Top 25 unmissable budget activities for kids

published August 14, 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
  • Craft activities for kids
  • Online activities for kids
  • Learning activities for kids
  • STEM activities for kids
  • Summer activities for kids
  • Creative for kids at home
  • Physical activities for kids


Indoor activities for kids

  1. Host a board game night

Board games will entertain the kids for hours on end. Forget the ordinary games like Monopoly; there’s a world of exciting options out there. Look at Board Gamer Anonymous' Top 100 Games of All Time to find a new game to add to your collection.

  1. Make cookies or cupcakes

All you need to make some treats are some kitchen staples like flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Check out sites like Sally's Baking Addiction for recipes that any kid can make. Once you’ve made your treats, let the kids decorate them with chocolate chips, sprinkles and icing. Whatever they make, they’ll have a blast decorating their baked goods.

  1. Build a card tower

You can entertain kids for hours indoors with just a deck of cards. Building a card tower will take some patience and perseverance, so your child will build some great skills. If you have more than one child to entertain, get them to work together on one tower. Or let them compete to see who can build the tallest or fastest tower.

  1. Host a ‘build your own pizza night’ with affordable toppings and pre-made dough

A make-your-own pizza night with affordable toppings and pre-made dough gets everyone involved and excited. Most supermarkets have all the pre-made dough, sauces and toppings you need. Set up a buffet-style pizza-making station and let everyone create their own pizza. Whatever they make, your kids will have fun along the way.


Craft activities for kids

  1. Make DIY crafts using recycled materials

Another kids’ craft activity is 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 and turn them into colourful decorations

Turn rocks you find lying on the street into vibrant decorations with a coat of paint. It's a lot of fun and great when you’re on a budget. Bust out some paint and paintbrushes and let your kids paint away. Rocks are free, so they can paint as many as they want. Once painted, let your kids show off their work or use them as gifts.

  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. Try different painting techniques, like watercolours or finger painting

Encourage your kids to use different painting techniques, like finger painting or watercolours. Painting is a cheap activity for your kids to express their creativity. All you need is a blank canvas or some paper, paint and brushes for watercolours. So, grab these supplies, or use your fingers and let the creativity flow.


Online activities for kids

  1. Play online video games for free

Video games are a great way for your kids to build a range of skills, and a lot are free. If you have an internet connection, let your kids try out games like GeoGuessr or Skribbl. Video games are a free activity and offer hours of entertainment. Your kids will also build skills by anticipating their opponents or adapting as the game progresses.

  1. Learn basic foreign language phrases and practice them together

Another online activity that builds skills is learning a new language. Choose one that excites you and download a language app like Duolingo. Once you’ve learned the basics, help each other with simple greetings and phrases.

  1. Solve riddles or brain teasers

Challenge your kids to solve riddles or brain teasers. To start, Parade has over 100 riddles for your kids to solve. Riddles are a completely free activity and can be a great way to help your kids build problem-solving skills and think outside the box.


Learning activities for kids

  1. Run simple science experiments for your kids to learn

Start your kids’ learning journey with simple experiments using everyday items. One of the most popular experiments you can do is to make a volcano with Coke and Mentos. For more ideas, Science Spark has loads of easy and budget-friendly experiments. Whatever you choose, they’ll have a lot of fun and learn along the way.

  1. Learn about the night sky and constellations by stargazing

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

  1. Watch educational documentaries

Let your kids learn with documentaries. Find an educational documentary on a topic you want your kids to learn about. Watch as a family and talk about it afterward to accelerate the learning. Grab some snacks, get comfortable and enjoy learning something new. 


Summer activities for kids

  1. Attend summer festivals for a free activity

Summer festivals let your kids experience new cultures on a budget. Festivals offer your kids a glimpse into traditions, art, and music they wouldn’t normally experience. You’ll see workshops, live performances and try new foods to immerse yourselves in the community's spirit. Google is a great place to find them, or you can ask people you know for suggestions.

  1. Have a summer picnic in your garden

Hosting a themed picnic in your garden is a fun, easy and memorable activity. Choose a fun theme, like farm to table or your favourite film. Prepare picnic staples like a cheeseboard or make something based on your theme.

  1. Cook a summer dish using budget-friendly ingredients

Cooking a summer dish is an activity that keeps your kids entertained and helps them enjoy something tasty. Choose something everyone wants to try and find a recipe to fit your budget. For recipe ideas, A Taste of Home has a great list. Whether you make shrimp skewers, some fresh watermelon slices or a refreshing gazpacho, cooking a summer dish is a fantastic summer activity for kids.


Creative activities for kids

  1. Create your own escape room game at home

Design a set of clues and puzzles for your kids to make an escape room activity. Make the clues creative and base them on what you want your kids to learn. If you want your children to improve their reading skills, give them some clues that need some careful reading. If you want your kids to develop communication skills, make puzzles that need good communication. Make the clues creative and let your kids plan their escape.

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

There are countless structures your kids can build with toothpicks, marshmallows and ice lolly sticks. Connect the toothpicks with marshmallows to create joints and use the sticks to build a foundation. It’s an activity that helps with problem-solving and spatial awareness skills.

  1. Design and decorate your old T-shirts

Upcycling has become a popular creative activity, so why not 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 your wardrobe and let your kids' creativity shine as they draw and paint new designs. You’ll breathe new life into something you don’t use.

  1. Set up a scavenger hunt with clues and hidden treasures

If you want an engaging and budget-friendly activity, consider a scavenger hunt. Like in the escape room, create a series of creative clues that guide your kids to a hidden treasure. Be creative with your hiding places, using your inside and outside spaces.


Physical activities for kids

  1. Build an obstacle course using household items

Why not turn your house into an adventure zone with an obstacle course? Use items like chairs and boxes to make a challenging course for your kids to navigate. Just keep an eye on your kids so everyone can stay safe during the activity.

  1. Play a new sport in your garden

Enjoy the fresh air and some friendly competition with a new sport. It's a great activity to keep your kids active while socialising with neighbourhood friends. Find a sport everyone is interested in and test it out. You might even find a new passion.

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

Explore nature and have some quality time with your kids by biking or hiking. It’s a great activity to entertain kids for free and keep them active. Go to your favourite spots, enjoy some fresh air and savour the time with your kids. You probably know the local spots, but if you don't, Google always has great info.

  1. Play a game of Frisbee

Frisbee is a fun activity that gets everyone involved. It’s simple, enjoyable and completely free. Make it exciting by challenging each other to make impressive catches or take it slow and enjoy your time in the sun.


Let LifePoints help you get your activities for kids going”

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