Free Family Activities for a No-Spend Weekend

How many times lately have you heard your kids complain, “I’m bored!”? It is hard for families to plan fun activities any time, let alone during a pandemic. During these unprecedented times, many families are finding it difficult to make ends meet, and therefore, they might not have given much thought to planning fun outings and activities for their families.

The good news is you do not have to spend a lot of money in order to have fun with your family! There are many activities in which you and your family can participate for free!

Here, we will examine some of the creative, fun and free activities that you and your family can do to fill up a “no-spend weekend.”

Free Family Activities for a No-Spend Weekend

Indoor Activities

Some of us are still under stay-at-home restrictions, or might simply feel that it is safer to keep our families indoors. These indoor activities are also perfect for a rainy day or when you and the family cannot get outside due to weather.

You can have fun inside, for free, whether it’s inside your own house or a public place (once they have reopened, adhering to all social distancing measures and wearing protective gear such as masks, of course).

Inside Your Own Home

Food-Related Ideas

  • Family bake-off- each member of the family bakes something different and then everyone samples the creations
  • Cook and eat dinner together, where everyone is responsible for something- if kids are too little to help cook, have them set the table, wash dishes, dry/put away dishes
  • Make cookies and decorate them
  • Do blind taste tests with various drinks and/or food
  • Make homemade pizza (if you don’t have dough, things like English muffins or pitas work just as well)

Artsy-Related Ideas

  • Make a book together (use magazines for pictures)
  • Have an arts and crafts day, using any or all of the below-mentioned ideas
  • Make homemade gifts to give to loved ones and friends or each other
  • Build with Legos or blocks
  • Make paper airplanes to fly indoors or outdoors
  • Color together
  • Paint pictures together and create your own family art gallery
  • Finger painting (particularly great for younger children, just make sure to do it with newspaper underneath to contain the mess!)
  • Begin a new hobby together, or let each family member individually choose their own new hobby to start (ideas include painting, crocheting, photography)
  • Tell each other stories (one person starts, then the next person builds upon it, and so on)
  • Write a simple play and act it out together
  • Create a puppet show
  • Create a house of cards

Getting Active with Your Family

  • Have a family fun night, in which everyone contributes an idea of what they’d like to do
  • Hold a dance party
  • Have a karaoke party (these can get pretty active!)
  • Play video games together (ditto – some video games are more active than others!)
  • Practice tongue twisters
  • Play hide and seek (this could be outdoors or indoors, or both)
  • Set up an indoor obstacle course
  • Play charades
  • Practice yo-yo tricks

Learning About Each Other

  • Create memory books for each family member
  • Make a family scrapbook
  • Go through family photos
  • Research your family tree together (this can be done online through sites like, and
  • Make a family time capsule
  • Research careers online (find out what careers your kids are interested in and research them together)

Quiet Ideas

  • Do jigsaw puzzles together
  • Play Simon Says
  • Do a science experiment (like the diet coke and mentos volcanic eruption)
  • Teach your kids how to read a map
  • Play board games together
  • Hold a movie marathon, based on a family vote of who wants to see what type of movies
  • Do crossword puzzles together
  • Read your favorite books together (if there are younger children, take turns reading aloud to them)
  • Have a home spa day (do your nails, hair, facials, feet)
  • Build an indoor blanket fort
  • Create a scavenger hunt (outdoors or indoors or both)
  • Play dress up and/or have a family fashion show
  • Camp in the family room overnight
  • Have a tea party
  • Play chess
  • Have a bubble-blowing contest
  • Play checkers
  • Have a pajama day, in which everyone stays in their PJ’s all day long
  • Play tic tac toe
  • Take an online class together (many are free)
  • Play hangman

Ideas to Help Organize Your Home

  • Clean out your closets and create piles of clothing to donate
  • Clean the house together (believe it or not, this can be fun as a family activity)

If you’re looking for other ideas for family activities, check out our guide to gardening with kids, or backyard camping with kids. 

