10 Affordable Activities for You and Your Kids

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You want to spend time with your kids, but spending a bunch of money is not the way to go. When you’re at home with the kids, it might seem like days are dragging on without any activities to turn to. Still, you can enjoy yourselves while on a budget. Here are some affordable ideas to keep the kids occupied and make memories they’ll never forget with their family.

1. Head to a Mall

While you may only be able to get a little shopping done at a mall, you can still visit the area and walk around. Sometimes, malls have special areas just for kids, so your children can explore somewhere new. Otherwise, it’s a good way to get their energy out by walking. You might even choose to go into some affordable stores and have your kids pick something out. They might be delighted by the small trip!

2. Go on a Virtual Tour

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, more locations have been opening themselves up for virtual tours. With these tours, you and your children might be able to see places you’re not able to go, including things that are outside of your country! Virtual tours can pique the interest of children, and they may give you some travel ideas for the future. For example, if your kids really like a tour of a zoo a few states away, your family can plan to take a trip to that zoo when it’s financially feasible.

3. Visit a Pool

Knowing how to swim can save your child’s life. Teaching your child to swim from a young age can help them get back to an edge or a surface when they may not be able to tread water otherwise. Whether you go through swim lessons or independent learning, your child should know how to save themselves in water. One of the best ways to practice their swimming skills is to take them to a pool. Whether you have a membership somewhere or go to a public pool, your child will enjoy splashing around while subconsciously honing their skills.

4. Walk in the Park

The park is a great place to go when the weather permits. Different parks may offer different things, so be sure to look into what your local park provides. Many have walking trails, which could be good to walk your dog on while showing your kids the allure of nature. Spending time in nature can lower stress and boost your immune system, so going to the park means your kids can reap these awesome benefits. Make sure all of you wear sunscreen, and you’ll get the benefits of a dose of sunshine without the harmful UV rays.

5. Go to a Playground

Playgrounds are great ways for kids to build their social skills or learn how to occupy themselves independently. Even better, you shouldn’t have to pay to access a playground. Going to a playground is a great way to have your child meet people from different backgrounds and family dynamics, too. 

Associative play can help kids learn social skills by playing around other kids but not necessarily with them. Children graduate into cooperative play once they have the skills to carry on a conversation and communicate with their peers. Playgrounds could be a great way to help your children build those skills without paying an entry fee.

6. Play Video Games

Several video games these days are geared toward kids of all ages and are easy to learn. Consider finding some games for a console that’s easy to understand, like the Nintendo Switch. With a bit of digging, you’ll find age-appropriate games for your kids. Older kids can play cooperative games alongside their parents, like Mario Kart or Mario Party. Help your kids hone their hand-eye coordination by giving them fun games to play.

7. Learn From a Museum

One of the most educational places you can go is also one of the most fun. Museums promote active learning and encourage visitors to come up with questions and search for the answers themselves. You may have some local museums in your town you didn’t even know about. The best part is that museum tickets are typically affordable, and the beautiful displays and intricate written information can keep you and your kids busy for hours.

8. Host a Home Movie Night

Is there a movie your kids have been begging to watch with you? On a clear night, you can create your own DIY movie theater screen outside by using a white sheet and a clothesline. From there, if you have a projector, you can use it to play one of your kids’ favorite movies — and you can all enjoy a movie night under the stars.

If you don’t have the materials to make a DIY movie theater in your backyard, don’t fret. Your kids will be just as happy to watch the movie indoors with you! Make sure to set aside plenty of snacks that both you and your kids will enjoy. Snacking is essential to movie-watching, as any child will tell you.

9. Work in a Garden

Nothing is more satisfying than knowing you’ve created something with your own hands. When the weather is nice, you can take your kids outside and work on a small garden. Whether you decide to plant flowers or grow vegetables for your kitchen table, your kids will have a great time getting their hands messy and digging in the dirt. You can give them a simple task like pulling weeds if you want to handle the more meticulous planting yourself. In the end, you’ll all have something to enjoy.

10. Have a Craft Day

When all else fails, staying at home might be the most fun you’ll have with your kids. Find all the crafting supplies you have in your home — or go out and buy some of the more affordable options — and let them have fun. If they’re older, you can guide them on how to make a certain thing. Younger kids might just want to use all the materials they can to make something beautiful to them.

Stay Within Budget and Have Fun

You don’t need to blow your budget to give your kids a way to make memories. You can find plenty of affordable or no-cost options near you — it just takes a little bit of research. Learn what’s in your area and what your options are. While staying at home might be fun on some days, choosing to go out and do something can help break up some of the activities at home. Whatever you do and wherever you go, you’re bound to have fun.