Family Frugal Fun: 67 Ideas and Activities

67+ Ideas for Family Frugal Fun

67 Family Frugal Fun

Family Frugal Fun: In Your Home

1.  Family Game Night:  Around the holidays, you can often find board game coupons on  You can also stack those coupons with in-store sales. Often, you can find games under $5!

2.  Family Weekly Dinner:  Devote one night a week where everyone eats a full meal together without interruption.  Put together a Family Table Topics Kit to help inspire conversation.

3. Movie Night:  Family movie nights are even more fun with a theme.  Choose from one of these creative Family Movie Night Theme Ideas.  Rent movies on Redbox for as low as $1.29 a night or borrow one from your local library.

4.  Cooking:  Baking, dipping fruit into chocolate, or even cooking dinner together is not only fun, it teaches culinary skills.  Check out our recipes for Cooking with Kids.

5.  Room Sized Tent:  Impress the kids by taking sheets and building huge room-sized tents.  It’s also a great place to watch a movie together.

6.  Reading Marathon:  Head to your local library and pick up 5-10 picture books on a subject, holiday, etc.  Then pop some popcorn and have a “reading marathon.”  My kids love these!

7.  Craft Projects:  Find several ideas in the Your Creative Side Forum or Pinterest.  It’s a great time to teach your kids a new skill while working on fine motor.  Knitting, crocheting, sewing, and scrapbooking are all great options.

8.  Puzzles:  Jigsaw puzzles are fun for a wide range of ages.  Place the puzzle on a large board you can slide under the sofa when you’re not working on it.

9.  Family Yoga:  Find child-friendly yoga or fitness DVDs at your local library and stretch together as a family.  Have a Netflix membership or Amazon Prime?  There are several streaming options.

10.  Video Sports:  Play virtual sports like bowling, skiing or baseball on your Wii, Xbox or other game system.

11.  Lego Party:  Spread a large sheet on the floor.  Spread the Legos out on the sheet, and dump them back in the container when you’re done.  Want to get really creative?  Check out these fun Lego Party Ideasfrugal family fun lego night.

12.  Photo Albums:  Sort through old family photos and create albums and scrapbooks with your kids.

13.  Questionnaires: Have everyone fill out a questionnaire about themselves and then try to guess everyone’s answers.

14.  Family Karaoke:  All you need is an iPod with a good playlist or a cd player.  Don’t forget the fake microphone for the performer!

15.  Box Fort:  Save any large leftover boxes that come into your possession when you get a new TV or appliance (break them down for easy storage).   Pull them out so the kids can create a “box fort.”  You can stack them, duct-tape them together and have the kids decorate them.

16.  Dance Party:  Put together a great playlist of songs old and new.  Teach your kids “The Chicken Dance” and “The Robot.”

17.  Indoor Camping:  Set up an actual camping tent in your living room, family room or basement.  If you happen to have a fireplace, awesome!  You can grill hot dogs or roast marshmallows.  If not, make S’mores Bars in the oven.  Plus, kids love sleepovers in a tent!

18.  Write a Story:  Start telling the kids a story and then stop and let each one take turns continuing the story.  This could get really funny, really fast!

Family Frugal Fun: Outdoors (Cold Weather) 

19.  Leaf Raking:  Create a huge jumping pile out of leaves.

20.  Fall Nature Walk:  Fall is a great time to take a nature walk and collect leaves, pinecones, and other colorful items.  Use them to make a Fall Centerpiece or Preserve Fall Leaves for decoration.

21.  Playing in the Snow:  Snowball fights, snow angels, snow men, and forts are always fun in the winter.  View our readers’ ideas for Snow Day Activities and Subzero Funfrugal family fun outdoors.

22.  Sledding:  Who doesn’t love sledding?  The hill can be in your yard or at a local sledding spot.

23.  Ice Globes:  Fill a balloon with water and food coloring and then put it outside in the freezing temperatures overnight.  Then cut/pop the balloon.

24.  Snow Paint:  Create snow paint with food coloring and a spray bottle.

25.  Snow Ice Cream: Making  Snow Ice Cream in a Bag is so easy and yummy!

Family Frugal Fun: Outdoors (Warm Weather)

26.  Ride Bikes:  Biking was mentioned as one of our forum members’ Top Free Fun Family Activities.  Even if kids aren’t old enough, you can take them along in a pull-behind bike trailer.

27.  Yard Games:  Purchase fun family games like Ladder Ball, Badminton, Croquet or Bocce Ball for under $30.  A small investment yields hours of family fun.

28.  Kite Flying:  Don’t forget — Cheap plastic kites can be found at The Dollar Store or Five and Below.

29.  Gardening:  Look for child-sized gardening gloves and tools on clearance at Target at the end of the summer.  Old kids can actually help while the younger kids just dig around.  Kids of all ages enjoy watching flowers, veggies, and herbs grow.

frugal family fun 30.  Water Gun Fight:  Buy Super Soakers at the end of the summer when they are on clearance and declare war!

31.  Water Obstacle Course:  Set up a course with sprinklers, baby pools, slides, and hula hoops.  Take turns running through it.  View more Ideas for a Backyard Obstacle Course.

32.  Ultimate Frisbee:  Ultimate Frisbee is mix between frisbee and football.  Divide into teams and try to make it over the other team’s line without the frisbee touching the ground.

33.  Flashlight Tag:  Adults can jump in on the action with this fun childhood game.  All you need is dark clothes, a flashlight for everyone, and a safe place with boundaries. 

