Budget-Friendly Activities to Enjoy with Kids

Budget-Friendly Activities to Enjoy with Kids

When a free weekend comes around, you definitely want to spend it with your family. As rare as one of those weekends feels, it still happens a little too often to be blowing the budget every time it comes around. What are some ways you can have fun with your kids without spending a ton of money? Here are some budget-friendly activities you can enjoy with your kids.

Construct a Tent in the Living Room

This is an awesome activity that can be done in just about any house. Drag a few of the dining room chairs into your space, turn the sofa around, and grab an extra bed sheet or two. Use throw pillows and books to anchor your tent and to block any holes the bed sheet can't quite cover. Go on a "hike" around the house or the neighborhood and see what plants and wildlife you can find, then come back safe and sound to your tent.

Camp in the House (or Backyard)

If your kids are having fun with that tent, you can take things to the next level and play pretend camping in the house with sleeping bags (or pillows and more sheets) to make things seem more real. Have a camping sleepover on the living room floor for one night. Alternatively, if you have the backyard space, set up outside with a tarp and a real tent. Get into the spirit with typical camping snacks. Make your own S'mores over the coals in the fireplace or, if a fire is out of the question, in the microwave. Do baked potatoes in aluminum foil with everyone adding their own favorite toppings and settle into a relaxing evening in the night air.

Have a Scavenger Hunt

Teach your kids what a scavenger hunt is and have each person run around the house and put down ten things for everyone else to find and gather. The items can be vague, like "Something green," or they can be complicated, like "2008's family photo." You might even do some fun family things like "My favorite book" or "The dog's current ball." You can do each person's list together or make it a competition and see who knows where things are best!

Put on a Play

This is always a crowd-pleaser! Get together with your child and write a script. It doesn't have to be award-worthy - just write anything. Use a favorite movie for inspiration or reenact a family story. You may not even need to officially write anything down if everyone knows their parts (unless, of course, you'd like to). Get dresses, men's ties, and other costume pieces from your different closets or draw approximations on paper and tape them to yourself. Find props around the house and use your imagination to turn them into swords or magic potions. Then invite a friend or a neighbor or even a few furry family members over to watch. You may not even need an audience if you're all having fun. When you're done, take a bow!

Guessing Games

These are so much fun and there are endless variations. For one variation, put together a game of charades. Write down items, animals, or stories, and see if you can get your little one to guess what you wrote. Then switch places and try to guess your kid's things. Another variation is to write a character's name on paper headbands. Don't peek and put the headband the other person wrote on your head. You should be able to see the name on the head of the other person, but not the name you're wearing. Without saying the name, try to talk to your child as if your child is that character and help your child figure out who he or she is. If you're on the go, a game of I Spy might make sense. Find something as you drive then tell your child a characteristic of the thing. Your child then has to guess what you saw before you drive past it. Try all the variations and see which one your family likes.

Cook or Bake Something Together

This one lets you spend some quality time while also taking care of dinner! Find some recipes that you and your child can do together that you'll both look forward to eating. Coordinate who's going to take care of what and have a great time figuring it out. Mix, slice, season, and see what happens!

Now that you have some ideas for spending time with your kids without breaking the bank, try a few of them and see which you find to be the most fun!


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