5 Budget-Friendly Activities for Fun Time with Your Kids

This post is brought to you by Cristin Howard – who runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads.

Having kids is expensive, even before you add in all the birthday parties, sports, and many other activities that require funds. Often, when you’re struggling to keep your kids entertained, it can take a lot of creativity to find things that won’t cause you to go broke.

The great thing about kids is that they don’t know the difference between an afternoon at the trampoline park that costs an arm and a leg, and an afternoon at the jungle gym around the corner.

Below, this list of five budget-friendly activities to do with your kids, should make your pocketbook’s life easier, while still showing the little ones a fun time.



Reading isn’t just fun, it’s educational! This is especially true if your kids are just learning to read. Plus, your child will love one-on-one time with you.

Reading books is the perfect rainy day activity. It’s also a really great option for when it’s too hot or too cold to go outside. While books are often a great bedtime activity to help your child wind down after a long day, you can also use this trick at nap-time, or any other time throughout the day should you or your little one need of a quiet moment.

It’s often a special treat to enjoy a book or two at a time when you would normally be doing something else. If your kids are bouncing off the walls and you need some quiet time, gather them onto the couch and read some of their favorites.

Make a day of it. Read Green Eggs and Ham and then eat green food all day. Read Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? and act out your favorite animals. Let your child build their own book/activity combination and have fun.


Make Art

Break out the easel and draw, paint, or sketch together. Use whatever supplies you have around the house. If you don’t have any, a quick run to the dollar store can bring you a ton of art supplies for very little money.

You can make a game out of this activity by playing Hangman or even Pictionary™. If that’s too advanced for your little one, you can learn to draw animals with simple geometric shapes. It’s easy and quick to make cats, pigs, or chickens from with shapes your toddler can already draw.


Check Out Local Museums and Attractions

Many local museums and other attractions offer cheap – or free – admission. The St. Louis Zoo is free, as is the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. There are a lot of other educational activities throughout the country that are inexpensive and will entertain your kids all day!

Here’s another quick list of free places you can visit:

  • Phoenix Police Museum
  • California Science Museum
  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Hands on Children’s Museum in Olympia, Washington


[Note from Editor: Reminder- Due to COVID-19 and traveling restrictions/hesitations, many Museums, Exhibits, and Zoos are offering free virtual tours.]


The Target “Dollar Spot”

Who doesn’t love a good Target run? You can make it fun for your kids by taking them to the “Dollar Spot” and giving them a spending limit. It won’t cost you much and your kids will get to pick out their own new toys! Win-Win!

They’ll feel like they have free reign, even though they don’t, and when you get back home, they’ll have new toys to keep them busy for at least a few hours.


Make Chalk Paint

You can make chalk paint out of things you already have in the kitchen. All you have to do is: mix equal parts water and cornstarch and then add some food coloring to make the colors you want!

You can pour it into squeeze bottles or give your kids brushes and rollers to apply the paint. Either way, it’s washable, so whatever mess they make outside, you can clean them up easily when they come back in.


Final Thoughts

There are so many more activities you can do with your children that shouldn’t break the bank. Have a dance party in the kitchen, bake cookies, go for a walk or a bike ride, hang out at the playground, go swimming, or any number of things in the neighborhood.

Use your imagination and have fun. Your kids will have fond memories of the times you spent doing things that didn’t cost anything but time.

[Special Thanks: This article was provided by our friends at Smart Parent Advice. They have so many terrific ideas, finds, reviews, and so much more. Thanks for taking the time out for us! ~ The Legacy of Love Team]

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