If most of your weekends are spent sitting on the couch because you’re trying not to spend money, then you probably don’t think you can afford to have fun. Because when you’re on a budget, it can be hard to have a family fun night that won’t break the bank.
So I’m always looking for fun things to do on a budget!
But is it really possible to have fun at home with your family? Of course, it is! Even if all you do is order pizza and watch movies with a gigantic bowl of butter popcorn (plus, a little wine for mama!).
Our kids LOVE movie night. We let them choose the movie. In fact, it’s one of our favorite family fun night ideas!
But there are many other ways you can have a family fun night that won’t cost you a dime! And today I’m sharing them all.
Plus, most of these family fun night (or day!) ideas can be done right at home – even if you have toddlers in the house!
Cheap Ways to Have A Family Fun Night at Home
1. Paint with your kids – I love simple kid art projects. Plus, you can hang these beautifully in your home.
2. Play card games, board games, or video games – It’s a great way to convince your kids to disconnect from their electronic devices.
3. Bake cookies from scratch – The best part is when you get to eat the fruits of your labor!
4. Play dress-up – I’m a mom of all boys and even they love to get dressed up as their favorite superhero to slay imaginary villains.
5. Invite friends and family over – It’s just the company of having loved ones over that we enjoy most.
6. Create a drive-in movie for your kids using cardboard boxes – What a cool way to put a spin on traditional movie night! I saw this idea on Pinterest and I can’t wait to try it for our next movie night.
7. Have a sleepover in the living room with your kids – Bring your mattress downstairs or use an air mattress if you have one.
8. Play Hide and Seek in the dark – Once your kids are at the age where their no longer afraid of the dark, this game is really fun to play throughout the house.
9. Create a scavenger hunt – Kids of all ages love scavenger hunts! You can make up your own or get a free printable.
10. Go backyard camping – I mean, who can turn down s’mores and roasted hot dogs over a fire pit? Not my family! Backyard camping, while telling stories and singing songs, is always fun.
11. Make your own pizza – You’ll save more money making your own pizza while also making memories with your kids.
12. Go to a kids-eat-free restaurant – Many restaurants offer days where kids eat free or will send you a birthday coupon when you sign up. Just be sure to call ahead before you go.
13. Count the stars at night with your kids – My toddlers are always fascinated by the stars and the moon at night so we’ll sometimes take them outside to count the stars and catch fireflies too!
14. Make breakfast for dinner – Pancakes, anyone? Yum!
15. Make sock puppets and put on a play – This is an old-fashioned, yet fun way to entertain your kids without watching tv.
16. Tye-dye old t-shirts – Yes, this is something people still do! You don’t have to wear your tie-dye shirt, but painting them is loads of fun!
17. Build a blanket fort – Omgosh! Doesn’t this just make you want to be a kid again? We love to do this with our kids on a rainy night with all the lights out except our flashlights, and we tell them stories until they fall asleep. It’s awesome!
18. Make your own slime – Kids are OBSESSED with slime these days. That’s why this is such a cool and fun idea! There are all kinds of Youtube videos that will show you how to make slime from scratch!
19. Have a talent show – Your kids can have a Show and Tell right at home!
20. Play karaoke – You can rent a karaoke machine for nights like these.
21. Create a scrapbook of old photos – I know I can’t be the only mom that has more photos of her kids on social media than inside photo albums. #facepalm So take a night to print off those digital photos so you can create a scrapbook to keep in your home!
22. Get organized – Start in the kids’ bedroom so they can help out too! You can get rid of toys they don’t play with, the clothing they’ve outgrown, and give their room a fresh look by rearranging the furniture.
Family Fun Activities You Can Do for Cheap
23. Go to the beach – If you’re lucky enough to live near a fabulous beach, this is something you can do just about every weekend that won’t cost you a dime.
24. Fly a kit
25. Play at the park
26. Have an outdoor photoshoot with your kids – If you have a digital camera or a smartphone, you can take professional-looking images of your kids anywhere.
27. Bike ride as a family
28. Have a water gun fight – Perfect for those 90 degree days in the summer.
29. Take your kids to a water playground – Check your local park and recreation center for free water playgrounds. These are fun ways to cool down when the weather heats up.
30. Go fishing
31. Take a family walk
32. Plant a garden – Your garden can be as big or as small as you’d like. And you can teach your kids real-life skills they can pass along to their children.
33. Have a picnic – Get the kids out of the house to spend a few hours playing in the sun and pack some food so you don’t end up at a drive-thru.
34. Host a potluck with family & friends – You can host a potluck so everyone can bring their kids and favorite dish.
35. Go to the zoo on free/cheap admission days – During holidays and off-season months is when you’re most likely to get in for free or almost free. Just check your local zoo and aquarium for details.
36. Attend free outdoor concerts and movies – The summer is a great time to take advantage of events like these happening all around the city. So check your area for details.
37. Explore your local library – You never know what books, videos, and music you may find! Plus, at most local libraries you can surf the internet for free, while your kids bury themselves in books.
38. Plan a yard sale
39. Go to open houses – If you have dreams of owning a home one day, you can always visit open houses to meet realtors selling in your area and to learn more about the home-buying process!
40. Clean your car from the inside out – If your family car is anything like ours, then it tends to get dirty pretty fast. We like to wash our car at home because it’s cheaper than going to a car wash.
Now that you know family fun doesn’t have to cost a ton, I hope these family fun night ideas inspire you to make more memories with your family without worrying about spending money.
What are your favorite cheap family fun night ideas you’ve tried?