When you have kids, it is very advantageous to look for cheap or free activities to do as a family.
It is easy to come up with a list of “fun” things to do. But then you look at the cost and realize that the money spent on these things just might not be worth it.
$9 per person to see a movie? Skip. $25 to go to the aquarium? No thanks. $110 to go to Disney World?! No way. There is a chance that our poor kids will never get to see Mickey Mouse in person.
If you are on a budget, are trying to pay off debt, or just value your time and money, you need a good checklist of things to do, as a family.
This list should contain activities that keep everyone entertained and at the same time, keep your finances in check.
You do not have to spend a lot of money in order to have fun together.
There are a lot of local activities that you can do that cost very little or in some cases don’t cost anything at all.
So the next time you ask yourself, where can I find fun, free things to do with my kids, near me? Pull out this list and really enjoy the quality time that you are able to spend with your family, without having to worry about breaking the bank.
Budget friendly family activities are everywhere. You just need to know where to look.
Low Cost Or Free Activities To Do With Kids Near Me:
Pre-kids, Jason and went to the farmers market every weekend. We ate paninis in the sun then bought a bunch of local produce that we would use to make dinner that night. It was a relaxing, fun, community event that we looked forward to every week.
Post-kids, we now love taking our little ones to the farmers market and they love it too.
We get to teach them about the importance of locally sourced products and we all love that we get to be outside during this shopping experience.
I think it also gives them a different perspective on the interaction between seller and buyer. The atmosphere is more happy and relaxed when compared to a normal grocery store or indoor business.
Farmer’s markets also usually have other events that take place including musical guests and bands which provide a lot of entertainment while you shop, eat, or just stroll around enjoying the atmosphere.
Research Free Days In Your Community
Most museums and some aquariums and zoos have a day of the week or month when they offer free admission. And there are even some museums that are just free all the time.
Bank of America offers free admission to their cardholders to more than 225 cultural institutions in dozens of cities across the U.S.
You can also search online or look in your local newspaper for free days of fishing, free state park admission, or even free national park admission days.
Free Entertainment In Your Community:
Look online, on your city’s social media page, or in the local newspaper for free events that are happening in your community.
Some things that you may find include musical concerts, a parade, or a festival.
You will especially find events around the holidays – pumpkin patches to visit, tree lightings, and fireworks.
Volunteer With Your Kids:
Volunteering with your children has so many benefits for both you and your child. You get to work together for a cause that you care about, and maybe even pick out together.
You get to set a great example for them and teach them, with actions instead of words, how to become involved in a purposeful and meaningful activity.
It is easy for everyone, both parents and children alike, to forget about how valuable time is. Choosing to spend your time volunteering and giving back to your community, will strengthen the connections between what we value and what gives our lives meaning.
Volunteering allows you to slow down and to be present. It is an act of putting others before yourself. What greater lessons could you give your child?
Hiking With Kids:
There is no doubt that we are a family of hikers. We love to be outdoors and are happiest when we are on the trails.
It’s so easy to find peace and beauty when you are hiking. And seeing nature through our children’s eyes really is awesome. Every little rock and tree is the best thing that they have ever seen. Nature never disappoints.
If you are not a hiker, I urge you to give it a try.
You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest, but find a nice, quiet trail to go for a walk. Or Find a short trail that leads to a beautiful lookout. You and your kids can breathe in the fresh air and allow those good endorphins to kick in.
I guarantee that your kids will be in awe of what they find on the trail and that in itself will make you feel good.
If you are in need of a community to push you to get outdoors more or just to have a more social atmosphere, find a local group.
One great group that we have been a part of is Hike It Baby. They are a community of families who encourage you to enjoy both the physical and mental benefits of spending time outdoors.
They have community chapters all over the U.S that you can join, different challenges to keep you motivated, and they even offer trail recommendations in your area.
As of July 27, 2020, Hike It Baby has also eliminated their paid membership. So everything they have to offer to help families get outdoors is now all FREE.
And if you are looking for a fun way to keep track of your hikes and hiking goals, check out our Etsy shop, Lemonade Mindset, where we have created a Hike Tracker and Trail Tracker. These hiking logs are a great visual reminder and motivator to get outdoors and hit the trails.
