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101 Free Things To Do With Kids That Will Keep Them Busy, Not Bored

If summer vacation is looming ahead of you and you are dreading hearing “I’m bored” from your kids, be prepared with this list of over 101 free things to do with kids that don’t involve any screen time.

All of these ideas are completely free (or very cheap) and most use ingredients and objects you probably already have at home.


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While a lot of the activities lend themselves more to the warmer weather, there are plenty of indoor ideas too for those dreaded snow days.

RELATED: The Ultimate Spring Bucket List For Kids 

 101 Free Things To Do With Kids All Year Long

1.Make an obstacle course in the backyard

Set up an obstacle course in the yard using anything you can find around – jump over branches, toss a ball and crawl through a play tunnel.

2. Visit IKEA Småland

Smaland is a free play area for kids while parents shop. If you join the Ikea Family program, you can get up to 90 minutes free play time a day. I really like it because it is clean, supervised and they offer fun crafts such as Easter egg decorating as well as toys and the ball pit.

3. Roast marshmallows

4. Have a dance party

5. Go bowling for free

Did you know that kids in the US and Canada can have 2 free games for bowling for FREE all year long?

See all the details at 

6. Bake a cake and decorate it

7. Church play groups

Even if you aren’t a member, many churches have great parent and child playgroups where you can make friends, do crafts and discover new toys.

8. Learn to juggle

9. Check Out The Library

My local library branch hosts storytimes, craft days and special events on holidays. They also have a pretty fun kid’s section with a play house.

10. Create a scrapbook or story book

11.Play card games

12. Check out free community events

Many communities have events such as fire station open houses or Touch a Truck events that are free and awesome for young children.

13. Go for a nature walk

Make it even more fun with a nature scavenger hunt like this one from Edventures with kids.

RELATED: 19 Frugal Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer

14. Make a kite and fly it

Grab some string, a garbage bag and some dowels and away you go!

15. Outdoor playgrounds

The great thing about warm weather? You know those expensive indoor soft play places you go to in the winter months? Well, in the summer they are free! It’s called a park. : ))

16. Head to the beach or lake

There is no better free activity for kids than a day exploring the shore, hunting for shells and sea glass.

17. Pitch a tent in the backyard

18. Do yoga

19. Go on a neighbourhood scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are an awesome way to make a walk around the neighborhood more interesting. You can do one at anytime of year but they are especially fun in the holidays.

Here is a free printable Halloween Scavenger Hunt for Kids and a  Christmas version. 

Halloween Scavenger hunt for kids. If you are looking for Halloween ideas for kids to do, this is a great Halloween activity for kids! Find out what you need and download our free printable Halloween treasure hunt. Get the kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes and go on a Halloween stroll. This is a great Hallowee activity for daycares and scout groups

20. Home Depot free workshops

If you have a Home Depot store near you, check out their awesome free workshops. Kids can learn basic woodworking skills while they make birdhouses and other fun stuff.

21. Picnic under the stars

Grab a blanket, a flashlight and some dinner and have do some star spotting!

22. Free museum days

Many cities and towns offer free museum days year round. If not, you can often get in for free or very cheap by going an hour or two before closing.

23. Play dress up and put on a show

24. Play with sidewalk chalk

25. Splash pads and pools

Community pools and splash pads are a great way to beat the heat on a budget!

26. Michaels Craft Days

Michaels craft stores often hold different events in their party rooms. Registration in advance is sometimes necessary.

27. Outdoor exercise classes

Look for outdoor yoga classes and other activities that the whole family can participate in and get fit at the same time.

28. Have a water fight in the backyard

Grab some buckets, a hose and your bathing suits!

29. Cheap movie mornings

Look out for free or cheap movie deals if you are prepared to go first thing in the morning or on a week day. You can also see some older movies at independent theatres for a fraction of the cost of the big screens.

30. Pick a bouquet of flowers for the house

31. Bake a pie

free activities for kids

32. Wash the outdoor toys

33. Make popsicles

Experiment with different flavors and textures. Fruit is a great add-in.

34. Free concert series

Many towns and cities have free concert series in parks over the warmer months. It’s a great opportunity to expose your children to different genres of music.

35. Wash the car

Forget the car wash, get some soap and water and get scrubbing. Older kids can even make some pocket money washing the neighbors cars too.

36. Host a lemonade stand

Another fun way to teach children about running their own business and making money.

37. Make Play dough From Scratch

Nothing beats homemade play doh and it is so easy to make.

Here are some recipes to get your started:

Easy to make Pumpkin scented playdough

Peppermint Playdough Recipe {Make in 5 Minutes}

38. Take a train to the next town over.

One of my friends does this all the time with her 4 year old. They take the train to the next town over and walk to Starbucks. her daughter thinks it’s the best thing ever.

39. Hold a yard sale

A garage sale is a fun way to get rid of your clutter and make some cash. It can be a fun way for kids to make some money to buy the new toy that they are coveting.

