If you want to have a fun weekend without spending much or don’t need to pay, you’re in the right place. The truth is, you don’t have to spend a fortune to create memorable experiences for you and your loved ones.
Whether you’re looking to entertain your kids, enjoy time with family, or have fun with friends, there are plenty of activities that are both enjoyable and budget-friendly.
Let’s go into some of the best activities that will ensure your weekends are packed with fun, laughter, and cherished moments, all without the need to spend much.
35 Fun Weekend Activities With Your Kids On A Budget
Spending quality time with your children doesn’t have to mean extravagant trips or expensive toys. There are numerous ways to enjoy the weekend together that are not only cost-effective but also foster creativity, learning, and physical activity.
Here are 35 fun activities to enjoy with your kids:
1. Picnic At The Park or in Your Backyard
A picnic in the local park is a timeless activity that’s fun for kids of all ages. Simply pack a lunch from home, grab a blanket, and head to the nearest park.
If you have a backyard, you’re all set for a picnic close to home. You can even have a mini-campfire if conditions allow, making smores as a treat. Picnic costs nearly nothing but provides a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend quality time together.
2. Home Movie Marathon
Choose a selection of family-friendly movies, make some popcorn, and create a cozy setup with blankets and pillows in the living room. A movie marathon is a perfect way to relax and spend time together, especially on rainy days.
This activity costs nothing more than the price of popcorn and uses movies you already own or can stream online.
3. Nature Scavenger Hunt
Organize a scavenger hunt in your backyard or a nearby nature trail. Make a list of items for your kids to find, like a pine cone, a red leaf, or a smooth stone. This activity encourages outdoor exploration and can be enjoyed for free.
4. DIY Craft Day
Gather supplies from around the house—paper, markers, glue, and anything else creative—and have a craft day. From making greeting cards to constructing paper airplanes, the possibilities are endless. Crafting fosters creativity and can be a fun, low-cost way to spend an afternoon.
5. Bake Together
Spend time in the kitchen baking cookies or a simple cake. Baking together not only teaches kids valuable cooking skills but also provides a sweet treat to enjoy together afterwards.
6. Local Library Events
Check your local library for free events and activities. Many libraries offer story times, craft activities, and family-friendly events at no cost.
7. DIY Science Experiments
Turn your kitchen into a science lab with simple, safe experiments using household items. You can create a baking soda volcano, make slime, or grow crystals. It’s educational, fun, and inexpensive.
8. Bike Ride Adventure
Gather the family for a bike ride around your neighborhood or explore a local bike trail. It’s a fantastic way to stay active, explore new areas, and spend quality time together.
Ensure everyone’s safety by checking the condition of the bikes beforehand and making sure helmets are worn. This enjoyable activity is entirely free unless you need to rent bikes, in which case the cost is usually minimal.
9. Community Sports Day
Organize a sports day with other families in your community. You can set up simple games like sack races, three-legged races, or a mini soccer match. It’s a great way to encourage physical activity, team spirit, and it’s totally free.
10. Star Gazing
Wait for a clear night, grab a blanket, and head to your backyard or a local park to gaze at the stars. You can use a star map app to identify constellations and planets. This peaceful activity is engaging and completely cost-free.
11. DIY Puppet Show
Create puppets using socks or paper bags and organize a puppet show at home. Let your kids’ imaginations run wild as they come up with stories for their puppet characters. This activity encourages creativity and storytelling, and it utilizes materials you already have at home.
12. Family Board Game Night
Dust off the board games and have a family game night. Board games are a fantastic way to engage in some friendly competition and teamwork. If you don’t have board games, many classic games can be played with just paper and pencils, like Pictionary or Hangman.
13. Explore Local Museums or Zoos on Discount Days
Many museums and zoos have days when admission is free or discounted. Plan a visit to learn something new or simply enjoy looking at the exhibits. It’s educational and allows for a fun outing with minimal expense.
14. Start a Mini-Garden
Gardening can be a rewarding activity that doesn’t have to break the bank. Start small with some herbs in pots or sow some easy-to-grow vegetables. It’s a great learning opportunity for kids and can even contribute to your kitchen.
