300+ Best At Home Kids Activities on a Budget

300+ Best At Home Kids Activities on a Budget

I’ll be sharing our best and most favorite kids activities!

What are fun Kids Activities at home while staying on a budget?

What can kids do for fun ‘at home’?

What are some at home activities for kids on a budget?

These are all questions many parents ask themselves often and cannot seem to rule it down, but don’t worry, I’m here to help!

Easy Water Play Activity for Kids:

water play for toddlers and preschoolers

What are cheap fun things to do with kids at home?

If you are looking for kids activities on a budget, here are over 40 ideas you can try at home right now (depending on your child’s age):

  • Create a sensory bin (water beads, dyed spaghetti..)
  • Plant and Grow a small garden
  • Dance to some cool tunes
  • Water fun in a wading pool
  • Build a fort/tent with sheets
  • Stage a fun creative play
  • Play board games
  • Cook a delicious meal together
  • Create a movie for memories
  • Learn about birds outside
  • Collect bugs and set them free
  • Walk around the neighborhood
  • Have a scavenger hunt
  • Draw together
  • Create a play house with cardboard
  • Decorate windows
  • Sensory Play with foam, paint, shaving cream…
  • Paint on a canvas
  • Create a science experiment (STEM)
  • Bake something sweet like cookies
  • Go on a picnic in the backyard
  • Fly a kite
  • Create an obstacle course indoors
  • Indoor Tea Party fun
  • Play fun games such as Hide and Seek together
  • Building castles with ice cubes
  • Teach your kids how to tell time
  • Teach your kids how to count coins
  • Learning through play
  • Create an indoor obstacle course
  • Play outside for over an hour (depending on the weather)
  • Shaving Cream Sensory Play
  • Construction site Sensory bin
  • Use dot stickers for play
  • Water Play in a bin with cups
  • Bike around the neighborhood
  • Learn how to skate with roller blades
  • Cook a meal from another country with your kids
  • Learn a different language by watching on Youtube
  • Create instruments with items you have at home
  • Clear up common misconceptions.
  • Listen to audiobooks, podcasts, children’s music from an app
  • Play with sponges and use water or paint with them
  • Look through picture albums together or baby images/videos
  • Call a loved one who may live far away
  • Set up an invitation to play with water, cups and scoopers

Easy Homemade Ice Painting Kids Activity:

mess free painting for babies

Why do kids get bored?

According to Heidi McBain, a play therapist, boredom is essential for children as this leads to increased creativity.

“When a child feels bored, they are re-learning that they have to create something to entertain themselves.”

They learn to explore their world and come up with their own creative ideas and ways of play. This is brilliant!

Here is my personal story. I am a mother to a 3 and 5-year-old. At these ages, they are all about creativity in my humble opinion. I don’t ever see them get bored as it’s so easy to come up with a simple game that will keep them entertained.

But, what about when they get older? I have a strong feeling that if I approach them with these simple activities I am going to mention, they’ll hold those creative juices tight and learn to use them when needed!

For example, introducing them to ‘open-ended play’ is wonderful! These simple kids activities on a budget are one of our favorites when we are looking for something fun and simple to incorporate in your day-to-day play centers, homeschooling, or just for fun!

How to Make Moon Dough at Home

What is open-ended play?

Open-ended play allows children to express themselves freely with no limits. Some examples of open-ended play are:

  • loose parts to create all sorts of things
  • blocks to create a castle, tower, or an elevator
  • molding clay to come up with all sorts of imaginative play ideas

These are play ideas that allow for imaginative play and in turn power up those neurons to create something new.

For more on open-ended play and the benefits of open-ended play, check out these open-ended toys for toddlers.

Here are some open-ended play ideas we have tried over the years. And, some of these are perfect kids activities on a budget:

  • Rainbow Rice and Legos
  • Water Play with cups/spoons/scoopers
  • Sponge activities
  • Water play for learning
  • How to dye beans for open-ended play
  • Summer Camp sensory bin
  • Simple Fine Motor Activity

Our Favorite Preschool Learning Folder:

Preschool Activity Binder Busy Book Quiet Book

Best Tips for Indoor Activities for Kids

Staying home doesn’t have to be boring. Here are a few lists, set up in different categories, you may be interested in:

