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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

25 Free Activities to do With Your Kids

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In today’s world, especially in the United States (I’m not as familiar with other countries as I live in the U.S.), it can be tempting to spend money here and there even if it is just a few dollars. However, I think it is important to find ways to experience things that don’t cost money. It has even been supported in the scientific research of happiness that adding meaningful experiences to our lives can improve happiness.

Now, as a quick note before I go on, I am not against spending money. I think money can help you to afford positive experiences, as well, such as going to a museum (if it charges a fee), taking vacations, going to buy ice cream at the local ice cream shop, and much more.

However, I am completely for making valuable memories and filling life with more meaningful moments. Also a lot of times this simply requires the presence of those we love and genuine connection and kindness.

Regardless of whether your search for more affordable ways to spend time with your kids is due to financially difficulties or limits (which is also a reasonable cause to come up with new ideas) or whether it is to live more simply or to provide those moments of connection and bonding, you can use the following list of ideas to help you in your efforts to find free (or at least very low-cost) experiences for your family.

I will say that some of the activities may require very minimal expenses, such as the money for fuel to get to where you are headed or the materials (however minimal) that the activity requires such as paper for tic-tac-toe, but overall, these activities are generally free to do.


  1. Go for a walk
  2. Go for a bike ride (assuming you have bikes)
  3. Play tic-tac-toe
  4. Draw pictures
  5. Color together
  6. Play with toys together
  7. Watch a movie (that you already own)
  8. Cook together (use what is already in the house)
  9. Read a book
  10. Walk through a nature trail
  11. Play a board game
  12. Teach your child about one of your hobbies (such as crocheting, gardening, building things, etc.)
  13. Organize something in your house
  14. Write a story and illustrate it together
  15. Play outside in the snow (if it snows where you are at)
  16. Go to a local spray park/splash pad (as some people call it) (that’s free)
  17. Learn something new together like a new language or playing an instrument (use the internet to find free tutorials and lessons)
  18. Make homemade play-dough (assuming you have the ingredients on hand-it’s basically just flour and salt. see this link); Then, play with the play-dough together
  19. Make origami items (if you have paper)
  20. Play in the yard
  21. Visit the library
  22. Go to a free workshop or community event (such as Home Depot’s FREE kids’ workshop on the first Saturday of the month)
  23. Have a spa or relaxation day (or few hours): For girls, include nail polish, lotions, and doing hair. For boys and girls have nice music, read a book, favorite snacks, a board game, and end with a movie.
  24. Do a science experiment. There are lots of ideas online you can find.
  25. Have a picnic either at a local park or in your own backyard.

These are just some ideas you can do for basically free with your kids. I hope you make valuable moments with your kids and that these ideas help to spark more loving connections and bonding within your family.

If you have any other ideas for free activities to do with kids, feel free to put them in the comments section.

25 Free Activities to do With Your Kids

Heather Gilmore

My name is Heather Gilmore. I am so happy to be able to have a space to share helpful insights and resources to other moms out there. Being a parent is hard work and I hope to be able to give you tips and strategies to make it at least a little bit easier and more enjoyable. We love our kids but any mom knows that they can also be exhausting and overwhelming at times, as well. I have a master's degree in social work. I work as a children's therapist. I am also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and work with children with autism spectrum disorder. Additionally, I am a freelance writer specializing in topics related to children and families. I have my own company called Hope Family Resources which provides resources in person and online to help families find greater hope, health, and happiness. See my site and learn more about me at: or email me at I have also published books on Amazon. Search for "Discpline and Parenting Strategies for Kids with ADHD," "Have Peace: How to Have Peace in Your Busy, Chaotic Life," and "Sibling Rivalry: How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry so You Won't Have to Anymore,"

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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2016). 25 Free Activities to do With Your Kids. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Dec 2016
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.