Things To Do With Your Kids For Free (Yes, Free!)

hikingListen, I’m not the crafternoon type whatsoever. And if the hubby and I don’t get the kids out of the house after two or so hours (or at least figure out something for them to do), mayhem ensues. Therefore, per Breezy Mama Alysha’s request, here are some of the activities we do to survive boredom… and did I mention they are free?

Flower Hunting: Yes, this is a fancy way of saying, “going on a walk.” There are a few ways to do it – either walk around the block or get creative and take the kids to a hiking trail. If you throw in the mission of picking flowers along the way, the kids get very excited and you get a bouquet.

Beach BBQ: Breezy Mama Maya is the Queen of this! She has boys 7, 9 and 11 and heads for the beach every Friday evening. Look for designated BBQ areas and/or fire pits. And for the beaches where it’s allowed (no portable BBQs allowed on Encinitas, CA beaches), head to the shore equipped with a mini-barbeque (click here), hotdogs and of course the makings for s’mores. Nothing like a dip in the ocean for everyone to kick off the weekend right. Double the fun by bringing the boogie boards (click here).

See For Free: Public destinations such as museums often have a *free* day. Generally, it’s during the week, but call or look at the website of some that you are interested in to find out if there are days admission is waived. For example, Quail Gardens in Encinitas, CA offers free admission on the first Tuesday of every month. Also, nationwide Regal Entertainment Group has free movies for families on Tuesdays and Wednesdays — learn more by clicking here. (Click on theaters and location to find one in your area).

Picnic at the Park: Seems like a no-brainer, right? But jazz it up by visiting parks out of your area. Check out this site to find ones you haven’t been to yet:

Find the Dragon: Again, a creative way of phrasing ‘checking out the neighborhood.’  When our third child was first born, my hubby took the “big” kids on a walk with the mission of searching for the dragon. Lots of imagination followed.

Paint the House: Don’t have a heart attack. Use paintbrushes and water. Makes for great “paint” and is surprisingly entertaining. When you’re done, have the kids add any remaining water to a watering can and give your flowers and plants some love.

Urchin Searchin’: Head to the tide pools – rocky areas near the ocean that fill with water — to see what you can find. Count your lucky starfish, anemones, urchins, barnacles, crabs and sea plants.

Pool: Sometimes I forget that there’s a fantastic YMCA pool nearby to take the kids to. Even better, we go and hang out at my brother’s community pool, complete with a gigantic bucket that dumps water on you every 10 minutes or so. So, if you don’t have your own, find a friend or relative that does. This is definitely an option where you can beat the heat!

Hit the Course: Grab the bikes and find a public golf course nearby at dusk and ride along the cart paths.

Cook: No, I’m not much of one. However, simple snacks like blueberry muffins out of a box are a great way for even a two-year old to become a chef. We have used this tactic many, many times and our son just loves pouring in the mix, cracking the eggs and stirring. Then of course the eating. Other fun ideas are to make popsicles by pouring juice in ice cube trays or making fruit kabobs.

Camp in Your Backyard: Yes, I have a thing for s’mores. But get that tent up and BBQ away. Even more fun? Set up the portable DVD player and watch movies under the stars. Popcorn required.

See? All very Breezy and free (aside from a few ingredients here and there) and a whole lot of fun. Now I’ve shown you mine, please comment and let me know yours!

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  1. Great ideas, and thanks also for responding to the request! We are a smores fanatics too, there is just something so fun (and yummy) about toasting marshmallows! Going to do a backyard campout once June gloom fades away : )

  2. Have you ever made smores in the microwave? You get the same effect (without the fun of the campfire, of course). Just stack them up and heat them for about 10 seconds. Very yummy when you’re having a craving!

  3. Breezy Mama Maria — Mia’s mom — made them for me in the microwave…mmmmm…. I forgot to put in there to “wash the toys.” I just grabbed big sponges and gave them to the kids who are excitedly washing away in the backyard. We will be bummed when the kids realize cleaning isn’t fun -ha! And Alysha, so glad you will be “camping” soon!

  4. Glad I’m not the only one who has a fancy way of saying “go for a walk”. Ours is let’s go see how many cats we can find! 🙂 We also live by a lake so feeding the ducks is another one on our free list.

  5. I can’t believe I forgot one of my favorite destinations: the library! I can be found at the local Encinitas library quite often. Today we hit up the story time for “preschool” age, but there are FREE programs for all ages and they are fantastic.

  6. Wonderful ideas..There are some really interesting articles featured by our experts on the bizymoms Encinitas community experts page.


  1. Breezy Mama says:

    […] — who stop in for fresh muffins that my son and I bake. As I previously have talked about in Things to Do For Free, I am NOT a chef. But with a simple add water, eggs and substitute apple sauce to a mix — […]

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