30 (almost) Free Family Activities

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Covid-19 has definitely tapped the bottom of the barrel when it comes to ideas for keeping kids busy! We have finished 17 weeks of lockdown…at different stages. However, my boys are only back to school part-time and I am still home full-time.

While I absolutely love the quality time we have had as a family, trying to keep everyone entertained and happy while staying home has been almost a full-time job.

If you are like millions of people world wide, in addition to these already difficult aspects of keeping children entertained, Covid-19 has affected your finances as well. Ensue creativity from all directions!

Here is a great list of ideas that we have been busy with as a family. Guaranteed to spark your creativity and have the whole family involved!

family activities almost free fun for the whole family

1. Minute to Win It

Pinterest is FULL of ideas for this little gem! You can check my board for some interesting ideas. This is a fun way to mix up the usual family game night and guaranteed to get everyone laughing!

2. Make Origami

This is a simple way to pass an hour or so. I showed my boys how to fold balloons from paper and they never stop asking me to do it again. Google has hundreds of tutorials to help you and the family learn a new skill.

3. Charades

My children fill the house with giggles when we play charades. You can literally write anything down on a slip of paper and get to playing. From animals to their favorite movies, you will never run out of topics!

4. Bonfire and S’mores

This is a favorite over weekends. If you don’t want to buy wood, look into local wooded areas. Often times you can speak with the owners to hike and clear out branches that have fallen down. Or even have a look at your own property! This is a great time to cut down and trim! Especially right before the stormy season. Just be sure what wood you are burning before putting anything you are going to eat in the flames!

Alternatively, if you don’t have the supplies for s’mores, try making a homemade caramel sauce and do a fruit fondue! You can still sit around the fire together, tell jokes or stories, and just be!

5. Work in a Soup Kitchen

Times are especially difficult lately and I see more and more people resorting to begging and needing the support of the local community. This is the perfect opportunity to teach our children some valuable life lessons.

Look up your local community center or homeless shelter and find out where you and your kids can donate some of your time. I can promise it will change everyone’s lives!

6. Bake Together

If nothing else, throw on some aprons and get into the kitchen at home. This is a great time to start teaching cooking skills. Let them experiment and learn more about flavors. Skills like this will last a lifetime!

7. Go for a Walk

I know all too well how easy it is to get lazy when you are home all the time! This is a great time to bond. Put on some takkies and get moving. You are teaching your children the value of exercise while spending time together. Plus, for the younger kids, it might just wear them out before nap time.

8. Pictionary

Another family favorite! As my boys have gotten older this game has become such a joy. Instead of using paper, we have a small dry erase board. This works wonders for the game!

9. Family Dance Off

Look, none of us are dancers in my house. I danced on teams in school but not a free style! This makes this activity even more fun! Hubby and I love the laughter we experience just twirling around with the kids.

10. Go Backyard Camping

Camping is a family favorite. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Grab the supplies you need from the house and set the tent up in the backyard. Try to go all out and cook outside and lock the house as if you really weren’t there!

11. Homemade Pizza and Netflix

Another opportunity to involve the kids in the kitchen. Roll out some pizza dough and use your imagination on the toppings. You can even make a dessert pizza! If you don’t have a Netflix account, that is OK. You can sign up for a free trial or just rent a movie!

12. Go on a Virtual Tour

Why not make a theme night with this one? In the wake of Covid-19, a lot of museums, zoo’s and public sites started offering free (or relatively cheap) virtual tours. We did one of the Great Pyramids and for days my children wanted to learn about Egypt.

You can go Italian and visit Pompeii while eating a big bowl of pasta or whip up some tacos as a family and learn to salsa in Mexico. The options are really endless! Your children can still experience history and culture from the safety of your living room!

13. Do a Science Experiment

I know most of us are more than a little concerned about the impact of this year on our children’s education. Why don’t you take a few ingredients out of your kitchen and do a science experiment? You can even find them on Pinterest and YouTube. We like to find an experiment and then look up YouTube videos explaining all the ins and outs!

14. Visit the Local Library

So, I know in a lot of areas the library is closed. However, if it is open in your town, take an afternoon and check out some books! Most libraries are free to join and the benefits are unending!

15. Do a Photo Scavenger Hunt

Grab a list of things to take photos of and head out into the neighborhood. Split into teams if there are enough of you. First to finish their photo list wins! As an added bonus you can make a slideshow of all the photos you took and create a lovely video to watch as a family that evening!