Tip 1: Here are over 60 fun things to do at home with your kids

  • Print out Black and White coloring pages
  • Create a terrarium with dollar store items
  • Create homemade play dough
  • Create groovy slime
  • Using recycled toilet/paper towel tubes for painting or creating things
  • STEM and STEAM activities with household items
  • Turn on the cooking channel and create a meal together
  • Pull out construction paper and create something fun
  • Make a delicious healthy smoothie together
  • Paint your nails together. I like these non-toxic ones
  • Read a few books together
  • Watch the discovery channel and learn about animals
  • Mix water and paint to create fluid art
  • Sponges are awesome in water play
  • Try some Kids Yoga or kid-friendly exercises together on Youtube.
  • Plant a small garden outside
  • Download an app that inspires creativity
  • Create an indoor maze in your home with painters tape
  • Use painters tape for sensory bags or dot sticker projects
  • Play charades
  • Play card games together
  • Pull out some board games
  • Have a race outside in the yard
  • Cook dyed rainbow pasta
  • Create a sensory bin (example: dried lentils and some toys) depending on your child’s age.
  • Tell a story (One example could be a spooky story if its Halloween)
  • Create a bowling arena with old water bottles and a ball
  • Wash your toy cars with soap, water, a sponge, and a bin
  • Create a pirate play scavenger hunt
  • Hopscotch pattern with painters tape (masking tape)
  • Indoor picnic
  • Smoothies and movies (add some popcorn in there too)
  • Marco Polo game (Indoor style)
  • Indoor Treasure hunt
  • Making funny finger shapes on the wall in the dark with a phone flashlight
  • Create Paper crafts together
  • Pick a category they’d like to learn and create their own magazine or book by cutting and gluing
  • Make a challenge to see how many books they can read within a time frame for prizes
  • Lego/ Shape mags building race
  • Trace out toys and create a puzzle
  • Play dress-up
  • Camping indoors
  • Racing track indoors with painters tape
  • Make crafty jewelry
  • Tie-dye white shirts
  • Dramatic Play Shops
  • Paint paint and paint some more
  • Make a pizza together
  • Easel Paper life-size or feet drawing
  • Create new crayons with molds and broken crayons
  • Make a themed card or just for fun
  • Dance until the music stops and play freeze
  • Build some binoculars with toilet paper rolls
  • Get crafty with pretzel sticks and marshmallows
  • Play homemade bingo
  • Play with balloons and make sure they don’t touch the floor
  • Create necklaces with beads and thread
  • Have an indoor pretend play spa day
  • Paint each other’s nails for fun
  • Nature art – Collect outdoor items and make art with it
  • Play Duck Duck Goose
  • Create a Dance show in your living room
  • Use tape on the floor or desk to line toys on
  • Learn to play the basics of an instrument together
  • Dance with scarves
  • Use paper towel rolls for a pom pom drop game
  • Pretend play with a box
  • Use blankets to create a fort

Fine Motor Pom Pom Kids Activity:

fine motor pom pom activity for kids

Tip 2: 60 free things to do with kids in general

  • Take a trip to the library
  • Go to an outdoor music event (child-friendly)
  • Go to the beach and collect shells
  • Checkout free events to do locally online, newspaper, or kids community magazine
  • Sit and watch a free game going on at your local park
  • Visit the park and make it fun by including a scavenger hunt
  • Bake a healthy dish such as banana bread or Zucchini bread
  • Bake some delicious cookies for your friendly neighbors together
  • Go through the toy room together and see which toys and books are out
  • Learn how to knit together
  • Attend Michaels stores for free kids events
  • Attend a Barnes and Nobles bookstore for free reading events
  • Visit a free museum or a zoo
  • Call a family member or friend you haven’t spoken to in a while
  • Learn a different language such as Spanish on Youtube
  • Have a yard sale
  • Host a party such as a sleepover or a tea party
  • Learn to meditate when things get tough for your kids
  • Read a great book together
  • Learn about the body with science books
  • Learn about a new animal with a book on all different kinds of animals
  • Blow some bubbles
  • Wash the family dog together
  • Play Frisbee at the park
  • Discover new music that you and your kids both like
  • Stargaze at night and see if you can find constellations
  • Go on a bike ride together
  • Explore your city via books or by just exploring
  • Attend a free play such as actors playhouse
  • Find a local free kids event with rides and popcorn
  • Attend your local planetarium
  • Sponge Paint
  • Play outdoor games such as soccer
  • Go on a hike together
  • Have a picnic at sunset
  • Attend a local free historical town
  • Go snorkeling
  • Have an outdoor party such as a barbecue
  • Donate old toys to charity
  • Make hot cocoa or s’mores together
  • Play in the rain
  • Make fruit/veggie popsicles together
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Decorate a pair of old jeans or an old shirt with glue and gems
  • Get crafty and Finger-paint
  • Prank call family members with funny voices
  • Make a cake and decorate it to their liking
  • Sing while talking together
  • Tell each other humorous jokes
  • Play rock-paper-scissor shoot
  • Paint each other’s faces
  • Play free games online such as ‘Teach your monster how to read’
  • Teach them to play mind games such as Checkers
  • Make milkshakes together
  • Set up a lemonade stand
  • Build a paper airplane together
  • Create and tell stories together
  • Play kickball
  • Build sand castles at the beach
  • Have a scavenger hunt at the beach