40. Go outdoor ice skating

If you live in a cold climate, outdoor ice skating rinks are a great way to have some free fun in the winter. If you are feeling ambitious, you can even build your own rink in the backyard.

41. Give your toy cars or dolls a bath

42. Make a sensory box

43. Check out local book readings

Many libraries and bookstores have awesome book readers and meet the author events for kids.

44. Go to the airport and watch the planes take off

I used to work at an airport and tons of families would bring their kids on the weekend just to watch the planes take off and have a free outing. It’s a great free activity you can do year round.

45. Go for a bike ride

Get some fresh air and go exploring on your bikes.

46. Local School Events

Many schools hold free events during term time that are open to the public. Look for holiday bazaars, fall fairs and open days.

47. Make your own wrapping paper

All you need is a potato and some paint and you can make some pretty paper

48. Have a pillow fight

49. Do science experiments

The easiest ones are  Magic milk or baking soda and vinegar

50. Plant a Garden

Gardening is a great skill for kids to learn. Plan some tomatoes or lettuce seeds and enjoy your harvest in a few months!

51. Play in the sprinklers

52. Try Geocaching

Geocaching is a scavenger hunt using GPS and it’s billed as the World’s largest treasure hunt. Download the free app and get hunting. You can learn more at

53. Watch an outdoor movie

If you have a projector, you can set up an outdoor movie theatre anywhere with a sheet and a laptop.

54. Build a fort indoors or out!

55. Bake cookies

56. Spring clean the house

My kids love helping me dust or mop the floors.

57. Visit the garden centre and check out all the flowers

58. Make hand print ornaments

Get my recipe and a cute gift idea here.

59. Visit grandparents or FaceTime them

60. Create a treasure Hunt

Or let your kids design their own hunt that you have to try and crack.

61. Pull out a city map, close your eyes, pin a spot and go on a adventure

Just make sure to use a local map! You never know, you might discover a cool new neighbourhood cafe!

62. Put on a puppet show

You can have even more fun making the puppets using old gloves or paper bags.

63. Get up early and have a sunrise breakfast

64. Have a board game marathon

RELATED: 25 Winter Budget-Friendly Activities for kids

65. Put on a mini Olympics

Think retro party games like egg and spoon or 3 legged races.

66. Paint rocks and make paperweights

This is a great easy gift idea for grandma too. You can seal the paint with Mod Podge Sealer

67. Paint or draw together.

68. Find flowers and press them

You can create an album for all the flowers you make or use them for #69

69. Make Handmade Cards

Save money on birthday cards by making your own. You can use pressed flowers, sequins and anything you find to make them original.

70. Make a slip and slide in the backyard

All you need is some plastic sheeting, a hose and some detergent.

71. Local festivals

Check out local festivals, the wackier, the better.

72. Do a DIY photoshoot

You can head outdoors for some fun photos or get dressed up in the house. If you want to make your own DIY holiday photos, you can save a ton of money.

73. Host a Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Grab some friends, some food and your best teddy’s and head to the park for a Teddy Bear’s picnic.

74. Play hide and seek

75. Rearrange or decorate your bedroom

76. Make your own bubble mixture

See who can make the biggest bubble. I like this recipe from

77. Learn magic tricks and put on a show

78. Build paper airplanes and race them

79. Do a neighbourhood trash clean-up

Don’t forget to take trash bags and gloves!

80.Declutter and visit the thrift store

A great way to spring clean the house and show kids the importance of donating.

81. Play ball hockey on the street

82. Get out your skipping rope

83. Set up a water table

Or do it in the sink if the weather is cold. Add bubbles, measuring cups and other household items. My kids will do this for hours.

84. Have a tea party

Make cute little sandwiches and cupcakes.

85. DIY Beauty salon

Make masks out of banana or avocado and put slices of cucumber on your eyes and relaaaax.

86. Build a robot out of old boxes

87. Give each other manis and pedis

RELATED: Family Fun Ideas You Need To Try This Fall

88. Whip out some bubble wrap

89. Get a flashlight and tell stories in the dark

90. Visit the pet store and meet all the animals

91. Write letters to family or pen pals

92. Go to the grocery or hardware store

Both my kids love this! You don’t even need to buy anything. It’s even better if the store has a fancy “car” cart for kids.

93. Do some puzzles

94. Make music

Make instruments out of household items (shakers using empty bottles and rice, drums out of pots and pans)

95. Have an ice cream social

Put toppings in bowls and design your own sundae.

96. Style each other’s hair

97. Take turns sitting for portraits or caricatures of each other

98. Make a care package for a relative or soldier overseas

99. Volunteer

Even little kids can help out at a soup kitchen or food bank.

100. Make jewelry out of pasta or frootloops

101. Visit an elderly neighbour

Take cookies or a cake and brighten their day.

Want even more free things to do with your kids?

This book of 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids is awesome. 

free things to do with kids


More free activities for kids

Family Fun Ideas You Need To Try This Fall

How To Make A Magic Leprechaun Garden

25 Winter Budget-Friendly Activities for kids

19 Frugal Things To Do With Kids This Summer

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