Trying to find free ways to keep kids entertained? I have a 5 year old son and twins– a boy and a girl– on the way so this topic is on my mind quite a bit. My 5 year old is a pretty typical little boy with lots of energy and curiosity. He’s not in Kindergarten yet so we are constantly on the hunt for things to do to keep his active little body and mind busy. My husband and I are also in the middle of paying off $650,000 of student loan debt, so I frequently need my little guy to be entertained while I try to earn us extra money from home. (Here’s several ways you can start making an extra $1000 a month if you need some extra cash too).
FREE WAYS TO KEEP KIDS ENTERTAINED
TAPE RACE TRACK
One of my favorite free ways to keep kids entertained is by building a tape race/car track throughout our house. My son was entertained for hours with his hot wheels going up and down the track through the first floor of our house. We actually used some colorful tape that he got in a Chick-Fil-A kids meal, but painter’s tape would work really well for this. I let him design the track and just kind of helped him lay out the tape. If you have younger kids, you’d need to be more involved, or older kids, probably less involved since they could build the track on their own. Grab painter’s tape here.
Another more obvious among the free ways to keep kids entertained is to take them to a park. I find it helps if we don’t always go to the exact same park. Try to mix it up if you can.
If you live in good weather or it’s summer time, a pool can keep kids entertained for hours!
Make a scavenger hunt for kids! Laminate all of your clues for the scavenger hunt so you can reuse it in the future. Depending on how old your kids are, you could hide the clues all around the house or if they are older, around the neighborhood. Make the prize at the end rewarding, like chocolate chip cookies!
DO A CRAFT
Doing a craft, even a simple one (that’s all I can handle!) is a great way to keep your kids entertained. So bust out your slime making skills, make something seasonal, or even create something meaningful that your kids could give away to a friend or family member.
PLAY A GAME
Gather up your kids and play a board game or a boardless game like hide and seek.
WATCH A MOVIE
It’s almost not worth mentioning because it’s such a go-to these days, but if you are having any qualms about it, go ahead and give in to the occasional at home movie watching session. Make some popcorn, get some snuggly blankets out, and enjoy having your kids entertained by a movie for an hour or two.
RIDE A BIKE
Another free way to keep kids entertained is by taking them out on a bike ride. If you have any trails in your area, that’s a fun and exciting way to spice up your ride. But even a simple ride in your neighborhood can certainly keep your kiddos entertained.
READ A BOOK
Reading a book together is completely free. Grab something off your shelf, head to the library, or trade a few books with friends. We like to read a book all together and then if there’s a movie, we’ll watch that too.
WRITE A BOOK
Rather than just reading a book, have your kids write their own books or even write one together. Consider giving them a story prompt, or just let their imaginations go for it. If they can write or type, leave them to it. If they can’t, let them tell the story that you write or type out for them. These will be treasures for years to come! Danny’s mom had him write a book when he was about 8 and we recently printed it out and our son LOVES when we read it to him now. The book is seriously SO funny.
START A JOURNAL
Starting a journal is not only a good free way to keep kids entertained, but it teaches them the importance of documenting their lives. I treasure the things I wrote as a young kid– I like seeing what my concerns were and what fun or funny things were happening at the time. Encourage your kid to not just write in their journal, but to draw pictures and glue in photographs of what is going on in their lives at the time. Journals are treasure for future generations! Priceless. We recently travel hacked through New Zealand and we gave our son a journal so he could record all of his favorite things from our trip. We used one of these cheap composite journals which you can grab here.
There are tons of very easy painting lessons available on YouTube, similar in style to what you’d go and do at a “paint and sip” type of studio (you know the kind- where you go paint some designated picture and drink wine– all the rage a couple of years ago). You could do these at home with your kids. Of course you’ll need paint and paper or canvas.
MAKE A TREASURE MAP
One of my favorite free ways to keep kids entertained is to create a treasure map! Make it as complex as you want depending on your kids ages. If you have both older and younger kids, you could even have the older kids create the treasure map for the younger ones– which will entertain them both! Just make sure you actually have treasure at the end.
GO TO THE LIBRARY
Another one of my favorite free ways to keep kids entertained is by taking them to the library. So many fun books, toys, computer games, and classes to be found! You can even rent movies, CD’s, and audio books. There’s just something magical about a library that all kids seem to love.
Take your littles on a hike! It doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy, but I’ve found that spending time in nature can do wonders for a kid. Try not to rush them through the hike– let them explore, look at rocks, play in the dirt, or do whatever they want to do to learn how to enjoy hiking and the outdoors.
GO ON A DRIVE
If you’re not so much a hiking/nature person yourself, take your kids on a scenic or informative drive. Maybe up through a canyon if you have one near by or drive them by the house you grew up in or something that otherwise teaches them something. You could play the ABC game in the car and bring snacks to make it even more exciting.
MAKE PAPER AIRPLANES OR ORIGAMI
YouTube has tons of awesome tutorials on how to make legit airplanes or even origami if you or your kids are really into it.
BUILD/FLY A KITE
Another thing you could do, especially this time of year, is build and or go fly a kite.
Another easy free way to keep kids entertained is to take them to a skate or bike park. All you have to do is load up your car with bikes or skates, snacks, and water, and let the kids take it from there.
GO TO THE LAKE
Depending on where you live, you could take your kids to the lake. I enjoy doing this even in the winter time when there are no people at the lake. You can skip stones, bring a picnic, build sand castles, collect rocks, play ball, or swim.
DO A PUZZLE
Another fun thing you can do is do a puzzle together. Perhaps one that you already have or you could ask a neighbor or friend to trade you for one that you’ve already done. Thrift stores are also good places to snag a puzzle.
KINETIC SAND/DIRT or PLAY-DOH
Break out any kinetic sand or dirt you may have (or grab some for super cheap here). Your kiddos can play with hot wheels or cookie cutters or rollers in it and have the time of their lives. Grab some cheap Kinetic sand here.
TEACH A HOME BASED SKILL
Teach your kiddos a skill, such as how to cook a meal or do a load of laundry. It sounds simple but sometimes we forget to teach our kids these basic tasks because we’re so busy doing them throughout the day. Teach them how to load or unload the dishwasher, or anything else that is useful around the house. I’ve found out recently that my 5 year old actually loves to take out the garbage and unload the dishwasher, which are two tasks I hate! Spending a little time teaching him paid off. 🙂
Let your kids borrow an old camera (or phone with a camera) and do a photography session. Teach them some basics about photography, and then let their imaginations go wild! Be willing to dress up or give them ideas of things they can take photos of.
There you have it! There are plenty of free ways you can keep your kids entertained. You got this!
What are some of your favorite free ways to keep kids entertained?
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