101 Free Activities for Kids

Games, crafts, and more ways to play at home, indoors or out

children with pots and pans on their heads
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If they are tired of their toys and complaining of boredom, it's time for some new activities for your kids. Keeping children happily occupied doesn't have to mean a lot of expense or preparation.

Simple activities can be just as fun as complicated or pricey ones; what's important is trying something new and spending time together. Let these activities serve as a first step toward engaging your children in deeper conversations to strengthen the bond you share.

Some of the these activities require materials such as food or craft items, but each is designed to be done using whatever you happen to have on hand.

Outdoor Activities for Kids

Enjoy the great outdoors in your yard or at a nearby park or trail. Make outings more exciting by incorporating a craft project, game, or quest (like "find the perfect climbing tree" or "test out three new playgrounds").

  • Build something out of trash/recyclables.
  • Catch fireflies.
  • Climb a tree.
  • Collect leaves and then try to identify them by researching them online or at the local library.
  • Draw on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk.
  • Go bird watching.
  • Go to the park.
  • Have a catch.
  • Have a picnic outside.
  • Have a water balloon fight.
  • Help your child practice a sport they enjoy.
  • Jump on a trampoline together.
  • Listen to your favorite songs together and sing along.
  • Make life-size drawings of each other on the back of some old wrapping paper.
  • Make swords out of rolled-up newspaper, and have a pretend sword fight.
  • Pick flowers and press them in wax paper.
  • Plant seeds from something you've eaten, such as an apple or watermelon.
  • Play I Spy.
  • Play in the sand together at the beach, a local park, or your child's own sandbox.
  • Play tennis.
  • Put on skits for your neighbors.
  • Ride bikes.
  • Capture the Flag.
  • Run through the sprinklers.
  • Sit outside and look at the stars.
  • Swing on the swings.
  • Take a trust walk.
  • Take a walk in the woods.
  • Take your dog to a dog park or visit a local animal shelter (bring a donation).
  • Teach your child how to ride a bike.
  • Visit a garden.
  • Visit a skate park together and watch older kids do tricks.
  • Wash your car together.
  • Watch your child play a sport or take them to see a friend's game.

Indoor Activities for Kids

If the weather isn't right for outdoor activities, try these ideas for creative indoor options.

  • Bake brownies or cupcakes together.
  • Build animal families out of homemade play dough.
  • Build Legos together.
  • Conduct kitchen science experiments.
  • Create a special place in your home for displaying your child's artwork.
  • Create memory boxes for your child's favorite pictures, artwork, and mementos.
  • Do a puzzle.
  • Draw caricatures of each other.
  • Eat breakfast together.
  • Exercise together.
  • Go to a free event for kids' sponsored by your local library or a book, craft, or hardware store.
  • Have a spa night with oatmeal-honey facials.
  • Have a tea party.
  • Have something unusual for dinner like air-popped popcorn and fresh fruit.
  • Help kids clean their rooms.
  • Help fix a broken item or toy.
  • Help your child send an email to a grandparent, aunt, or uncle.
  • Let your child choose what to display in your home art gallery
  • Let your child style your hair.
  • Let your child teach you about something they know or do well.
  • Listen to an audio CD together.
  • Look through old photo albums together.
  • Make a care package to send to a relative who lives far away.
  • Make a family tree.
  • Make a meal for someone else.
  • Make a slide show of your favorite digital photographs.
  • Make a special breakfast.
  • Make a fort out of sheets and couch cushions.
  • Make bookmarks.
  • Make ice cream floats for dessert.
  • Make milkshakes or smoothies.
  • Make necklaces out of colored pasta shapes and dental floss.
  • Make pancakes in the shape of your child's initials.
  • Make up a silly song together.
  • Make your own memory game out of family photographs.
  • Make your own treasure map.
  • Paint your nails together.
  • Play 20 Questions.
  • Play a board game.
  • Play a video game together.
  • Play school or office.
  • Play store, restaurant, or ice cream stand together.
  • Play with dolls together.
  • Pull out a box of toys they haven't played with for a while.
  • Race Matchbox cars.
  • Read your favorite childhood picture book together.
  • Rearrange their bedroom furniture.
  • Record a new voicemail message together.
  • Role-play how to handle a tough situation, like making friends, or saying no to peer pressure.
  • Scrapbook together.
  • Share a memory about how you handled conflict or stood up to a bully when you were a kid.
  • Style your child's hair.
  • Take turns reading to each other.
  • Teach your child how to cook.
  • Teach your child how to play solitaire or chess.
  • Teach one another some new dance moves.
  • Teach your child a song you sang as a kid.
  • Teach your dog tricks.
  • Tell your child three things you really like about them.
  • Visit a local music store and sample each other's favorite artists.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Visit the library.
  • Volunteer together.
  • Watch your child's favorite TV show or movie together.
  • Write a story together.
  • Write encouraging letters to each other and then wait a few weeks or months to mail them.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Write messages on the mirror for one another with soap.
2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Craig L, Mullan K. Shared parent–child leisure time in four countries. Leisure Studies. 2012 Apr 1;31(2):211-29. doi:10.1080/02614367.2011.573570

  2. Lee TY, Lok DP. Bonding as a positive youth development construct: A conceptual review. Sci World J. 2012;2012:1-11. doi:10.1100/2012/481471

By Jennifer Wolf
Jennifer Wolf is a PCI Certified Parent Coach and a strong advocate for single moms and dads.