You can have great intentions to spend less money. Then enter children. And boredom. And whining. Next thing you know, you’ve shelled out hundreds of dollars to entertain the family and not have much to show for it after.

Here are some ideas to get you through any weekend, no matter if you’re trying to save lots of money or a little money. And if you’re attempting a no-spend weekend with that wallet completely on lockdown? You can do that too.

But first thing’s first. You have to plan ahead to avoid some basic pitfalls. All good plans can implode the minute the first person (kid or adult) gets hangry.

Planning For A No-Spend Weekend

Have a meal plan and make sure you have the groceries and snacks you need.

Don’t go out around mealtimes without food already packed.

Pack snacks no matter when you go out.

Don’t go into a store. At all. Window shopping is a dirty lie. It always turns into actual shopping.

Have an activity plan.

And here’s where the giant list of free family activities comes in…

Plastic car on game board - Giant List Of Family Activities For A No-Spend Weekend

At Home

Fun & Games –

Play board games

Play charades

Play Pictionary

Play hide & seek

Find things around the house or on a walk that rhyme. (From Our Family Code-30 Screen-Free Activities To Do With Your Preschooler)

Watch an old favorite movie you own

Camp out in the living room with sleeping bags, s’mores and ghost stories

Child under pillows - Giant List Of Family Activities For A No-Spend Weekend

Make a living room fort

Make a giant tic-tac-toe board on the floor with books and pillows

Put on a fashion show

DIY manis & pedis

Get Active –

Make a living room obstacle course

Have races like the crab walk, wheelbarrow race, three-legged race, bear walk, egg and spoon race or sack race (From Paper Heart Family-44 Activities To Tire Out Your Kids Before Bedtime)

Put on a talent show

Put on a play

Have a dance party

paper and paint on table - Giant List Of Family Activities For A No-Spend Weekend

Get Creative –

Make greeting cards for upcoming special occasions (From And Then We Saved-50 Free Or Cheap Family Activities)

Make sock puppets (From And Then We Saved-50 Free Or Cheap Family Activities)

Make a collage

Make a vision board

Start bullet journals

Draw pictures

Color

Fingerpaint

Trace a picture from a favorite storybook and color it

Make paper airplanes (From Paper Heart Family-44 Activities To Tire Out Your Kids Before Bedtime)

Create a musical instrument. Add dried beans to an empty bottle or container. Seal it and play! (From Our Family Code-30 Screen-Free Activities To Do With Your Preschooler)

Try out new hairstyles

Try different Pinterest braids in your daughter’s hair

Giant List Of Family Activities For A No-Spend Weekend

Get Cookin’ –

Do a ‘Chopped’ like cooking challenge & let your kids pick the main ingredients

Do a ‘Cupcake Wars’ baking challenge & let the kids be the commentators and judges

Teach your kids how to make your favorite childhood recipe

Child playing with toys - Giant List Of Family Activities For A No-Spend Weekend

Get To Work –

Clean out closets and find clothes to donate or sell

Clean out toy bins and find some to donate or sell

Discover old toys your kids forgot they had

Father & daughter hiking - Giant List Of Family Activities For A No-Spend Weekend

Outside Activities

Take a walk around the neighborhood

Go to the park

Go for a nature hike

Children looking at list - Giant List Of Family Activities For A No-Spend Weekend

Go on a scavenger hunt (while at the park, hiking or just around your neighborhood)

Play tennis

Play dodgeball

Play foursquare

Girl riding a bike - Giant List Of Family Activities For A No-Spend Weekend

Go for a bike ride

Have a picnic

Camp out in the backyard

Have a movie night outside on blankets with a projector screen or just a laptop

Giant List Of Family Activities For A No-Spend Weekend

Blow bubbles

Chalk the driveway

Fly kites (From Coffee After Kids-30 Activities For The Whole Family)

Pick up litter around your neighborhood

Pick up litter at the park

Pick up litter at the beach

Giant List Of Family Activities For A No-Spend Weekend

Take pictures of bugs and research them online

Start a leaf collection

Pick up limbs and branches for a bonfire or small firepit

Destination Activities

Visit a free museum

Visit a free zoo

Take a free workshop at Home Depot

Go on a scavenger hunt at the library

Check out books at the library for a reading marathon

Check out movies at the library for a movie marathon

Walk on the beach

Scope out cool architecture downtown

Ask your local fire station if you can take a tour

Volunteer

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