Top 25 unmissable budget activities for kids

published August 11, 2023
group of children doing activities

Looking for budget-friendly kids' activities this summer? Look no further!

In this guide, you’ll see a range of kids’ activity ideas. All of them will be free or affordable to help you save some cash. From sports, art, STEM or food, plus many more, you won’t be short of ideas.

Read on to see:

  • Indoor activities for kids
  • Outdoor activities for kids
  • Art activities for kids
  • Creative activities for kids
  • STEM activities for kids
  • Sustainability activities for kids
  • Activities for kids at home
  • Other activities for kids

Indoor activities for kids

  1. Host a board game night with family

Board games are a great way to entertain the kids for hours. Forget the classics; there’s a huge choice of exciting options. Check out Board Gamer Anonymous' Top 100 Games of All Time to find a new favourite.

  1. Play video games that need critical thinking and problem-solving skills

Video games are a great way for your kids to build a range of skills. From classics like Civilization to modern favourites like Stellaris, video games offer hours of entertainment and help build skills. From planning to anticipating their opponents to adapting every second, video games offer more than expected.

  1. Solve riddles or brain teasers

Challenge your minds and have fun with family or friends by solving riddles or brain teasers. To start with, check out Parade for over 100 riddles. Riddles are completely free and can be a great activity to help your kids think and build their problem-solving skills.


Outdoor activities for kids 

  1. Go on a family bike ride or hike in your local area

Explore nature and have some quality time with your kids by biking or hiking in a nearby park or trail. It’s a great way to entertain kids for free and get some exercise. Discover local hidden gems, enjoy some fresh air and create lasting family memories. You probably know the local spots, but if you don't, Google can always help.

  1. Play a game of frisbee in the park

Head to the park for a fun game of frisbee. It’s simple, enjoyable and completely free. Make it even more exciting by challenging each other to make impressive catches, or take it slow and enjoy your time outside.

  1. Have a themed picnic in your garden with homemade food

Hosting a themed picnic in your garden is fun, easy and memorable. Choose a fun theme, like retro or carnival. Prepare picnic staples like a cheeseboard box or dishes based on your theme. Bust out the blankets or picnic tables to complete your setup.

  1. Play a game of backyard football or cricket in your garden

Enjoy the fresh air and some friendly competition by kicking a football or playing some cricket in your garden. It's a great way to keep your kids active while socialising with neighbourhood friends. All you need to do is set up makeshift goals and let the game begin.


Art activities for kids

  1. Experiment with different painting techniques, like watercolours or finger painting

Encourage your kids to test out various painting techniques, like watercolour or finger painting. Painting is a budget-friendly way for your kids to express their creativity. All you need is a canvas or some paper, some paint and brushes for watercolours. So, grab your art supplies or use your fingers and let your kid’s creativity flow.

  1. Have a DIY craft day using recycled materials to create unique artwork

Another way to let your kids’ creativity flow is by turning everyday items into art pieces. Get materials like cardboard, bottles, newspapers, and bottle caps. Provide them with glue, scissors, and paint, then let them create whatever they want. Not only is it affordable, but it’s also a sustainable activity that teaches the value of recycling.

  1. Paint rocks you find outdoors and turn them into colourful decorations

Turn rocks you find on your daily adventures into vibrant decorations by painting them. It's a lot of fun and very cheap. Bust out some paint and paintbrushes and let your kids paint away. Once painted, let your kids show off their work or share them as gifts.


Creative activities for kids

  1. Cook a creative dish using budget-friendly ingredients

Cooking a creative dish can teach your kids about the world and help them enjoy something tasty. Choose something everyone wants to try and find a recipe to fit your budget. For dish ideas, A Taste of Home has a great list. Whether it's a juicy burger, some fresh seafood or a hearty soup, each dish can be reimagined to fit any taste.

  1. Build a card tower

You can entertain kids for hours with just a deck of cards. Building a card tower will need some creative solutions and adaptation as your kids build. If you want to entertain more than one kid, get them to work together or let them compete to see who can build the best tower. Encourage them along the way and let them experiment with ways to build.

  1. Bake cookies or cupcakes and let the kids decorate

All you need to bake are some kitchen staples like flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Check out sites like Sally's Baking Addiction for family-friendly recipes. Once you’ve made your treats, let the kids decorate them with chocolate chips, nuts, icing or sprinkles. Your child might focus on colours, or they might try to draw their favourite TV character. Whatever they do, they’ll have a blast decorating their treats.


