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  • Writer's picture Mona Symone

50 Cheap Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy (And Happy!)

Updated: Mar 20

Parenting is always stressful, and an even more stressful endeavor is coming up with cheap activities to keep your kids entertained.

It's only a matter of time before kids start getting on your nerves. If you spot your kids throwing tantrums over every little thing, fighting with siblings unnecessarily, or getting hungry every few minutes, know that every child does this, and so many parents can relate to the same thing!

While this time will pass as they grow, keeping your child entertained can be simple (well, with a little help from us). If your kids are getting unusually annoying, it may be because they’re bored, or just want your attention (cherish this part of the journey). Besides watching cartoons, eating all day, and aggravating the family when they’re not, there are tons of interesting activities to keep them busy!

Reasons to do activities with children

Kids need activities all year. Activities and games are important especially if their usual routine is disrupted while they're indoors. If staying home is the only solution to keeping the bankbook safe, kids can still be kept busy with our top-friendly activities. Here are some reasons why your kids need activities:

It controls their unusual eating habits

When you're bored, you eat, and when you eat all day, you soon turn into a couch potato. It's the same for kids. If you find your family eating more than they usually do, take action now before it's too late. Give them loads of activities to keep them busy, so they aren't hungry all day. Meal prep, store healthy snacks like fruits and salads at home so that when they're eating, they're eating healthy.

It keeps them healthy

Don’t let your kids lie around all day and fight over the TV remote. Everyone needs to keep their muscles moving, especially the kids. While their body is still developing, they need physical activities to maintain healthy growth. Find outdoor activities for kids to put their muscles and bones into action. 

Restores peace at home

Not only is a healthy body important, but so is a healthy mind. If the whole family is to be locked indoors for months, it's not going to be pretty if everyone is fighting over every little thing. They have to find a way to keep their minds busy, so they're not at each other's throats all the time. Not only will activities train your kids on how to coexist in harmony but it will also improve their mental health state. 

Keeps you from stress

Keeping yourself busy with the kids will help you take your mind off the bigger problems in your life for a bit. Don't forget to make sure your sanity is kept intact. Check out our Top 50 Activities Parents Can Do to Relieve Stress and Anxiety.

For all these reasons and more, cheap activities are a must! Lucky for you, you have landed on the right spot; you’ll find tons for your kids to do!

Make Your Own Ice Cream

There isn’t a better way to beat the heat than a scoop (or two) of your favorite ice cream flavor. Here’s an easy ice cream recipe that your kids will love making with you. To this basic vanilla ice cream, include your kid’s favorite flavor for a signature touch. 

Go Camping in the Backyard

Can’t go out camping? Why not camp out in your own backyard? Plan some outdoor activities for kids that they love while camping; singing, storytelling, and BBQ will all add fun to your backyard camping.  

Do an At-Home Science Experiment

Science experiments are always a big hit for kids of all ages. You’ll find a bunch of science experiments here to keep your kids entertained while they learn plenty of useful lessons. On the plus side, most of the things involved are easily available at home.

Make Play-dough

You don’t have to go outdoors to get more toys for your kids. Check out this guide to make cool homemade playdough. It's really simple to make, and you can make it in different colors to last for months.  

Build a Tent Inside

Rearrange a couple of couches and place sheets over them to build a tent. Your kids will love playing games and eating meals inside their fort. Play games with kids in their tent; they'll love having you in there. 

Paint Rocks

Looking for some fun craft activities for kids? Grab a couple of smooth, round rocks from your backyard. Enjoy painting on them with your kids. You can paint funny faces or designs on the rocks and then use them as paperweights!

Grow Your Own Plants

Here’s another one of the activities for kids outside. Take this stay-at-home time as an opportunity to teach your kids how to grow plants. You can plant flowers or vegetables with your kids in a pot or garden bed. Remind them to water the plants every day and watch them grow!

Create an Obstacle Course

Set up an obstacle course for kids. You can use chalk to write numbers, give directions, and point out the start and finish line in your driveway or backyard. Indoor obstacle courses with games for the kids with cushions, pillows, and buckets are also quite fun. 

Play Hide-and-Seek

Hide-and-seek is among the all-time favorite kid’s games. Play it around the house with your kids, hiding behind furniture, curtains, inside a room, or any place that’s not too dangerous for the kids. 

Do a Car Wash

Have a toy carwash, giving your kid’s favorite car a good wash in the backyard. Better yet, you can even have a real carwash! Your kids will love spending the afternoon helping you wash your car with a spray bottle and sponge. 