Activities You Can Do in Other Indoor Facilities

Here are some family activities that you can participate in within other indoor facilities. They might not all be completely free, but if not free, they are usually low-cost. With a little research beforehand, you might find days on which these activities are free!

  • Visit a free museum or go on a day in which families/kids of a certain age get in for free
  • Take a trip to your local library
  • Visit an art gallery (check to see which ones, like on college campuses, offer free admission)
  • Take a class together (many music stores, libraries, and specialty shops like the Apple Store offer free, short classes)
  • Visit and have playdates with other family members at their homes (again, when permitted)

Outdoor Activities

The weather is turning warmer in many places, and many of us are itching to get outside and enjoy it! There are so many fun, free activities in which you and your family can participate outside, whether in your own backyard or in a public space (with social distancing measures in place, of course!)

In Your Own Backyard

Food-Related Ideas

  • Have a picnic breakfast while watching the sunrise
  • Go and Have a picnic dinner or snack while watching the sunset
  • Outdoor picnic (this could be in your own backyard or elsewhere)
  • Have a teddy bear’s picnic (can be with real or pretend food and beverages)

Active Ideas

  • Play a sport together in the backyard
  • Turn on the sprinklers and hoses and hold backyard water games (like filling water balloons, create your own water slide, and more)
  • Fly a kite (in your backyard or elsewhere)
  • Create a scavenger hunt (this could be outdoors or indoors or both)
  • Rake leaves and jump in the piles (this is a seasonal activity)
  • Wash the car
  • Build a snowman (again, this is a seasonal activity)
  • Take turns jumping on your trampoline
  • Climb a tree
  • Wash your dog
  • Make a rope swing, tie it to a tree and have fun!

Exploring Nature

  • Pick flowers from your garden/backyard and arrange them
  • Plant a garden in your backyard (vegetable, flower, herb, you name it)
  • Look at the stars at night (a telescope is helpful but not required)
  • Go rock hunting, then collect and paint your findings
  • Collect bugs, figure out what they are and let them go
  • Study the intricate workings of a spider web
  • Look for four-leaf clovers
  • Build a bird house or bird feeder (simple instructions can be found here)

Other ideas

  • Have a yard sale
  • Use chalk and draw inspirational pictures and sayings on your driveway or sidewalk

Outdoor Activities in Other Settings

There are many activities you can participate in within other local outdoor venues. Make sure to adhere to all local regulations regarding social distancing if you choose to do any of the following:

  • Play at a local park (make sure the playground equipment, basketball nets, etc. are not off limits)
  • Go on a hike in your local park (most have trails, and many have difficulty levels noted, so that you can plan which trails your kids can accomplish with you)
  • Take a walking tour of a local city
  • Go on bike/scooter rides together
  • Visit a botanical garden
  • Go fishing together
Free Family Activities for a No-Spend Weekend
  • Collect shells from the beach
  • Visit local farmer’s markets
  • Attend free local community events (many communities offer free concerts, movies, etc. especially during the summer months)
  • Go to a yard sale
  • Visit a boat show, car show, RV show, classic car show, or other auto show
  • Go swimming (in your own pool, a friend or family member’s pool, or, perhaps for a small fee, at a community pool)
  • Volunteer as a family. Ideas include:
    • Beautifying your neighborhood – make sure everyone wears disposable gloves, get some grabbers and an empty trash bag for each family member and walk around your neighborhood together, picking up trash
    • Caroling – it doesn’t have to be Christmas to go around to local nursing homes and sing to the residents
    • Visiting residents in nursing homes
    • Serving meals at a homeless shelter
  • Go geocaching (click here to get started)
  • Feed the ducks at a local pond (as long as it is safe to do so and there are no signs warning against it)
  • Go metal detecting (this requires special equipment but can be quite fun – read more about it )
  • Make paper boats and try to float them at a nearby pond or lake

Check out the funny Daddy’s Biker T-shirt for your little one!

Free Family Activities for a No-Spend Weekend