Visit Your Local Library:
Libraries are a great resource for both adults and kids.
First of all, there is the obvious reason to visit the library – to read books for free! And they also have magazines, newspapers, DVDs, and audiobooks.
But there are also a lot of activities that happen at the library and they usually have a schedule of events that you can check out.
Some of the best activities at the library for kids are story time, book clubs, art projects, and holiday events. Our library also has movie afternoons and special guests that come periodically to teach children about a particular subject or hobby.
Get A Free National Park Pass
Have you heard of the National Park Foundation’s program “Every Kid Outdoors.”
This program is a way to encourage kids and their families to get outside and explore all of our country’s national wonders and historic sites for free.
The catch is that this program is only offered to 4th graders.
So how does your 4th grader get a free national park pass? All you have to do is go to THIS website, complete a short activity, and print out the pass.
This is definitely something that you want to take advantage of.
If you have visited national parks before, you know that a park pass is not an individual pass but gives admission to everyone in the car.
So one free pass for your 4th grader means that everyone in the family benefits.
BONUS: They are now also offering all 5th graders a free park pass to use until August 31, 2021.
As with the 4th grader park pass, all you have to do is print out the voucher and plan your trip.
Stores That Offer Free Classes And Workshops For Kids
Home Depot Kids Workshop:
This is a hands on class where kids get to build something while expressing their creativity and learning new skills.
All materials are provided as well as instructions.
While this workshop is normally live, in the past our Home Depot has just given us the materials to work on at home, if requested.
Also, at this time, all workshops are completed virtually with materials (kid’s kits) provided at the store with online videos and instructions. Home Depot kid’s kits can be picked up in stores on the first Saturday of every month.
Younger kids will need help from parents to complete most of the activities.
Michaels Kids Club:
The arts and crafts store Michaels, typically hosts live craft workshops. But at this time they have an online Kids Club that offers virtual classes for children ages 3 and up.
Classes consist of art projects for all ages and are all about an hour long. You can easily sign up online
The Disney Store:
The Disney Store usually has free live events for kids, which range from drawing classes to art projects, and dress up parties.
But at this time, they have followed suit and are offering free online activities. You can check back every Friday for a new set of Disney themed activities including games, coloring pages, and activity sheets.
All activities can easily be downloaded and used immediately.
These are just a few of the big name stores that typically offer in person activities for kids. You should also look into the smaller mom and pop shops to see if they have any local events that you can attend.
Some examples of where you may find kid and family friendly activities near you include:
- Pottery shops
2. Art Studios
3. A Community Garden
4. Local museums
5. Town or neighborhood community center
Visit A Fire Station:
Did you know that you can visit your local fire station?
In order to do this you should call your local fire station to see if there is a specific time that you can come by. I do not recommend just showing up.
While there your kids can talk to the firefighters and ask them questions, get a quick tour of the firehouse, and maybe even sit in the firetruck.
Don’t expect your visit to last more than 15 minutes and of course there is always the chance that they are not available, due to you know…fires..but what a fun experience for kids.
It is also a great opportunity to talk to your children about safety and what to do in case of a fire.
Free Forest School:
Their motto: “Letting Kids Be Kids, Outdoors.”
In 2021, they are launching a new initiative “Everyday Outside” which is very similar to their initial model.
The focus remains the same – To allow children of all walks of life to come together to grow, learn, and expand their curiosity in a natural way, outdoors. To experience imagination, creativity, and adventure in a safe environment, while allowing children to fully learn and grow as individuals.
Membership will be available on a sliding scale but they state that they “invite you to contribute at a level that matches your capacity.” They welcome everyone regardless of your financial situation.
It is unfortunate that they now have a “membership fee” instead of it being labeled as free but I still love the idea of having a supportive outdoor community.
Finding fun free things to do as a family isn’t hard if you know where to look.
There are probably a lot of activities out there that you just haven’t found yet. The best way to find these cheap kid friendly activities is to do some research within your community and talk to others in your neighborhood.
Whether you are looking for an idea for a money free weekend or something fun to add to your weekly routine, this list of budget friendly activities is sure to have something for everyone.
I hope it helped you to discover something new and fun for you to do as a family.
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