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13 Free Things To Do With Kids At Home & Outside

Ideas for free things to do with kids at home and outside to beat boredom!

collage of ideas for family fun during a no spend challenge
Sometiems kids get bored and need ideas for things to do at home. 

Here are thirteen ideas for having fun as a family that don’t involve money or going somewhere inside. 

As you can tell from the pictures, we have done ALL of these ourselves at one point or another!

Go Through and Organize Old Pictures

old photos spread out

If you are like most people you have a shoebox (or five) full of old pictures that you don’t know what to do with. Have your kiddos help you sort them and decide which to keep and which to toss.

They will love seeing pictures of you from way-back-when! Then make a plan for putting them into a photo album or scanning them into your computer.

Have a Board Game Night

pile of board games

Having an old-fashioned board game night is a great way to pass an evening during a no spend challenge.

Dig them out of that closet (you know what I’m talking about) and have some snacks on hand while you play.

Learn Something New on Youtube


What did we do before we had Youtube videos at our fingertips? You can really learn anything from Youtube, though

I wouldn’t recommend cutting your own hair after seeing how easy it looked on Youtube (yes, I know from experience). You can learn origami with the kids, or how to play chess, or how to do fancy braids, all for free.

Have a Picnic

two little kids having a picnic

Pack up some sandwiches and head out to a local park for a weekend picnic. Or you can drag a kiddie table outside and have a picnic in your backyard like we do.

Either way, eating outside is novel and a fun way to mix it up during a no spend weekend.

Print Free Coloring & Activity Pages

little girl holding a christmas tree coloring page

I love to find free coloring pages of whatever my kiddo is “into” at the time and print them out. I often check Top Coloring Pages or do a Google search for coloring pages for their latest obsession. 

If you happen to already have Do-A-Dot markers, you can also find printable activity pages for those here. 

Declutter and Collect Donations

little girl on a bed with a pile of clothes

Though it seems like work, if you declutter an area of your house as a family it does take on an element of fun!

The easiest place to start is your closets. Like Marie Kondo recommends in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, have every family member pile every piece of clothing they own onto their bed. Then handle each one and decide if you truly still want and need it. Here’s what happened when I did this with my clothes!

Collect all of the unwanted clothing and donate it to a local charity. You can do this with any area of your home and kids usually like to help make decisions about what to keep.

Things to Do With Kids At Home: Watch Free Movies with Hoopla


There are so many places to stream free entertainment at this point!

If your local library has a membership, you can instantly borrow movies through Hoopla. If you have an Amazon Prime Membership, you can watch any of the movies and TV shows included with Prime for free.

And if you’ll remember to cancel, you can always sign up for a free trial of Netflix, Hulu, or SlingTV for access to even more entertainment. There’s so much free entertainment out there it is easy to have a no spend weekend filled with great things to watch.

Try Geocaching or Letterboxing

official geocache box hiding under a log

There are millions of geocaches and letterboxes hidden all over the world. It is very likely there are some close to where you live! While this likely will require you leaving home, you are do a lot of preparation at home before you set out. 

Both are similar to treasure hunts, where you use clues to find little weatherproof boxes that people have hidden in parks or other public places. I have done letterboxing for almost 20 years and it is such a fun hobby.

You can learn how to hunt for geocaches at the official Geocaching site here, or get clues to find letterboxes at the Letterboxing North America site and AtlasQuest, another letterboxing community.

I suggest washing hands and hand sanitizing before you handle the boxes and immediately afterwards, just to be safe. 

Eat From Your Freezer/Pantry


My actual pantry

Making two weekend dinners entirely with items from your pantry and freezer is a great way to save money during a no spend challenge and use up food before it goes bad!

There are lots of ideas out there for creating meals during a freezer/pantry challenge – here are some examples on Pinterest. If you need some quick ideas, scroll down to the bottom of this post over at Queen Bee Coupons to see what their family ate during a month-long freezer/pantry challenge!

Things to Do With Kids at Home: Camp in the Backyard

little girl in front of an orange tent

If you have a tent, set it up in the backyard, throw the sleeping bags in it and have a campout!

Kids love the adventure of sleeping outside and you don’t have to pack up the car with all of your gear and pay for a campsite. Plus you can run into the house to use the bathroom.

No Spend Challenge Weekend Brunch

Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Easy Pumpkin Spice Waffles

For some reason, calling a meal “brunch” makes it seem fancier!

We’ve made special weekend brunches with waffles, quiches, and more, all with what we’ve already had in the kitchen. Check out all of the recipes I’ve collected on my Pinterest breakfast/brunch board!

Take A Hike 

little girl in the woods

We often search out local parks that we haven’t yet visited for some free fun. 

You might have state parks near you that you didn’t even know about, or check out city and county parks in your local area. Some likely have interactive nature centers with free programming for kids on the weekends!

I hope this post gave you some inspiration for things to do with kids who are bored at home and outside. There’s no shortage of free fun to be had if you know where to look.

If you have any other ideas, please share them with us in a comment below!

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Monday 24th of May 2021

Warm weather is here in the northeast, we like to combine a hike in the park with a picnic, plus bring along games to play as well on the picnic table, plus a ball to play and a frisbee is a cheap, yet fun activity that my kids love. Hubby does move the home haircuts from in the entry room to the patio to trim my long hair and give my boys their haircuts. Cleaning up is with the leaf blower.


Thursday 7th of December 2017

I had no clue museum passes can be borrowed from the library! Thanks for the great tip.


Monday 4th of December 2017

These are awesome! We are on a strict budget this year too and this is helpful!


Monday 4th of December 2017

Yay so glad it is helpful to you!

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