Make Lemonade

Make lemonade with kids every once in a while. Try out this simple recipe and have your kids help you out in the process. Better yet, set up a lemonade stand in your garden; the kids can pour it out and serve it to the family.  

FaceTime with Friends

FaceTime is another one of the things to do for kids near me. Your kids must miss their friends from school and the neighborhood. Contact their moms and arrange a FaceTime hangout. Kids will love talking with their friends, watching their routines, and sharing their own.

Stargaze in the Garden

Spread out a few sheets in the garden and lie back with your kids to gaze upon the stars. Recognize and locate constellations such as the Orion’s Belt and tell your kids about them.

Make Wind Chimes

Kids- creative activities at home are a huge favorite for the entire family. Here are some beautiful wind chimes that you can make with them using recycled material and stuff that's easily available at home.  

Enjoy Cardboard Box Fun

Make something epic out of a cardboard box. Here are a bunch of exciting ideas you can try out with your kids. They're easy to make, won't require anything that's not already available at home, and have lots of fun for the kids.  

Binge on Kid Movies 

Let them stay up late once a week watching kid's movies. You can make popcorn for them, dim the lighting, and set up a cinema atmosphere to make it even more fun. There are a bunch of movies for kids to choose from, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, Harry Potter, and more. Check out special bundle deals from Hulu, Disney Plus, and Netflix. If you already have Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Video has free movies on their platform! 

Make a Backyard Water Park 

The summer season calls for water activities. Going to a waterpark isn’t an option at the moment, so why not turn your backyard into one? A kiddy swimming pool and a slide will do the trick. Just set them up together and watch your kids slide and splash into the pool for hours. 

Act Out a Play

Choose an interesting topic and write out a play on it with your kids. Make sure there are enough characters for everyone to have a part. Dad and older kids can sit in the audience and clap. Have the kids act it out in front of the family and grab some appreciation. 

Prank Someone

A little joke is okay once in a while, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Activities for kids this weekend can be to plan and prank a member of the family but make sure the kids discuss and approve it from the parents if they have mischief in mind. 

Play Card Games

Card games are the most entertaining games that are for free. Teach them how to play one of these kid’s games: crazy eights, spoons, and even poker. Once they start playing, they can spend hours without bothering you. 

Do Origami Fun

Learn origami with your kids and create cool animals and shapes out of colored paper. They can present their crafts to other family members as gifts. Once you've helped them out the first couple of times, they start doing it on their own. 

Enjoy Lego Fun

Clear a corner and begin a huge Lego project. The entire family can start working on it together. These fun Lego games with kids will keep them busy all through the summer. 

Do Home a Home Improve Project

Find a home project to complete and find tasks that your kids can help you out with. Organizing the cupboard, or redecorating the kid’s room can be fun to do with your kids. 

Prep for the New School Year

Don’t forget to work on a little math and reading! Make a summer plan and make sure they do a little bit every day till it’s out of the way. It may not be super fun, but your kids will be happy once it’s all done and over with. 

Keep a Journal

Encourage older kids to write in a journal every day. They can write in bullets to make things easier. Let them jot down their day-to-day activities and their thoughts in the diary, and they can share it with friends.

Enjoy an Exciting Bedtime Story

Have storytime before bed every night. You can read a chapter out loud every night and complete the entire book together. It will be a nice family time and get your kids into the habit of reading.

Explore Family History

If you’re looking for summer activities for kids near me, here’s a great one. Interview an older family member over the phone or FaceTime, like your grandparents. Learn about your family history and write it down. 

Press Flowers

Press summer flowers from your garden and create a beautiful frame. Here you’ll find some really easy guidelines on how to press flowers and ideas on how you can put them to use once they’re ready. 

Have Fun with Clay

Have fun making cool creations with clay, like dinosaurs, toys, or simple shapes. Once your child creates something amazing, you can bake it, so that's it's permanent and set it on a side table as a decoration.

Have Fun with Water Guns

There are tons of fun activities outdoors. You can plan games with water squirt guns. Hang air balloons labeled with points from tree branches. The higher balloons can have higher points. Let the kids take turns hitting the balloons and see who wins.

Customize Pizzas

Depending on how old your kids are, help them out or let them create their own customized pizzas. Let them include their favorite ingredients, mushrooms, cheese, and vegetables. Bake them and enjoy a pizza party together.

Decorate the Bike

Give the kids a bunch of art supplies like crepe paper and balloons to decorate their bikes. Your kids will love what they create, especially if you back them with a little appreciation. Peddling around the backyard will be more fun after the bike’s makeover. 

