Play a new sport together. 1
Well, it doesn't have to be totally new, but if your kids play soccer or softball on a team, break out some of your family's less-used sports gear and play a different game together. While your children may love their organized sports, doing something different together as a family is always fun.
Find a new trail to explore. 2
Getting outside to explore some new terrain is a great way to bond as a family without shelling out big bucks for a weekend getaway. Hop online and search for excellent hiking, biking, or walking trails close to your home and head outside for the day.
Camp out in the living room. 3
Turn your living room into a campsite for the weekend! If you don't have a tent, you can even use blankets and pillows to build a fort. Fill the tent with board games, books, and drawing supplies to enjoy together. At night, turn down the lights and watch a movie together, complete with freshly popped popcorn.
Look for in-store workshops. 5
Many larger hardware and craft stores host monthly or even weekly free building or craft workshops for children. It's a fun way to learn how to do something new and bring something cool home without having to pay for anything. Just be sure to check online or call first, because some workshops require registration ahead of time.
Create a time capsule. 6
Have your kids each collect a few things that they feel represent this period in time, grab a box and create a time capsule. You can write letters discussing what you think the most important things people in the future should know about right now. Once your box is complete, bury it somewhere that has meaning to your family.
Find a new playground. 7
My kids are so excited every single time we check out a new playground. Pack a picnic and you could easily spend a few hours watching the kids play and enjoying a beautiful day without spending a dime.
Teach them a new game. 8
Dig all the way to the back of the closet and pull out that old set of dominoes or playing cards or that board game someone got as a gift a while back and never opened, and teach your kids how to play something new. Just yesterday, my son learned how to play checkers and he played for two hours!
Stage your own photo shoot. 9
These days, technology has made it totally possible to create your own professional-looking family photo shoot at home, even without a fancy camera. Get everyone dressed in coordinating outfits, pick a location and figure out the settings on your phone or digital camera and go for it. Just remember lighting is key and you'll probably have to take hundreds of pictures just to get a handful that are just right--even professionals do.
Color together! 11
My kids love coloring, but they really love when I sit down to color with them. And while they like their coloring books, they like it even more when I print a bunch of themed free coloring sheets out for them. For instance, you can print out coloring sheets based on the season or a holiday or a special event that's coming up and use the opportunity to spend quality time together, but to teach your kids more about a specific topic.
Put together a scavenger hunt. 12
You can plan an easy no-fuss indoor scavenger hunt for your kids in no time and at no cost. Just think of some items you know can be found around the house and send them out to search for them. Whoever wins can pick a movie for the family to watch, choose what's for dinner or get a chore pass, so you don't even have to spend money on a prize.
You could even do an outdoor scavenger hunt. 13
If the weather is nice enough, you can even take the scavenger hunt outdoors and have it double as a family walk. Have your kids search for things like a flower of a certain color, a leaf of a certain shape, a feather from a bird, etc.
Plan a new dinner using only what you have on hand. 14
There's no need to go out to eat to try a new recipe. We bet if you dig around in your pantry and freezer and work together as a family, you can come up with a creative and completely new recipe using only ingredients you already have. This is a great way to express some creativity as well as to teach your kids how to avoid waste and to help them try new things.
Get organized. 15
You know those organizing and cleaning tasks you've been putting off? A no-spend weekend is the perfect time to tackle them. But the burden doesn't have to fall solely on mom. Cleaning out your closets and other storage spaces can actually be fun and productive for the entire family and it's a great way to teach your kids how to declutter and perhaps even encourage them to donate to those less fortunate.
Plan a vacation. 16
All that saving money is usually for a reason. Regular no-spend weekends are a great way to save up for things like family vacations, so why not take some time to start brainstorming for your next family adventure together. Gather everyone together and start thinking about destinations and activities. You can even rope older kids into a budgeting lesson while you plan.
Create found object crafts. 18
Give your kids five or 10 minutes to run around the house and find objects they would like to use to create a craft then set them up with glue, paper, etc. and let them get creative. One of our favorite things to do is simple paper collages.
Work out as a family. 19
Teaching your kids how to exercise safely is a crucial part of instilling healthy habits in them and it doesn't cost a dime. Cue up some beginner workouts on YouTube, get everyone dressed appropriately and spend 30 minutes getting fit together.
Work together to write a story. 20
Gather the family together and sit down to write a creative story together. Come up with a topic and go around and take turns writing a paragraph each until your story comes to an end. If your children are too young to write, they can dictate to you.
Do an informal cleanup. 21
Whether you walk around your own neighborhood, a local park, or beach, cleaning up parts of your community with your children is an excellent and worthwhile way to spend a couple hours of your no-spend weekend.
Find a volunteer opportunity. 22
Research volunteer opportunities in your area, such as working at a soup kitchen or food pantry, or helping out at a hospital or nursing home. Plan to spend the day giving back as a family.
Have an old-school movie night. 23
Pick one of your favorite movie trilogies from your own childhood and have a mini movie marathon with your kids. If you don't own the films already, try checking them out of your local free public library.
Build a bonfire. 25
Have your kids help you gather some sticks and logs from your yard or around the neighborhood and teach them how to safely build a fire. Then, roast hot dogs or marshmallows to enjoy together!
Have a dance party. 26
My kids absolutely love when I turn up the tunes and bust out some moves alongside them. It gives them the chance to get tons of energy out and it's a great bonding experience that requires no prep and no spending.
Invite friends over for a potluck. 27
You have to eat and if you have a potluck and you're only responsible for preparing one dish and providing your home as the space, having friends over for a meal doesn't have to cost you anything extra.
Finally redecorate! 28
You don't necessarily have to buy new things to redecorate rooms in your home. Sometimes, just moving some things around can make a world of a difference. Make it fun for your kids by allowing them some input into how and where you place furniture and decor items or even recruit them to create some art for their own rooms.
Go shopping for free. 29
If you or your children have been in the market for anything, but simply don't have the budget for it, you can use a few hours of your no-spend weekend to search for them for free online. These days there are tons buy/sell sites and social media groups to peruse for exactly what you're looking for.
Hit up yard sales for freebies. 30
If you're keen to get out of the house, try scoping out your neighborhood for yard sales. We all know at the end of the day, most people end up giving stuff away for free at yard sales. Some even start out with a few boxes of free stuff for the taking. We've found lots of books, DVDs, and kids toys this way, and your children are sure to love perusing everything to find a gem.