Whether you have found yourself temporarily tight on money until payday, are living from paycheck to paycheck in general, or have decided to embrace the frugal life, entertaining your kids when have no money to spare can be challenging and disheartening. Being a parent isn’t all about glam family vacations or paid fun all day every day, of course, but when your gas tank is almost on E and you’ve the last of your couch change for a gallon of milk, you may feel like your only option is to hide away in your house rationing pennies until your next paycheck hits your bank account. Luckily, there are lots of things for you (and your family) to do for free!
1. Arts & Crafts
While crafting and DIY can get pricey if you don’t have the initial materials, there are still a ton of options using common household items. In a pinch, you can always keep it extra simple by grabbing a stack of printer paper and a handful of writing utensils and letting them draw until their arms fall asleep. Make it extra epic by challenging them to write and illustrate their own storybook! Remember to bind the pages together when they’re finished with a hole punch and some ribbon/string!
2. Take a trip to the park or playground
If the weather permits it, take a trip to a nearby park or playground. This gives you and the kiddos some fresh air, some exercise, and some great memories. Prepare sandwiches and snacks beforehand and double down on the fun with a bonus picnic. Even if you don’t take a meal with you, be sure to at least pack some drinks to keep everyone hydrated while they have fun in the sun.
3. Visit free museums, zoos, and farms
Your area probably has a ton of interesting places to go that you don’t know about. Do a quick Google search or call up your local Chamber of Commerce to find out if there are any places of interest that are free of charge. Local farms will often let you walk around and look at the animals if you call and ask. Make a post on Facebook asking friends if they know anyone who owns horses, alpacas, etc. that would be willing to let you visit. Call your historical society to find out if they have a local history museum that you can tour. You’d be surprised how many undiscovered gems are in your area.
4. Bake or cook
The kitchen can be a great place to gather the kiddos for some frugal fun. If you’ve never made bread or pasta from scratch, this can be a great time to learn. Your little ones will love to help knead the dough and you will save precious money on these pantry staples. You can make it even more fun by setting up your camera or phone and letting them pretend to be the hosts of their very own cooking show. At the end of the day, you’ll have an adorable home video, delicious homemade food, and great memories.
5. Check out your local library
Your library is a great resource for free fun. Reading is great fun all by itself, but you can also check out some DVDs for a family movie night. Most public libraries host programs like story hour and craft time for little kids, so be sure to ask the librarian about them while you are checking out your books and movies.
I hope you found this post helpful. What do you do to keep your kids entertained when the budget is tight? Let me know in the comments below.