Free Things to Do With Your Kids
Fight boredom! Whether you're around the house or out and about, there's always free family fun to be found!
Around the House
Rearrange the furniture.
Look through old photo albums.
Make a duct tape "road" for vehicles.
Build a fort with blankets.
Learn a new dance (check Youtube for ideas).
Build a house out of cards.
Swap toys or games with a friend.
In the Kitchen
Combine corn starch and water; play with the goop.
Pull out different spices and smell them.
Bake or cook something.
Find canned or boxed items you'll never use, then donate them to a food pantry.
Make colored noodle jewelry: mix half a cup of rubbing alcohol and a couple of drop of food coloring in a plastic bag that seals, then add dried pasta, shake it up, and let it dry.
Try frozen vegetables or fruits right from the freezer.
Around your Driveway/Yard
Play two-square or four-square.
Draw with sidewalk chalk: trace each other, design a welcome mat, draw signs to neighbors.
Around the Neighorhood
Visit a neighbor.
Pick up litter around your street.
Learn how to do a solo adventure (visiting next door? learn to cross the street? buy milk at the nearest store?).
Get to know your postal carrier, sanitation worker, or crossing guard.
Invite a friend over.
While Doing Errands
Give children their own shopping list.
Take photos of items you commonly buy at the grocery. Then let your child use your phone for a scavenger hunt.
Stuck in line outside? Play bocce ball with rocks.
Walk into a new store, just for a break. Try on hats, explore an ethnic market, or chit-chat with the staff.
Let your child choose a vegetable they've never tried before.
In the Car
Play the alphabet game, looking for letters on signs and license plates.
Play "that's your house!": choose an order, then each house you pass "belongs" to a family member.
Do James Corden proud with some carpool karaoke.
Play "Silo," "Flagpole," or any other variation depending on where you're driving. Compete to see who can find and "collect" the most of common items in the landscape.
Wave or dance and see if you can get folks in other cars to join you.
Connect with Nature
Climb a tree.
Sit down and close your eyes. Count how many different sounds you can hear.
Go for a hike.
Bring out a microscope or a camera and observe.
Try to identify plants using a library guidebook or a free phone app like What's That Flower.
Roll down a hill.
Dig in the dirt.
Play fetch or walk with your dog (or borrow a neighbor's).
Visit a dog park, pet store, or shelter.
Observe and take notes on squirrels or other backyard animals.
Put out bird seed or bread crumbs and do some birdwatching.
Observe an anthill. Lay out food and watch them respond.
In the Winter
Build a snow fort or design a snow house.
Make icy snow catchers or ice mosaics.
Have a snowball fight.
Shovel a neighbor's walk.
Make a snow ramp or tunnel and see how far you can make a ball travel on it.
Run under the sprinkler.
Make juice popsicles.
Build a campfire.
Go wading in a stream.
Go see theater in a park.
Make Some Money
Hold an impromptu garage sale with outgrown toys.
Stage a play and sell tickets to the neighborhood.
Hunt for loose change or count pennies and nickles into rolls.
Beyond Your Territory
Visit a new playground.
Visit a different library.
Shop at a different grocery store or mall.
Take a neighborhood walk in a different neighborhood.
Set a new course in Google Maps, then follow it on a walk.
Enjoy the Free
Take in a free concert.
Visit a free festival.
Shop at a farmers' market.
Stop at a visitor's center.
Many high school or college games and performances are free admission.
Visit an open house or ask for a free trial class.