Simple Sensory Bottle:

how to make a glitter sensory bottle

Tip 3: 30 fun things to do with your kids ‘DIY style’

  • Create a wreath together out of construction paper
  • Paint on stones, leave positive messages and leave them places so someone else finds them
  • Cut a sponge to make a figure and sponge paint
  • Use ketchup bottles with dyed colored water to melt ice
  • Create rainbow pasta
  • Dye white roses different colors
  • Paint jars and create awesome crafts
  • Use construction paper to cover a box and make a crafty toy
  • Create jewelry rainbow pasta
  • Make a homemade bird feeder
  • Decorate a Christmas tree ornament
  • Make a collage with feathers and buttons
  • Create animals with balloons
  • Make a DIY rainbow slime with glitter
  • Create a craft with paper plates and brown paper bags
  • Create a nightlight with a jar
  • Use craft sticks to create a puzzle
  • Use a muffin tin to create a fizz with baking soda, vinegar, and water
  • Build a fort with cardboard
  • Create a crown with an empty toilet paper roll
  • Ice sculptures castle
  • Watercolor paper towels to create butterflies
  • Sensory lava lamp with a Voss bottle
  • Play dough and toothpicks to create something spectacular
  • Use a muffin tin with magnetic letters
  • Snowball fight with cotton balls
  • Create Paper Plate fishies
  • Wrap a toy and create it with gems and a bow
  • Paint some of your toy figures and revamp them with glitter and gems
  • Paint on a canvas

2 Ingredient Homemade Playdough Recipe

Tip 4: 60 fun ideas when your kids say ‘I’m bored’:

  • Create a homemade slip n slide with dollar store plastic shower curtains, soap, and a water hose
  • Build a homemade bowling alley or golf course with household items such as cups, old plastic bottles…
  • Create bubble art with dyed water and soap and a cut in half plastic bottle
  • Indoor or Nature outside scavenger hunt with your child’s favorite toys
  • Chalk it out. Create groovy art with chalk (outdoor play)
  • Create a map of your backyard and bury your child’s favorite toy so he/she finds it
  • Create a homemade twister with construction paper and tape
  • Create an obstacle course
  • Backyard camping
  • Go to the park. Depending on your park there are so many fun activities you can do there.
  • Stretch those muscles out and do some exercise movements
  • Have a race. Use painted orange water bottles as the starting and ending points
  • Have a bean bag race
  • Bean bag toss. Create your own bean bags with beans and a ziplock bag
  • Use pillows to build a fort
  • Use pillows to see who’s pillows stand up the longest
  • Play freeze game. Dance, freeze, dance, freeze.
  • Board Games. There are all types of board games.
  • Play dress up with Halloween costumes
  • Fold clothes together with some music tunes so it’s fun
  • Use a bin to create some sort of sensory play
  • Have a spring cleaning and donate any old toys or clothes
  • Wash Fruits and Vegetables together with soap and water in a bin
  • Go to your local kids play center
  • Take a trip to the dollar store and find some coloring books
  • If your child loves to read, there are some fun books at the dollar store
  • Attend your local museum
  • Attend your local science museum
  • Attend your local children’s museum
  • Attend your local monkey jungle or zoo
  • Go to the beach
  • Collect sea shells at the beach and listen to them
  • Take a walk at a local mall
  • Go to a restaurant and eat something you never try that sounds appealing
  • Play I-spy something..
  • Attend your local musical theatre
  • Attend a local free outdoor music event
  • Check online for free or budget-friendly activities to do with kids near your local area
  • Go on a hike
  • Collect some water at your nearest spring (if allowed)
  • Start a campfire
  • Make some s’mores
  • Build a tent with a cardboard box and sticks
  • Make a pie together
  • Peel potatoes and make a stew or soup
  • Take a bike ride outdoors
  • Learn to skate
  • Attend your local skating rink
  • Attend your local ice skating rink
  • Set out a wading pool outside and enjoy water play
  • Paint a picture on a canvas
  • Attend your local Paint me mine class
  • Attend a free art class at Michaels stores
  • Try a new restaurant you’ve never been to
  • Explore a new park you haven’t been to
  • Go to a butterfly sanctuary
  • Attend your local nursery sanctuary
  • Go canoeing and camping
  • Learn surfing skills together such as how to start a fire or build a trap
  • Learn how to defend yourself such as taking karate together

Simple Sensory Bottle:

rain cloud in a jar science experiment for kids

Tip 5: Over 40 ideas to do at home with toddlers (3+ and up)

