Are you looking for fun cheap or free activities to do with your family and friends? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun. Sometimes, you don’t even have to leave your house! We’ve come up with several activities that you can do with your family and friends that will help you stay on budget.
Update: We’ve added a few things to this post, so that you can still do these activities even when you’re stuck at home.
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1. Family & Friends Olympics
If you have family and friends that enjoy being active, then this cheap activity is great for you!
This is fun with a larger group of people, so this would be a great idea for a party or family reunion.
You can make your own medals or ribbons for winners of different events.
These events can be wacky to give everyone a chance to win.
Here are some ideas for events:
Stick Horse Race
Put out some obstacles to go around or jump (just like an equestrian event).
Each person has to ride a stick horse (or broom) around the obstacles. The first person to the finish line wins!
If you’re wanting to find cheap stick horses, we suggest looking at resale stores and garage sales.
You can also purchase them on Amazon for more money.
Make a starting line and see who can jump the farthest backwards.
This is a simple event and only requires a line. You could use a string or tape to mark the starting line.
You should have tape or something to mark where people jump to. They should be marked by where their farthest foot lands (don’t include hands if they touch their hands to the ground).
Use a measuring tape to see how far people jumped.
See who can throw an old purse the farthest. Have the people wind up like they would to throw a discus.
Have some way to mark where the purse lands.
Use a measuring tape to see who threw the purse the farthest.
If you have access to dollies or some sort of flat carts on wheels, you can make a luge race.
You could also use gym class scooters.
Have each person sit on a cart and push themselves to a finish line. The first person to cross the finish line wins!
Set up cones with enough space to weave between them.
Have people sit on skateboards and go around cones with only their hands touching the ground.
This is another race, so you would have to have at least two skateboards.
Have people take turns throwing a pool noodle like a javelin.
Measure the distance with a measuring tape to see who threw it the farthest.
Pull Toy Relay
Create a finish line with string or tape.
Have people race each other pulling a pull toy behind them without flipping it over on its side or upside down.
If it flips over, they have to stop and flip it back upright.
Crab Walk Relay
Have people race each other by walking like a crab (hands on the ground behind you and feet on the ground with knees bent).
2. Talent Night
This is a fun cheap or free thing to do with your family or friends.
Have people showcase their talents (even if they are unusual).
Some talent ideas for you: singing; reciting poetry; doing a skit; dancing; drawing or painting a picture to music; playing an instrument; juggling; doing magic tricks; doing stand-up comedy; etc.
3. Make a Puzzle
Jigsaw puzzles are fun to make with a group.
Unless you are looking for a challenge, choose any easy style puzzle such as Charles Wysocki or Hometown.
Also, start out by putting together the edge pieces, then look for like colors.
4. Game Night
Games are always fun for a group or just a few people.
Some games can be played on teams allowing for very large groups.
Some larger group games include:
- Encore (buy on Amazon or eBay)
- Capture the Flag
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf (buy on Amazon or eBay)
- card games (NERTS, poker, Dutch Blitz, etc.)
- Pictionary (buy on eBay or Amazon)
A smaller group can play games like:
- trivia games (Trivial Pursuit, Scene It, etc.)
- Monopoly (purchase on Amazon or eBay)
- Clue (buy on Amazon or eBay)
- Taboo (get it from Amazon or eBay)
- Scattergories (buy it on Amazon or eBay)
- The Game of Life (purchase it from Amazon or eBay)
If there are just two of you playing, you could pick games like:
- Scrabble (buy it on Amazon or eBay)
- Dominoes (buy it on Amazon or eBay)
- Chess (buy it on Amazon or eBay)
- UNO (buy it on Amazon or eBay)
- Quarto (buy it on Amazon or eBay)
related post: Fun Board Games for Adults Gift Guide
5. Go for a walk or bike ride
When my kids were younger, we all got bicycles and would go out and ride together in our neighborhood.
If that is too expensive, you can just walk instead.
Walking is a good time to talk to your spouse or children or a good friend. There are few distractions when you are walking.
You could walk or ride your bike through a neighborhood, in a park, or on a trail.
If you have a karaoke machine, it can be a lot of fun to sing together (even if you don’t sing well!).
I got a karaoke machine for my birthday this year, and we use it all the time.
You can also find tons of karaoke videos on YouTube to sing along to, so you could use your computer or TV with microphones.
If you don’t have any microphones, you can still sing along to YouTube videos. You can search by song or check out some of the big karaoke YouTube channels like: Sing King, Let’s Sing Karaoke, and KaraFun Karaoke.
7. Thrift Store Shopping
Update: Even though you can’t physically shop at thrift stores right now, many resale shops have started offering items online for you to purchase and pickup at the store. Check out your local thrift store websites and Facebook pages to see if they are offering this.
One way to stay in touch with friends or family who aren’t nearby is to pick a city that is half way between the two of you and go to thrift stores in the area.
For years, we have met with our family to go thrift store shopping. We try to meet at least once a month.
We have a cheap lunch and then drive around to the area thrift stores.
Sometimes we find some good deals, but it’s mostly to enjoy each other’s company.
8. Scavenger Hunt
You can have a scavenger hunt where you actually have to bring back objects, but there are other ways too.
Most people have a phone with a camera (if not, play in a small group or in pairs).
Have someone who is not playing map out a course of objects in advance.
This could be centered around a park, college campus, or small town.
Then, have groups, pairs, or individuals find and take pictures of the objects.
For example, we had a scavenger hunt at a local college. Things on the list included – the number 5; a globe; a flower; water; a net; a giant rock; a statue; etc.
If the weather is nice, a picnic can be fun.
When I was a kid, we used to walk on a trail in the woods that led to a creek. We would picnic down by the creek and then play in the water (it was a small creek). It was really relaxing.
You could have a picnic in your own yard or in a park as well.
10. Frisbee Golf
You don’t need to have a disc golf course to play Frisbee golf.
We usually play on a school playground. We try to hit certain objects with the Frisbee like a slide or monkey bars.
Each person keeps track of their own score, and the lowest score wins.
11. Video Games
One thing that we’ve been doing a lot recently is playing game show video games as a family.
We have Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader Wii games.
This has been a lot of fun!
You can purchase a variety of game show video games for your specific gaming system.
- Jeopardy on Amazon and eBay
- Wheel of Fortune on Amazon and eBay
- Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader on Amazon and eBay
- The Price Is Right on Amazon and eBay
- Family Feud on Amazon and eBay
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire on Amazon and eBay
What kinds of fun cheap or free things do you like to do?
Comment down below your favorite family activities.