15. Go on a Photography Walk
Grab a camera or use a phone to go on a photography walk around your neighborhood or a nearby scenic area. Challenge each other to find interesting angles and subjects. It’s a fun way to explore your surroundings and capture memories.
16. Create a Time Capsule
Gather some items that are significant to your family or reflect current trends and events. Place them in a container to create a time capsule. Decide on a future date to open it. This is a great project that costs nothing but can create a memorable experience and something for the future.
17. Visit a Farmers’ Market
Spend a morning walking around a local farmers’ market. It’s free to explore, and you might find some affordable, fresh produce. Teach your kids about different fruits and vegetables and the importance of supporting local farmers.
18. Go to a Museum
Visiting a museum can be an enriching and fun way to spend a day, especially when you’re looking for budget-friendly options with your kids. Many museums offer free admission days or have a “pay what you wish” policy during certain hours.
Museums cater to a wide range of interests, from art, history, and science to more specialized topics, so you’re likely to find something that captures you and your kids’ curiosity.
The great thing about museums is that they offer a learning experience that’s interactive and engaging. Children and adults alike can benefit from the educational programs, workshops, and guided tours often available.
19. DIY Water Park
Set up sprinklers, a kiddie pool, and water balloons in your backyard for a day of water fun. It is especially great for hot days and is much cheaper than a trip to a water park.
20. Volunteering Together
Look for volunteering opportunities in your community that are suitable for families. This could be helping out at a local shelter, planting trees, or cleaning up a park. It’s a rewarding way to spend time together and teach children about giving back.
21. Build a Birdhouse
You can find simple birdhouse kits for relatively cheap, or use reclaimed wood to build one.
Painting and decorating the birdhouse can be a fun family project, and watching for visitors can entertain for months to come.
22. Go Fishing
If you have a rod and reel, spending the day fishing can be a peaceful and enjoyable way to bond. Many local piers and lakes allow fishing for free or for a small access fee. Remember to check for any licensing requirements.
23. Have a Themed Dinner Night
Choose a country and plan a dinner menu based on that cuisine. Get the kids involved in cooking and decorating to match the theme. It’s a great way to teach them about different cultures while enjoying a fun meal together.
24. DIY Obstacle Course
Using household items and yard furniture, create an obstacle course in your backyard. Timed runs can add a competitive edge or it can just be for fun. It promotes physical fitness and creativity without any cost.
25. Camping in the Backyard
Set up a tent in the backyard and have a camping night. You can make s’mores, tell stories, and stargaze – all the fun of camping without the cost or hassle of traveling.
26. Family Book Club
Choose a book that the whole family can enjoy and read it together over the weekend. Discuss the book, its themes, and what everyone thought about it in a family book club meeting. This encourages reading and comprehension skills and can be a great way to introduce kids to new genres.
27. Create a Family Scrapbook
Collect photos, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia to create a family scrapbook. This is a great way to preserve memories and spend time together. You just need some basic supplies like glue, scissors, and an album to get started.
28. Host a Talent Show
Let everyone in the family prepare a small performance – it could be a magic trick, a dance routine, a song, or a joke-telling session. Host your own “talent show” night where everyone gets to perform. It’s a fun and free way to showcase creativity.
29. Learn a New Skill Together
There are many free or low-cost online tutorials for skills like drawing, dancing, playing an instrument, or even a new language. Pick something that interests the whole family and spend some time each weekend learning together.
30. Visit Nature Reserves or Hiking Trails
Many nature reserves or hiking trails do not charge for access. It’s a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature. Before you go, research the area to ensure it’s suitable for your family’s fitness level and interests. Don’t forget to pack water and snacks!
31. Neighborhood Clean-Up
Organize or join a neighborhood clean-up. It’s a wonderful way to contribute to your community while spending time outside. Plus, it teaches kids the importance of taking care of the environment.