  • Color Match with Home Depot free sample paint chip supply strips
  • Fine Motor Skills with Pipe Cleaners and a strainer or a box with holes
  • Learn numbers and counting with household items
  • Pretend indoor puddle jumping with blue construction paper
  • Cup match
  • Blow up a balloon and make paddles with a craft stick and paper plates
  • Play with Kinetic Sand and animal toys
  • Craft stick color match
  • Taste Safe Homemade Playdough
  • Tape Path for Toddlers
  • Sensory Bottles
  • Color match with rainbow colored cups and pom poms
  • Rice Sensory Bin
  • Sensory Hop Scotch
  • Rainbow Experiment with Skittles
  • Fishing for Letters
  • Fill Cookie Cutters with Sensory Play Rice
  • Funnel Play Sensory Play
  • Create a Multi-Use Activity Board
  • Letter Magnet Shout
  • Pom Pom Water Play
  • Dot Marker Activity
  • Mixing Colors with water and dyes
  • Rock and Sand Meditate
  • Chasing butterflies and letting them go with a net
  • Paint Party
  • Plant Pot Surprise
  • Alphabet Match with dollar store letters
  • Shape Match
  • Dot Activity
  • Flower Sensory Bin
  • Paint wooden letters from the dollar store and say their letter name
  • Pom Pom Play
  • Sensory Bin Construction Site
  • Dramatic Play Ideas
  • Play-based learning fun
  • Water Play
  • Sponge Paint
  • Sticky wall with contact tape
  • Color Match Drop
  • Wrap the old puzzle toys with aluminum and find and match them once opened
  • Color Mixing
  • Measure items in your house with a ruler
  • Use potatoes as a stamp
  • Paint with a flower
  • Make color piles using pom poms and colorful bowls
  • Count with stickers in a ten frame
  • Build with legos or use them in a sensory bin
  • Non-messy paint invitation to play
  • Paint with Q-tips
  • Practice fine motor skills
  • Paint with cotton balls
  • Paint with marshmallows
  • Make a fun letter for a friend or family member
  • Play with homemade playdough
  • Make a window tissue paper suncatcher

Simple Sensory Bottle:

layers of the earth's core playdough

Bonus: Mostly Free Printable/Worksheets for Kids at Home

  • Free Rainbow Printable for Kids
  • 126 words – Animals and More File Folder Games
  • 110 words – Colors and More File Folder Games
  • Hearts Free Printable
  • Polar Bear Alphabet Free Printable
  • Free Hanukkah Printable
  • Candy Cane Counting Mats Free Printable
  • Snowflake Counting Mats Free Printable
  • Counting Number Mats 1-20 Printable
  • Christmas Busy Book Printable Freebie
  • Thanksgiving Alphabet Match Free Printable
  • Alphabet Puzzle Match Printable

And so much more…

Our Favorite Toddler Learning Folder:

Preschool Activity Binder Busy Book Quiet Book

There you have it! Over 300 tips (and counting) in all different categories:

  • Free tips
  • Tips for 3+
  • Tips when kids are bored
  • DIY tips
  • Pretend Play
  • Arts and Crafts
  • When you are just at home
  • Outside and Miscellaneous
  • Fun for Kids

Simple Sensory Bottle:

rain cloud in a jar science experiment for kids

Do you have any ideas you can add to this list? Please leave me a comment down below and share your ideas.

Our Favorite Toddler Learning Folder is perfect for on-the-go or if you’re on vacation. It’s an all-in-one basics for preschool learning. Want to learn more, click here.

Or Get the Bundle here which includes:

  • Preschool Activity Binder
  • Toddler Learning Folder
  • Preschool Additional Sheets
  • Kindergarten Busy Book

Get the Bundle here!

That’s it for now. Have fun with these budget-friendly kids activities at home!

FAQs

Q: Are these activities suitable for all ages?
A: The activities mentioned in this article are suitable for kids of various ages. However, some activities may require adult supervision for younger children.

Q: Are all of these activities completely free?
A: Many of the activities mentioned can be done using items you already have at home, making them budget-friendly. However, some activities may require minimal purchases, such as craft supplies or ingredients for baking.

Q: Can these activities be done indoors and outdoors?
A: Yes, there is a mix of indoor and outdoor activities mentioned in the article. You can choose activities based on the available space and weather conditions.

Q: How can I get access to the free printable resources mentioned?
A: To access the free printable resources, you can sign up for the email newsletter and gain access to the printable resource library.

Conclusion

These budget-friendly kids activities provide endless opportunities for fun and learning at home. Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor activities, crafts, sensory play, or educational games, you’ll find something to keep your kids entertained and engaged. Don’t forget to share your own ideas and experiences in the comments below!