Have fun with your kids for free or cheap!

Roller Skating

Roller skating is a great way to get in some exercise and fun at the same time for the entire family. Visit KidsSkateFree.com and use the zipcode search tool to find out which roller-skating rinks in your area offer free admission for children ages 12 and under. Keep in mind this doesn’t include the cost of a skate rental, if your child doesn’t have their own pair. Also, there will likely be designated days and times when kids can skate for free. Be sure to check with your local participating rink first. In winter, try ice skating.

Go to a museum

A trip to the museum is a simple way to get your kids out of the house without having to plan out a full-blown excursion. No matter if you’re in your hometown or traveling with your family, a visit to a local museum, large or small, can help inspire and expose your kids to something new.

Keep in mind that some museums have an admissions fee, while others are completely free. You’ll want to be sure to look up that information before you head out.

Story time at your library

You don’t have to look far to find free things to do with your kiddos. In fact, your local library likely hosts a variety of kid-friendly events including story time for younger children, from infants to kindergartners. In addition to reading books, there is usually time allotted for open play. This is where kids are free to roam around and play with toys provided by the library in a designated space. Call your local library to see what they offer!

Eat out at a kid friendly restaurant

There are plenty of restaurants that offer deals where kids eat free or get a deeply discounted meal with the purchase of an adult entrée . 

It’s important to note that many of these deal promotions are only good on certain days or at certain times. Be sure to check the restaurant’s website beforehand to ensure you show up with your family at the right time.

Go swimming

Take the kids to the pool at your local recreation center to splash around. Call your local hotels! We have 2 in our town that charge $5 a kid to swim as long as you want! Or they offer cheap monthly memberships! Check your local high school for a cheap or even free place to take them! Most high schools that have a pool will offer open swim times! Another idea, pack a lunch and go to the beach!  Also, theres recreation centers….they will usually charge a price to get in for child and parent, but there may be a discounted rate for local residents who are able to provide a proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. Some places you may need to be a member. Swimming is one of the cheapest, fun things you can do!

Go for a hike

If you live near a park with hiking trails or have trails in your neighborhood, load up a backpack with the essentials (water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray), grab your kids and start walking. This is another great way to sneak in some exercise while spending some quality time with your little ones.  Check out your state parks for local places to hike!

Go to the farmers market!

Your local farmer’s market is free to attend and is the perfect spot to kill some time exploring with children. You can even cross off a few items from your grocery list while you’re there. Best of all, many vendors offer free samples. There might also be live street performers — from musicians to singers to dancers — to help keep your kids entertained along the way while you walk and shop.

Go for a bike ride!

Cruise around your neighborhood or around town with the fam! Go for 10 mins, or a few hours, either way its one of my favorite things to do as a family. And the cheapest! 

To make it more fun, do some “park hopping” as we like to call in. Plan our a list of parks in your area and ride from one to the next just spending a few minutes at each one to hop of your bikes and play before hitting the pavement to the next park! Pack a picnic lunch too while you’re at it! This can be one of the best memories your kids will make spending good quality time with you! If you want to see a list of bike trails in your area…check them out below!

Go to the zoo!

Spend a day at your local zoo exploring the animal exhibits. Use the visit as an opportunity to sneak in some educational fun while you’re at it. If you have a toddler-age child, try asking him or her to name each animal they see and replicate the sound it makes. For elementary-age kids, see if they can correctly name which animal group each animal they see belongs to (i.e., mammals, amphibians, birds, etc).

Some zoos offer free admission, while others charge an admission fee for kids ages three and up, as well as adults.

Go bowling!

A great way to score a good deal on bowling is Groupon! They often put bowling deals on their site, so snag them up when they do! It will be a coupon saved in your account for a rainy day where you want to get out of the house! Oh, and did you know that your kids can score two free games of bowling every day throughout the summer months at participating bowling centers?! How cool is that!?  Once they’re registered, parents will receive a weekly e-mail containing the deal coupons that can be redeemed at your local bowling center. Click below to find out which bowling centers near you participate in the awesome program.

Take an Arts and Craft Class at Michaels

Michaels craft stores offer a variety of kid-friendly classes (for ages three and up) — from making a handheld lemonade stand with popsicle sticks to cookie decorating — for just $3. They offer morning or afternoon sessions that last for two hours, and your kid gets to walk away with their own creation to hang up at home or eat. 

Go to the park!

Don’t underestimate the fun factor of your neighborhood park. We came up with “park hopping.” This is where we drive to a park, stay 10 minutes, then jump in the car and go to a different one! You can hit up 6 parks in an hour! So fun! Or you could try venturing to a new playground (within a reasonable walking or driving distance) near you every week. Just bring along packed lunches for you and your kids to enjoy after they’re done exploring. It’s an easy way to get your kids active, and it’s much cheaper than going to an indoor playground center.