planes take off and land is a fun and free way to spend the afternoon. If you are going to be there long, pack a lunch.  If you have a small, regional, or private airfield near you, you can usually get much closer than a large, international airport. In most cities I have been to, there have been parks or big grassy areas conveniently located near an airport. So head there and have some fun!


Local libraries or bookstores often have ‘storytime’ for kids. Usually, this is a free service, and as a bonus, it gets kids interested in literature.

College Campuses

If there is a college in your town or nearby, you will have many opportunities to see plays, musicals, and recitals. College performances are considerably cheaper than your local theatre and are a great way to expose your kids to the arts.

Go To The Park

Parks are a great place to find safe playgrounds, hiking and walking trails, and open spaces for flying kites. Most parks are free or very cheap, and you can pack a picnic and spend a great day in the outdoors.

Go To a Game

Sporting events can cost a pretty penny if you go the major league route, but chances are your kids will enjoy a high school or community college game just as much. If you have a child in the school district, you may get free admission or a discounted rate.

Instead of spending an arm and a leg to go major league sporting events, support your local teams. Major league sporting events are so high priced that you have to practically take out a loan to afford to go. But, by going to local games such as high school football, basketball, and hockey games, the kids can see teams in action and learn about sports.

Join a Playgroup

This is great for young mothers. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, joining a playgroup is an excellent way to get the kids together with other kids. And moms, you can meet other moms and make mom friends too! You get out of the house and have an actual conversation with other adults! And it’s free, or hardly any money, and you can plan outings to area zoos and playgrounds.

Go Swimming

Swim at a local school. It is super cheap and even less money than the YMCA. An entire family can go and have a great time. They have specific times that a whole family can go, which is less time than joining a club, but it is super cheap. Schools often have indoor pools so you can go swimming in spring, winter, or fall as well!

Check Out The Community Theater

Go to community theater programs. Community theater is just that; local people put on plays and musical programs. It is super cheap, a lot less than a Broadway play. Take the kids to local performances where other kids perform. This is even cheaper than the community programs!

Get Creative!

The outdoor activities you will be able to enjoy with your family greatly depend on your area. Getting an area guide from your Chamber of Commerce, Town Hall, or State Welcome Center will give you great ideas about local historical sites and places of interest. Kids will also enjoy everyday activities such as cooking, gardening, and crafting.

So get creative and have some family fun on a budget!


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.