Time to get creative!

By Alex Richards
Updated June 27, 2018
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Spending time with the family can be a blessing and a curse. I mean, I love those guys, but when my kids start chanting that they want to go to the amusement park–which inevitably costs an entire wallet-full of cash–it kinda fills me with dread. The thing is, spending time together as a family doesn’t have to cost anything. In fact, there’s something even more rewarding about knowing you had a kick-ass time with your family and you didn’t have to drop a dime. Check out some of our favoring free activities, and get ready for a great weekend.

1. Make a Fort

Channel your inner architect while grabbing every pillow, blanket, and chair in the house (umbrellas help, too), and transform your living room into a magical cavern, perfect for reading books, storytelling, giggling, and snacking.

2. Try Some Yoga

I love yoga, but the kids classes aren’t cheap. One of my favorite rainy day activities is to get a little exercise and do Cosmic Kids Yoga with my kids on YouTube. Each video tells a different story (from "Moana" to Minecraft) and gets kids thinking, moving, and giggling in the process.

3. Go for a Hike

Hiking can be a great family activity, and most trails are free. No mountains nearby? Challenge your family to explore a new nook and cranny of your favorite park, instead.

4. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is a great way to get creative, get the family thinking as a team, and get some exercise. Whether the hunt is at home or in your local park, keep the prize simple (like letting the winner choose the evening movie).

5. Grab Your Bathing Suit

Definitely hit the beach if you live near one. Alternately, see if there’s a local municipal pool with free swim days, or a lake or river nearby. No luck? Set up the sprinkler or a kiddie pool in the yard and start splashing.

6. Have a Movie Night

In the summer, many parks, piers and rooftops offer free movie nights, so check your local paper. If not, have a movie night at home. No need to subject yourself to cinema prices when you can pop your own popcorn and snuggle up with the kiddos on your very own couch. If there aren’t any new releases that interest you, try introducing the fam to an oldie-but-goodie, like a Marx Brothers movie or an old musical.

7. Themed Picnics

Everyone loves a picnic, but try kicking it up a notch by creating a theme. Are your kids into "Peppa Pig"? Make paper piggie masks, mud pies, and Peppa’s favorite food, spaghetti. Yes, you’ll have to buy the groceries, but there will be no service fees or tipping involved.

8. Give Back to the Community

Volunteering with a local organization is a great way to spend your time and bond as a family. From preparing meals to planting trees or filling bags with school supplies for homeless kids, you’ll feel great at the end of the day knowing that your family helped others in need.

9. Organize a Meetup

Getting together with friends is one of the best ways to spend your weekend, especially if you’re lucky and have friends with kids. It doesn’t need to be fancy–you literally don’t need anything but each other (hokey as it sounds). Although, if you can get your hands on a ball or some water balloons, it wouldn’t hurt.

10. Have a Yard Sale

If you have any unneeded junk lying around your house (come on, we know you do), pile it all together, take it outside, and see if you can make a few bucks. Challenge your family to see who can give the best "hard sell" and if you make a few bucks, take the kids out for ice cream after.