STEM activities for kids

  1. Explore the night sky by stargazing and identifying constellations

Stargazing is a great way to introduce kids to science. Find a quiet spot away from bright lights, take out your favourite blanket and stare up at the twinkling stars. With a star chart or an app, see famous constellations like Orion, Ursa Major, or Cassiopeia. You can also learn the stories behind the formations and spark curiosity about what’s out there.

  1. Run simple science experiments using staple kitchen ingredients

Let your kids become scientists with easy experiments using everyday kitchen items. One basic experiment you can run is making a volcano out of Coke and Mentos. For more ideas, Science Spark has loads of easy and cheap experiments. Whatever you choose, they’ll have a lot of fun and learn along the way.

  1. Build structures using toothpicks, marshmallows or ice cream sticks

There are an endless number of designs you can make with toothpicks, marshmallows, or ice cream sticks. Connect toothpicks with marshmallows to create joints, or use popsicle sticks to build a foundation. But there is no right or wrong way to build, only what your child can imagine. The building encourages problem-solving, spatial awareness, and fine motor skills. Set up challenges, like building the tallest structure or testing how much weight each structure can hold.


Sustainability activities for kids

  1. Create sustainable collages using magazines, newspapers and glue

Be sustainable and turn old magazines and newspapers into collages. Cut out bright images and text, then arrange them into new artworks. Collages are eco-friendly and allow your kids to express themes and tell stories using recycled materials.

  1. Watch documentaries or online videos about sustainability

Let your kids learn about environmentalism with documentaries. Find an environmentally focused documentary about something like fishing or the rainforests. Watch it as a family and share your thoughts afterward to foster meaningful conversations. It promotes environmental understanding and lets you spend time with your kids. Grab your favourite snacks, sit back and enjoy learning about sustainability. 

  1. Design and decorate your old T-shirts

Upcycling has become very popular, so now is a great time to hop on the trend. You probably have some old clothes lying around, so why not use them for a fun activity? Take those clothes out of the closet and let your kids' creativity shine as they draw and paint new designs. You’ll breathe new life into something you don’t use.


Activities for kids at home

  1. Have a "make-your-own-pizza" night using affordable toppings and pre-made pizza dough

A make-your-own pizza night with affordable toppings and pre-made dough will get the whole family excited. Most supermarkets sell pre-made dough, sauces and any toppings you want. Set up a pizza-making station inside and let everyone create their own pizza. From classic pepperoni to a loaded veggie or even a vegan pizza, your kids will have loads of fun making their food.

  1. Set up an at-home scavenger hunt with clues and hidden treasures

If you want an engaging and budget-friendly at-home activity, consider a scavenger hunt. Create a series of clues that guide your kids from one location to the next, ending with a hidden treasure. Be creative with your hiding places, using both inside and outside spaces.

  1. Create your own escape room game at home

Design a set of clues and puzzles for your kids to make an escape room. Base the clues on what you want your kids to learn. If you want your kids to improve their maths skills, give them some clues that need some calculations. If you want your kids to develop memory skills, make puzzles that focus on memory. Whatever you do, they'll build teamwork and critical thinking skills while having fun.


Other activities for kids

  1. Learn basic foreign language phrases and practice speaking them

Learning a new language is one of the best skills children can learn. Choose a language that excites you and download a language app like Duolingo. Then help each other learn simple greetings and phrases. You could even make food from your language’s country to deepen their connection with it.

  1. Build an obstacle course using random household items

Why not turn your house into an adventure zone with an indoor obstacle course? Use items like pillows and sheets to create tunnels and jumping stations. Or use whatever you have lying around. Just keep an eye on your kids so everyone can stay safe.

  1. Attend cultural festivals for a free or low-cost family activity

Cultural festivals let your kids fully experience new cultures on a budget. Festivals offer your kids a vibrant glimpse into diverse traditions, art, and music they wouldn’t normally see. You’ll see workshops, see live performances and sample delicious foods to immerse yourselves in the community's spirit. Google is a great place to find them, or you can ask friends or co-workers in the area.


Let LifePoints help you get your activities for kids going

All of these activities are great for entertaining kids on a budget. But you might need to buy a couple of items for some of them. That’s where LifePoints steps in. When you take surveys with LifePoints, you get rewarded.

For each survey you complete with LifePoints, you get points, also called LifePoints. When you have enough LifePoints, you can choose something from our list of over 10 rewards. You can get IKEA gift cards, Myer gift cards or a PayPal cash transfer, among others. PayPal is like cash, and gift cards can buy you anything you need. Whatever activity you plan, LifePoints has a reward that can help you pay for it. To find out more, check out the How It Works page.

Sign up today, or download the App, and you can get 10 complimentary points to kick-start your earnings.