32. Play Tourist in Your Own Town
Pretend to be tourists in your own town or city. Visit landmarks, parks, and museums you haven’t been to in a while (or ever). You might discover some hidden gems or learn something new about your local area.
33. Karaoke Night at Home
Using a karaoke app on your smartphone or YouTube for backing tracks, have a karaoke night at home. This activity can provide hours of entertainment and laughter for the whole family.
34. Family Yoga Session
Try a family yoga session to relax and get some gentle exercise. There are plenty of free yoga routines available online tailored to all ages and abilities. It’s a great way to introduce kids to mindfulness and stretching.
35. Stargazing with a Twist
In addition to identifying constellations and planets, make stargazing more engaging by turning it into a storytelling session. Encourage each family member to pick a star or constellation and create a short story or myth about it.
This adds a layer of creativity and imagination to the experience, making the night sky even more magical. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to unwind and appreciate the beauty of the universe together.
24 Fun Weekend Activities With Your Family or Friends on a Budget
Spending quality time with your family or friends also doesn’t require a sum of money. There are many activities you can engage in that are light on the wallet but rich in experiences and bonding opportunities.
For example, enjoying the great outdoors, getting creative at home, or exploring your local community.
1. Hike to a New Destination
There’s something special about discovering a new hiking trail or a scenic spot together. Research trails that are new to your group, pack a lunch, and set out for adventure. It’s a great way to explore the natural beauty surrounding your area while getting some exercise.
2. Create a DIY Spa Day at Home
Gather your family or friends for a relaxing spa day at home. Use homemade masks, soak in a warm bath, and try out different beauty treatments using ingredients you already have. It’s a pampering experience without the salon price tag.
3. Start a Book Club
Choose a book that everyone is interested in reading, then gather weekly or at the end of the month to discuss it. This activity can provoke thoughtful conversation and a deeper connection with your loved ones.
4. Organize a Neighborhood Sports Match
Whether it’s soccer, basketball, or volleyball, organizing a friendly match with families or friends in the neighborhood is an exciting way to spend the day. It requires minimal equipment and can be played in a local park or even in a spacious backyard.
5. Cook Together
Choose a new recipe or a family favorite and cook together. From grocery shopping to meal prep, it turns cooking into a fun group activity rather than a chore. You can even challenge yourselves to create a meal with whatever ingredients you already have at home.
6. Try Geocaching
Geocaching is an outdoor game where you use GPS to find hidden “caches” or containers based on specific coordinates. It’s a fun way to explore your community without spending money.
7. Attend Free Community Events
Keep an eye on local community boards, libraries, or online platforms for free events in your area. These can range from concerts in the park, art exhibits, street fairs, or cultural festivals. It’s a great way to engage with your community and enjoy local talents and crafts.
8. Start a DIY Project
Choose a DIY project that excites everyone involved. It could range from making homemade candles or bath bombs, which are simple and relatively inexpensive, to more ambitious projects like building a piece of furniture or painting a room.
9. Host a Theme Night
Decide on a theme, such as a decade (80s, 90s, etc.), a movie genre, or a cultural celebration. Plan your evening around that theme, including dressing up, preparing themed food, and watching movies or playing games that fit the theme. It’s a creative way to spice up a regular gathering and learn more about a specific culture or time period.
10. Have a Digital Detox Day
Challenge each other to a day without screens. Instead, spend time outdoors, read books, play board games, or engage in deep conversations. It’s a refreshing way to reconnect without the distractions of technology.
11. Host a Swap Day
Organize a day where everyone brings items they no longer want or need, such as books, clothes, toys, or household items. Set up a “shop” where everyone can browse and take what they need. It’s a fun way to recycle and update your wardrobe or bookshelf without spending money. Plus, it’s fascinating to see what treasures your friends or family might be willing to part with.
12. Join or Start a Community Garden
If you have a green thumb, or even if you’re interested in developing one, participating in a community garden can be a rewarding way to spend weekends. It’s a chance to grow your own fruits, vegetables, and flowers while collaborating with others in your neighborhood.
The cost is usually minimal, and the rewards, both in terms of produce and community connection, are significant.