16. Have a Photo Night

While we are discussing photos, why don’t you pull out the old ones? My boys absolutely love looking at photos from all the years. Whether it is of us as kids or since they were born, family photo night is always a joy.

17. Go Bird Watching

Whether in your neighborhood or at the local park, go bird watching. It is a great opportunity to get outside and moving while teaching your children about local nature.

18. Start a Family Prayer Journal

This is a favorite idea! Any notebook will do so you don’t need to go all fancy. Start recording your prayers as a family. You can begin by recording each individual’s prayers for the journal itself. What do you hope to see happen in your lives through this journal? Then start recording prayers. Additionally, try to record scripture to go along with the prayers. This is a great way to begin teaching memory verses to kids. Finally, record a date when the prayers are answered! Years from now this can be a strong foundation in your children’s prayer lives!

notebook spiral notebook prayer journal

19. Learn a New Language

Why don’t you spend some time as a family learning a new language? Whether you start with a local language or go all out and jump to Mandarin Chinese, later in life you will thank yourselves for doing this! Plus, you will find lots of laughs as you try to pronounce the words and dialects, teaching your children the skills of perseverance and patience.

20. Play Chopped

This is one my boys are begging for! It was actually Lil Misters’ idea! Divide into two teams and create baskets for each other with 3 items. Then each team has so long to create their meals. You can divide this over a couple of nights depending on the size of your family. Or you can do it on a specific day of the week over a couple of weeks. The options are literally endless.

Keep a score card and rate each other when you are done!

21. Make Homemade Kites

Do you maybe have some sticks in the yard and a garbage bag? What about an old t-shirt and some paint? Add a little tape and fishing line and you have yourself a kite. Get creative and see who can make the best kite then head out to fly them!

22. Have a Stargazing Night

Do a little Google research and find out which constellations, comets, moons/planets, and other interesting space things are visible in your hemisphere that night! Grab a few blankets and pillows and head outside. If it is too bright then drive to a more secluded farm road! See how many constellations you can see!

23. Make Gifts for the Elderly

Many people are unable to visit during this time. Additionally, this is good anytime but especially around the holidays. Grab whatever craft supplies you have around the house and come up with some cute homemade gifts like cards, suncatchers, or bird feeders!

24. Make a Time Capsule

You don’t need to be an organization or a group to do this one. Simply get a box and decorate it as a family. Add some newspaper clippings from recent events, maybe a few favorite things and photos. Let each family member put something in that they think is relevant to their age and time in life. Set a date and go bury it! If you don’t own your house, then just put it away in the back of a closet. Years from now you will love opening it!

25. Play Simon Says

This is good for all ages. Get creative and exhaust yourselves with laughter and smiles in this classic game!

26. Karaoke

YouTube is filled with karaoke videos. Look them up ad grab a “hairbrush” microphone. The video will play the lyrics for you. Make sure you have the camera ready for this one.

27. Create a New Game

Children have unbelievable imaginations. Ask around what is everyone’s favorite games and mix together the concepts and rules to create a game special to your family. Alternatively, you can just add silly rules to already popular games. Like having to make a silly animal sound every time you pass go in Monopoly or having to do a silly dance when calling Uno!

28. Have a Family Comedy Night

Plan this one a little in advance. Look up jokes and tricks and put on a show in your own living room!

29. Have a Photo Competition

Pick a night and show off your best work. During the week let the kids help with taking photos of nature and everyday life. Then one evening have a show-off and vote for the best photo in particular categories.

30. Collect for the Needy

You never really see how much stuff you have until it is time to move! Why not start today on cleaning out? There are always people in need. Involve the kids and ask them to pick out 1 or 2 toys to give away to those kids without. You can also ask them to help with sorting their clothes and books.

Start an initiative on Facebook in your area to collect donations of tin foods or dry goods to donate. Whatever you decide to do, showing your children the good of giving back is always beneficial.

Click below to download the calendar in PDF so you always have a reference for these awesome ideas!

I really hope these ideas have sparked creativity in your mind and helped to motivate you to be more active in turning the screens off! While even my children have time to watch TV, play on their phones and work on computer skills, I find it just as important to chase them outside to just be kids!

Do you have some all-time favorite “no-screen” activities as a family? We would love to hear about them! And remember to follow us on Instagram so you never miss what is going on!

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