15 Cost-Effective Family Activities to do at Home

Nov 1, 2022
15 Cost-Effective Family Activities to do at Home

Many families are looking for ways to save money, and luckily there are many things we can do right at home that don't cost much but bring bags of fun! 

Here are 15 activities that can help us have some fun with our families while sticking to our budgets.

1. Family Movie Night

Family of four on the sofa all digging into a bowl of popcorn

Whether it's gathering around the TV to watch your favourite classic or digging into a bag of popcorn while streaming the latest blockbusters online, a movie is always a great option for spending quality time with the people you love. 

Not only does it give you the chance to bond and reconnect with one another, but it can also be a great way to wind down after a hectic day or week. 

To watch the pennies, have a pizza and popcorn night; throw a pizza in the oven and popcorn in the microwave and you’re all set! If you want to push the boat out a little, order in a takeaway and go crazy with the sweets!

2. Have a Bake Off

Cooking together is a great way to spend time with the family, and the only associated cost with baking is the ingredients. Shops sell baking kits with all the necessary ingredients meaning you can make this a cheap and convenient activity. 

a group of young children and their parents having fun baking all wearing aprons and holding mixing spoons mixing the baking mixture in a bowl

You can make cooking extra fun for all of the family with a baking challenge. 

Put the family into teams, purchase enough ingredients for each team to whip up their own batch of cookies and have a bake off, crowning one group as the winners! 

3. Play Pictionary 

All parents know the pain at some point of your children drawing on things that they shouldn’t in the house - why not encourage that creativity but get the whole family involved?

Pictionary is easy to set up and fun for all ages. Simply get out a whiteboard and some markers, divide into teams, and take turns drawing pictures for our teammates to guess. 

From drawing simple shapes to acting out scenes from movies, the possibilities are endless! 

And whether you're in a good mood or not, it's hard not to laugh when your teammate gives their best guess after seeing your frantic doodles. Harness your children’s creative spirit and competitive nature all in one! 

Little boy sat in the living room drawing on his chalkboard

4. Grow Plants & Vegetables

Growing plants and vegetables is something your children will grow up remembering, as it’s something the whole family can get involved in and requires a certain level of patience and care to ensure they grow so it becomes something they take pride in. 

Soil and plant seeds are both low-cost items that are sold at most supermarkets or garden centres. Simply find a space in your garden or if you don’t have a back garden then all you need is some plant pots that you can pop in the windowsill, and then plant the seeds!

There is nothing quite as satisfying as growing your own plants and fruits and vegetables. 

Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, family activities like this can be a great way to reconnect with nature and learn more about the complex processes of growth and development. 

In addition to teaching children valuable skills like patience, intuition, and self-sufficiency, tending to a garden is also a great way to build bonds within the family. Whether you are nurturing delicate seedlings in your greenhouse or weeding your vegetable plot together at the weekend, tending to plants together can be a wonderful way for families to connect and grow together. 

little boy in green wellies planting his own plants

Watch them grow with your children and have educational conversations about how plants grow and what they need to flourish, enjoy beautiful flowers and yummy veggies that you and your family made possible.

5. Family Game Night

Games night at home can become a family tradition, becoming an inexpensive but super fun evening. 

Ask someone to come up with a different game to play each week, and either borrow the game from friends or family, or create your own game with a deck of cards and household objects. 

Create a fun family experience by adding in games like charades, which only requires props from your home, or if you have some spare cash you could buy a new board game every other month to add to your games night. A small prize or homemade trophy for the winning team can also be a fun incentive. 

Whether it's competitive board games, kid-friendly puzzles, or simple card games, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Not only can it be fun, but it can also give everyone a chance to let loose and relax in each other's company. 

So if you're looking for an enjoyable way to spend an evening, grab some snacks and round up the kids – the next games night is just around the corner! Just be prepared for some serious competition...

family sat down around a fire place outside with fairy lights around and little boy in the middle playing charades

6. Make a Family Scrapbook

Children love all things arts and crafts so scrapbooking makes for a lovely way to gather your family's memories in one creative space whilst keeping costs low and your children entertained. 

This involves gathering old photos and memories and pasting them into a book so that you can look back on all of the wonderful things that you have done together over the years. Not only is this activity fun and entertaining, but it can also help to strengthen relationships, create lasting memories, and preserve your family's history for future generations to come. 

It’s a good idea to hold a scrapbook page night once a month, so you and your children can collect bits and pieces throughout the month to go in the scrapbook. You could even choose a theme for the scrapbook page and gather all of the relevant pictures and keepsakes to fit the theme.

The only costs that will incur with scrapbooking is buying the scrapbook itself and then the materials to decorate the pages, but it’s a small cost for long term fun. 