13. Participate in Local Races or Charity Walks
Many communities host charity walks, runs, or bike races that are either free or request a small donation to participate.
Not only is this a healthy activity that can be fun when done with loved ones, but it also supports good causes. Train together leading up to the event to increase your sense of teamwork and accomplishment.
14. Organize a Storytelling Evening
Gather around a fire pit, living room, or any cozy spot in your home and share stories. These could be personal anecdotes, fictional tales you come up with on the spot, or family histories passed down through generations.
It’s a heartfelt way to connect deeply with your loved ones and understand each other better.
15. Do a Puzzle Together
Working on a large jigsaw puzzle as a group can be an incredibly relaxing and rewarding way to spend an afternoon or evening. It encourages teamwork and patience, plus it’s a peaceful way to engage in conversation.
Puzzles can often be found at thrift stores or borrowed from friends to keep the costs down.
16. Attend Open Mic Nights
Check out cafes, bookstores, or community centers in your area to see if they host open mic nights. Attending these events is usually free, and you get to enjoy live entertainment ranging from music and poetry to stand-up comedy.
It’s a great way to support local artists and have a fun evening out with little to no expense.
17. Try Out a New Fitness Class Together
Many fitness studios offer a first class for free or have community days where classes are offered at a reduced rate or for a donation. This could be an excellent opportunity for you and your friends or family to try out yoga, dance, Pilates, or even more unique offerings like aerial silk or kickboxing.
It’s a fun way to stay active, learn new skills, and bond over the shared experience of trying something out of your comfort zones together.
18. Run a DIY Car Wash
Instead of spending money at a professional car wash, gather your supplies and have a car washing day with friends or family.
Not only does this save money, but it can also turn into a fun and playful activity, especially on a hot day. It’s rewarding to see the cars shine because of your combined effort.
19. Create a DIY Escape Room
Design your own escape room challenge at home using puzzles, riddles, and hidden clues. There are plenty of online resources and ideas to help you set it up. Divide into teams and see who can solve the mystery first. It encourages teamwork and problem-solving in a fun, immersive environment.
20. Have a “Chopped” Cooking Challenge
Inspired by the TV show, pick out a selection of random ingredients and challenge each other to create a dish using only those items. It is not only a fun way to test your culinary skills but also encourages creativity and resourcefulness in the kitchen.
You can judge the dishes based on taste, presentation, and creativity. This activity can lead to laughter, learning, and of course, some delicious (and sometimes curious) meals to share.
21. Organize a Community Service Project
Gather your family or friends and dedicate a day to giving back to your community. Whether it’s sprucing up a local park, volunteering at a food bank, or assisting in an animal shelter, dedicating time to service projects can be incredibly rewarding.
It fosters a sense of community, empathy, and the joy of helping others, all without the need for a budget.
22. Start a Podcast or YouTube Channel Together
With the ease of access to recording technology, starting a podcast or YouTube channel on a subject of mutual interest can be a stimulating project. It could be about movie reviews, cooking experiments, crafting tutorials, or community news.
The process of planning, recording, and editing offers a creative outlet and a chance to learn new skills together.
23. Write and Perform a Play
Combine creativity, teamwork, and performance by writing and acting out your own play. You can base it on a favorite story, a historical event, or even an entirely original concept. Use household items for props and costumes, and invite other friends or family members to be the audience.
This engaging activity promotes communication and collaboration, offering an enriching experience that costs nothing.
24. Create a Community Mural
If you can get permission, find a public wall or a large canvas where your group can create a mural. This can be a beautiful way to contribute to your community’s aesthetics, showcase collective creativity, and leave a lasting mark that everyone can be proud of.
It encourages teamwork and can also serve as a conversation starter within the community about the importance of art. Depending on the size and materials needed, costs can be kept low with donations or by pooling resources.
Creating fun and memorable weekends with your kids, family, or friends doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. With a bit of creativity and planning, you can enjoy countless activities that strengthen bonds, foster creativity, and encourage exploration—all while keeping your budget in check.