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How to Cheaply Entertain Kids

Updated on October 24, 2012

Free/Cheap Kids Entertainment

Kids love playgrounds and the price is right (free).
Kids love playgrounds and the price is right (free). | Source
Local fairs are a great option for entertaining kids cheaply.
Local fairs are a great option for entertaining kids cheaply. | Source
Kids love all things transportation, the bigger the wheels the better.
Kids love all things transportation, the bigger the wheels the better. | Source

From the moment you have kids, everyone tells you how expensive they are. Don't despair - here are tips and tricks to entertain kids on the cheap.

Get Outside

Nature is one of the best free playgrounds imaginable. Here are some ideas on what to do outdoors.

  • Go on a scavenger hunt! First make a list of common items kids can find outside, think pine cones, leaves, sticks, pebbles, etc. Now, grab a basket and see who can find all the items on the list first.
  • Go on a nature walk - Talk about what plants you see long they way, bushes, flowers, trees, etc. Turn over some rocks and see what you find underneath. Don't be afraid to get a little dirty.
  • Scout our a playground - most cities have free playgrounds for kids. Don't under estimate the amount of fun that swings and slides can provide.
  • Ride a bike - Kids today do not spend enough time just riding their bikes.
  • Play tag - Get out and run in the yard. The only supplies needed are a smile. Other fun games for kids include Mother May I, Red Light/ Green Light, and Simon Says. Bring back an old classic and make it your family's favorite.
  • Have a picnic - Picnics are a great way to turn a boring lunch into a fun outing. You can have a picnic just about anywhere - a park, a city bench or in your own backyard.

Transportation Rocks

My kids love all modes of transportation. If your kids are the same, use this to your advantage.

  • Ride the bus - for the price of a round-trip ticket, your kids can see the city from a new viewpoint as you act as their tour guide, telling them all about the sites and sounds along the way.
  • Firetrucks!! Most fire stations allow you to arrange a free visit to see the fire engines and talk to the firefighters. Kids of all ages like this.
  • Airplanes - If you have an airport in your city, spend an afternoon with your kids watching the planes take off and land. Talk to them about where they think the plane might be going, what the passengers are doing, etc. Use your imagination and make it an adventure.

What is your go-to free entertainment with kids

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Kids In a Museum

There is so much to learn an explore in museums, from science to art to history, there is something for everyone. But how do you keep the admission fees from eating up your budget?

  • Check the Hours - Some museums offer free or discounted admission certain times of day. Sure, you can't see it all in an hour, but perhaps an hour is all your kids can handle anyway.
  • Look For Free Days - There are often sponsored days where the museum is open to the public at no charge. Find out in advance when these are and put it on your calendar.

Science Experiments For Kids

Head to your library or search Hubpages for cheap and easy science experiments for kids. The experiments can often be conducted with general households items (translation: no cost to mom and dad).

Kids In the Kitchen

You have to cook anyway, so why not make it fun for everyone. Invite your kids to help cook.

  • Bake cookies or bread to take to the fire department (see money-saving entertainment above).
  • Kids love sifting through dried beans looking for rocks (it's a boring job, but someone's got to do it).
  • Have kids help layer a lasagna.

The key in the kitchen is to make it fun. They may not always get the recipe right, but let them learn, let them try new things and let them laugh. Remember, we are going for cheap entertainment here, not competing against The Cake Boss.

Free Festivals

Get to know your community by scouting out the local festivals. Some of our favorites include:

  • The Fairy Ball - Kids can dress in costume, make fairy wings, dance in the streets and more.
  • The Czech Festival - Kolaches and dancing - enough said.
  • The Watermelon Festival in Rush Springs, OK - enjoy carnival games, a seed spitting contest and all things watermelon.

Arts and Crafts

The hours of fun kids can having doing arts and crafts can't be overlooked. Here are some inexpensive arts and crafts ideas.

  • Recycle - Most "trash" can be upcycled into art projects, like these ideas for old playing cards.
  • Use "found" materials - acorns, leaves, flowers, let nature provide the art supplies.

Have fun

The library is another fantastic way to cheaply entertain kids. It has games, story time, computers and more - what's not to love.

The great thing about kids is that, more than anything, they want to feel loved and have fun. This doesn't take a lot of money, it just takes a little creativity. Have fun exploring your home town or a new city with your kids.


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    • Written Up profile image

      Written Up 5 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK

      Thanks everyone. I just spent my lunch hour today at the library enjoying a free concert.

      ehealer - yes exercise is super important!

    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      ESPeck1919 5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Great ideas, one and all. :)

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hey Written Up, great hub and very useful to people with the little ones that are bored and need something to do. Exercise is important to kids health and this is an important hub. My friends tell me they can't get their kids away from the computer, I am sharing this! Thanks

    • LupitaRonquillo profile image

      LupitaRonquillo 5 years ago

      Nice hub and ideas to think about! The library is where a lot of great activities actually go unheard of..