Grab some scissors, glue sticks, and markers and start thumbing through those precious photos - what a fantastic keepsake to have for everyone to look back on their lifetime of memories!

7. Create a treasure hunt

When it comes to family activities, nothing beats a good old-fashioned treasure hunt! With a little imagination and some basic planning, you can create an exciting scavenger hunt that will keep your family entertained for hours. 

One great way to do this is to start by choosing an interesting location, such as your local park or the beach. 

Next, you'll need to come up with a list of items or activities that can be found in this location. These could be anything from plants or animals to photo opportunities or even simple challenges, like balancing on a log or making your way through a maze. 

Once that's done, you can set up the clues and hide them throughout the chosen location for your family to find. 

With any luck, this fun and challenging activity will bring all of you closer together and give you plenty of treasured memories along the way!

8. Make friendship bracelets

Whether we are young or old, there is something inherently fun about creating items with our own hands. 

two friends holding hands wearing their friendship bracelets

One of the most enjoyable and simple craft projects that families can do together is making friendship bracelets. This activity can be enjoyed by anyone, whether they enjoy intricate weaving and knotting or simply like to string together beads and colorful strands of yarn. 

You can gather your family and have a friendly competition to see who can make the longest or most creative bracelet, or spend an afternoon just chatting while you work on different designs. 

Regardless of how you choose to enjoy this activity, crafting friendships bracelets with your loved ones is sure to strengthen the bonds between you and leave you all with fond memories for years to come!

9. Build a den!

two little girls in a fort made of blankets and pillows reading a book with a flashlight

When it comes to family activities, there are few things more fun than building a den together!

Whether you're hoping to create a cozy little backyard campsite or a giant fortress out of blankets, chairs and pillows in the living room, there are endless possibilities for bringing your family closer through creative indoor activities.

Of course, if building a full-scale fort is too ambitious for you and your kids, never fear – there are plenty of smaller projects that can be just as fun. 

For example, you could try sparking your kids' imaginations by creating indoor tents with blankets or sheets, carving out secret hideaways under the bed with old boxes, or even rolling up your rugs to make an impromptu obstacle course! 

With simple materials like blankets, pillows and markers, you and your kids can enjoy countless hours exploring new challenges and having memorable adventures together. 

Whatever you decide to do, building a den is sure to bring everyone closer together. And who knows – maybe next year it'll be big enough to fit the entire neighborhood!

10. Make household tasks into a fun game with rewards

As any parent knows, keeping a household running smoothly can sometimes be a challenge. Between cooking meals, cleaning up messes, and taking care of all the other daily tasks, it's easy to get overwhelmed. 

But, with just a little creativity and planning, these mundane chores can easily be transformed into fun family activities. For example, one effective strategy is to turn chore time into reward games. 

Whether you have young kids and toddlers or teenagers who need some extra motivation, this simple idea can help everyone stay engaged and have fun while getting things done around the house. 

Some quick examples include rewarding high scores on the dishwashing game or giving away points for each piece of laundry placed in the hamper correctly. 

Needless to say, everyone will win!

11. Play dress up with mum and dad’s clothes

There is nothing quite like playing dress-up with your family. 

Whether you're swapping clothes with your siblings or wearing your parents' old outfits, the experience is always fun and a little bit silly. 

Another great way to have fun together as a family is by having a clothing swap party where everyone gets to wear each other's clothing items. 

Take things up a level and why not stage an impromptu fashion show with a makeshift catwalk? 

12. Let your kids write and direct a stop-motion movie

Imagine, if you will, writing and directing your very own movie right at home! With the right tools, it's totally possible to create an amazing film without ever leaving the house. 

All you need is a camera and some creativity, along with willing participants who are eager to bond over their shared passion for filmmaking.

With phones getting more and more advanced, you don’t need a cinematic camera to produce your home movie - plan the plot, write the script and get filming on your iPhone - you never know, you might just uncover the next Steven Spielburg! 

13. Get artsy! 

One particularly enjoyable way to spend time together while injecting a little creativity and whimsy into your lives is with arts and crafts projects. 

From painting and drawing to origami and jewelry making, there are an endless number of possibilities when it comes to crafting at home. 

Another fun idea for keeping kids entertained is by setting them loose in their fancy dress costumes and masks. Whether you choose princess garb or superhero outfits, getting decked out as a group is sure to be a blast for both children and adults alike. 

And finally, no Halloween would be complete without some awesome Halloween masks! Whether you opt for scary or silly, dressing up and hiding behind disguises can be a lot of fun for all ages.

How Learning Cubs can help

At Learning Cubs we are always trying fun methods to keep our students entertained whilst educating them.

If you’re struggling for ideas on what to do with your children at the weekends or during school holidays, sign up for sessions at your nearest centre!

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