Enjoy Alphabet Games

Games for free can be educational as well. Play alphabets for kids games with your little ones in the yard or around the house. Have them find stuff that starts with the letter a, b, and so on. For example, they could point out to the apple tree for the letter a, and to a bird for the letter b.

Get Crazy with Frosting

Once you’ve baked some cupcakes, set the tray out in front of your kids, together with frosting, sprinkles, chocolate shavings, and candies. Let them be creative and decorate the cupcakes as they will. 

Do a Cooking Challenge

Give your kid/s a cooking competition. Choose three to 4 ingredients and let them create or use a recipe that includes all of the ingredients you have picked. They enjoy homecooked food even more if they have a part in making it. 

Make Homemade Slime

No need to look for things near me to do when you have so much to do right at home. Kids love slime! All you need is glue, borax, and some food coloring, and you'll have it ready in no time. If kept in a ziplock bag, it can be used for over two to three weeks.

Do a Laundry Day for Dolls

Give their doll’s wardrobe a wash. Set up a doll’s laundry line in the yard. Once all of the doll’s dresses are washed and in the washer or bucket, hang them out on the laundry line to dry. Your girls will love dressing up their dolls in clean, nice-smelling clothes. 

Paint the Driveway

Let them paint the driveway floor, making cool patterns, shapes, and cartoon characters, if they're old enough. Just give them paint and water, and see how it will keep them busy the entire day!

Pet a Caterpillar

Find a caterpillar in your yard and store it in a jar or a box. Watch how it transforms and turns into a beautiful butterfly. Let it fly back into nature once it’s ready. 

Do Dress-up Day

Let the kids pick their outfits and walk down a ramp; it can be a fashion show! They can mix and match and come up with something crazy and fun to wear! Take pictures and make a collection you can laugh over later. 

Do a Toy Wash

Wash all the toys at least once a week. Not only is it a fun activity that the kids will enjoy in the summers, but it will also keep their stuff sanitized and free of germs. Wash them thoroughly with soap and water, ideally also include a little antiseptic to kill the germs. 

Enjoy Styrofoam Construction

Gear up your little ones with their builder hat, toy hammer, and saw, and let them build something interesting out of styrofoam. They use a ruler to make straight lines and cut the structure using a toy knife or saw. 

Do Outdoor Scavenger Hunts

Your kids must be missing places for children that they used to enjoy with friends. To make up for the loss, hold an outdoor scavenger hunt. Make a list with a couple of items that they have to find and collect from the yard before they can have a prize. 

Grill S’mores

If you have a grill, you can hold a campfire out in the yard and cook up something that the kids will love. S’mores and campfire popcorn are easy to cook and loads of fun for children. In the meantime, adults can feast on some freshly grilled steaks. 

Bake Cookies

Once you’ve got your cookie dough ready, let the kids help you out in cutting out all sorts of different shapes of cookies. Try making alphabets, shapes, and smiley faces. Kids will be thrilled to help you out in the making and will love eating what they create. 

Have Fun with Shaving Cream Clouds

It’s one of the simplest activities to set up and lots of fun for the kids! All you need is a bottle of shaving cream, a paintbrush, and a mirror, and let the kids handle the rest; they’ll know what to do! Follow this guide if you want some help getting started. 

Enjoy Virtual Storytime from Celebrities

Libraries are closed, but you can still enjoy virtual storytime with your kids. Keep track of the timings and dates and make sure your young children attend these to enjoy storytelling with friends. 

Look Through Old photos

Take out old photos, those from last summer maybe, and enjoy a good laugh with the family. You can also use this time to make a scrapbook, cataloging the pictures, so it's easier to know when they were taken and the backstory.

Fly a Kite

It’s summer! Don’t forget to fly a kite! If you can’t go outdoors to buy one, order it online. Better yet, make it at home and enjoy flying your homemade kite in the backyard with the rest of the family. 

Create a Summer Bucket List

Have each family member prepare a short summer bucket list, with all the activities they wish to do this summer. Mark a calendar and make sure all the activities from the lists are included. Hang the calendar someplace where everyone will see it and make sure all the markers are achieved.


Want a hassle-free summer bucket list where you and your kids cross out activities as you enjoy something new every day? No need to bother making one; we’ve got you covered. Make wind chimes, do a car wash, or simply unwind by stargazing in the garden. And that’s just the start - we’ve got lots more! Don’t forget to download your copy of FREE Printable Activity List, enjoy the activities, and check them off as you go.



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