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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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20 Inexpensive or Free Things To Do with your Family

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Everything is so expensive these days so families everywhere are searching for fun things to do that are also easy on the family budget. These inexpensive and free activities are the perfect treat after working together on the family budget, and realizing that cutbacks are needed.

20 Inexpensive or Free Things To Do with your Family

Free Things to Do with a Family

These entertainment ideas for kids and adults alike are generally free. Some require a little travel by car, or bringing food from home; but they are essentially free activities.

Take a walk or picnic in the park – better yet, try a different local park each day until the family finds the very best one.

Go window shopping at a favorite mall, antique stores, or craft fair. Leave the wallet at home!
Camp out in the backyard, or make a “fort” inside using furniture, blankets and cushions – then spend the evening trading ghost stories.

Volunteer on a community or charity project for the afternoon or a weekend. This activity is not only free, but a deeply fulfilling experience as well.

Spend a long, lazy day in pajamas, reading or watching everyone’s favorite movies. Don’t forget the microwave popcorn!

“Tour” local neighborhoods or hometown, pretending to be tourists and taking pictures of favorite places.

Have a “teaching day” during which each family member has an opportunity to teach the others about something they enjoy – sharing a favorite hobby, a video game, book, walking trail, recipe, or anything else.

Hold a family talent show, or host one for the whole neighborhood. Grandparents, aunts and uncles can be judges… or they may have hidden talents themselves!

Cheap Activities for Families

These cheap entertainment ideas require some minor expenses- such as art supplies or recipe ingredients. They are, however, still far cheaper than taking the family to the movies or out to dinner- and more interactive!

Create homemade artwork together to decorate the laundry room, playroom, or basement (think crayon mural, or paper-maché & coat hanger mobile).

Host a potluck dinner party for friends or neighbors; have everyone bring a dish and a recipe to share.

Write a family history or the story of your relationship in a sketchbook, including illustrations, leaving space to add to the story every year.

Entertainment Outdoors

Many inexpensive or cheap activities can be found outdoors. So, go outside and play!

There are countless ways to enjoy the outdoors.Some require sporting equipment, which may be borrowed from friends, or purchased at a discount store to enjoy for years to come. Other ideas require nothing but a little imagination and a willing spirit.


A few ideas for outdoor family entertainment:

  • Frisbee
  • Football
  • Softball
  • Badminton
  • Volleyball
  • Water balloons
  • Relay races
  • Tag
  • Hide and seek
  • Bean bag toss
  • Hop scotch
  • Biking
  • Walking around the block
  • Rolling down a hill
  • Cloud watching
  • Star gazing
  • Cartwheels
  • Watching the sunset
  • Watching the sunrise
  • Counting cars
  • Making mudpies

The list of cheap activities outside can go on and on. Keep in mind that many outdoor activities are not only inexpensive, they’re healthy, too!

Other Resources for Free Things to Do

Of course, this article is just a starting point for fun, inexpensive family activities. For more ideas, visit the local library for free programs, resources and activities. The local paper may also list free outdoor concerts and festivals. Some activities may be posted on community bulletin boards at nearby stores, cafes, and community centres. With so many great ideas for inexpensive family fun, there is no reason to let budget restrictions keep the family from having a great time together!

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