34.  Fire Pit:  Check your local area for the laws of starting a fire.  If you can’t have one in your own backyard, some parks have fire pits.

35.  Star Gazing:  Lay some blankets out, grab some snacks and check out the stars.  Also, check the paper for meteor showers.  Your kids will love that!

36.  Garage Sale:  It’s a great time to unload extra stuff and teach your kids about money.  It’s also a great time to open a savings account.

37.  Balloon Volleyball:  You can play balloon volleyball by bouncing a balloon over a balloon over a clothes line or badminton net.  Don’t let the balloon touch the ground!

38.  Sidewalk Chalk:  Draw a huge mural as a family on your driveway, sidewalk, or carport.

Family Frugal Fun: Going Places

39.  FREE Local Events: Look up free local events and festivals in your community’s newspaper or online.

40.  Go on a Frugal Day Trip:  You don’t have to leave your town to experience a ‘vacation’.  There are lots of fun, frugal ideas in your own community or nearby.  View our creative Frugal Staycation and Day Trip Ideas.

41.  Bowling:  AMF Lanes often offer free bowling for families during the summer months.

42.  Ice or Roller Skating:  Look for gently used ice skates at thrift stores or used sporting goods stores.  Roller skating rinks are also still an option in larger cities.  Be sure to check them out!

43.  Museums:  Many history, art and science museums have one free day each month.  Do you research to find out if your local museums offer this, and when it is.

44.  Movies:  AMC and Regal host a FREE summer movie program.  See previously released family movies for free on select weekday mornings.  “Dollar Theaters” are still around and you can see recently released movies for $2-$3.

45.  Local Library:  Libraries are great sources for entertainment.  They often offer free programs and classes for adults, children, and families.

Family Frugal Fun - Berry PIcking46.  Fruit Picking:  Find a u-pick farm that offers berry picking.

47.  Fishing:  If you don’t have your own gear, local fishing spots may rent fishing rods.  You just buy the hooks and b.

48.  Swimming:  Either in your own pool, someone elses, or at a local creek or river (or the beach if you are lucky!).

49.  Miniature Golf:  Go to a miniature golf course or create one in your own back yard.

50.  Batting Cages

51.  Sports:  Local schools’ and universities’ tennis courts are open for public use.  Parks often have them as well.  Basketball courts and baseball fields are sometimes available to use for free.

52.  Visit a Farm:  Find out what local farms welcome visitors.  Some of them may offer “petting zoos.”

Family Frugal Fun: Service (Teach Kids to Give Back)

53.  Nursing Home:  Go ask to visit those who don’t get visitors.  We did this every Christmas growing up.  We took wrapped ornaments and sang carols.  Everyone loves to just watch the little ones and babies.

54.  Local Food Bank:  Call your local shops and ask about service opportunities.

55.  Soup Kitchen:  Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen.

56.  “Adopt at Family”:  At Christmas, pick out the names of a family or children to donate toys, clothing, shoes and necessities.  You can find names at churches, stores, restaurants, and more.  We found some names at our local bank.

57.  Humane Society:  Find out the needs of your local animal shelters.  Often, families can volunteer to walk dogs or clean out cat cages.

58.  Special Olympics:  The Special Olympics can always use volunteers.  Everyone gets a hug at the end of their competition so “Huggers” are needed.  View more on Volunteer Opportunities

59.  Create “Blessings Bags” for the Homeless:  Put essentials in Ziploc bags and drop them off at a local shelter.  This can also be a great way to get the entire extended family together.

60.  Fundraiser Walks and 5K Runs:  Check your local area for annually scheduled charity walks for March of Dimes and other charitable organizations.

 More Family Frugal Fun Ideas

61.  Camera Fun:  If you have a digital point and shoot camera, let your kids take pictures wherever you are.  You can print them out or put them into a photo book from Shutterfly.  They often offer FREE photo books where you only pay for shipping.  Just keep your eyes open for coupon codes online as well as printed on your Target receipt.

62.  Scavenger Hunt:  Tailor-make your own scavenger hunt to fit the ages and interests of your own kids.  They can be at home, at a park, or around the entire town.  View our Vacation Scavenger Hunt Ideas for inspiration or Mall Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Teens.

frugal family fun geocaching63.  Geocaching: Geocaching is a world-wide scavenger hunt that can be done through an App.  Get the information HERE.

64. Picnics:  These can be as simple as taking your dinner outside and eating on a blanket.  This can also be done indoors as well during the cold months.

65.  Hopscotch:  This can be done indoors or outdoors with masking tape (sidewalk chalk for outdoors).

66.  Family Gratitude Journal:  Buy an inexpensive notebook or journal.  Get together as a family and ask the kids about their best memories for the week and record them in your journal.  You can also ask them what they are thankful for and write down all of these things to keep for later.  View the 5 Things:  An Easy Gratitude Journal idea

67.  Create a Bucket List:  This can be done as a family.  Do it by month or by season.  It gives you a good chance to find out what interests your children have.  It also helps you budget and plan.

Here are more Family Frugal Fun ideas.  You can also share your family activities as well.


  1. says

    Its really hard to come up with a list of backyard games and activities which are affordable, interesting and challenging.
    I think you have just about got it all covered. From activities for the little ones right through to family outings and community participation.
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and I’ll have to update my “app” skills to get “geo coaching!”

  2. says

    Don’t always have to be trips to theme parks or even cost an arm and a leg. Family outings can be as simple as going for a good walk along a scenic route or a trip to the beach. Getting out of the house will be a breath of fresh air, literally! And on top of that it will give everyone a bit of exercise. So everyone is a winner.

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