It can get really expensive trying to entertain the kids, especially during the school holidays so here is my top 71 activities to do with young children. If you can’t see your favourite free activity send me a message, I’d love to discover some new ideas for things to do with the kids.
1. Go on a stick hunt walk and collect different types of sticks.
2. Cook together. There are so many easy recipes on the internet that you can get the kids involved with and they absolutley love it.
3. Build a den.
4. Paint each other’s faces.
5. Have a mega bubble bath with balloons. Whip up as many bubbles as humanly possible and throw the kids in along with some balloons, they will have a great time and a bath in the afternoon always seems more fun.
6. Do some Nature detective activity sheets. There are so many fantastic activity sheets on the Woodland Trust Nature Detectives website which are all totally free to download.
7. Paddling pool fun. There’s nothing better on a sunny day than getting the paddling pool out and if you don’t have a paddling pool fill up a couple of plastic storage boxes, anything will do and the kids will have a great time.
8. Make toilet tube bird feeders. All you need is some toilet roll tubes, bird seed and peanut butter. Check out our make here.
9. Go on a bug hunt. Educational and fun a mini beast hunt is a great and free way to spend the afternoon and you don’t even have to leave your garden. The Woodland Trust Nature Detectives is a great source for activity sheets.
10. Go fishing. Get a cheap fishing rod or nets and head to your local stream and see if you can catch a tiddler with your toddler.
11. Make a garden assault course. Kids love a challenge so set them up an assault course in the garden using logs, a slide, a bench, anything and everything you can get your hands on.
12. Climb trees. This terrifies me, but my eldest loves it.
13. Egg box boat races. A really fun and easy thing to make using old egg boxes and once finished you can race them in the paddling pool. See our make here.
14. Paint plant pots. Get some old plant pots and let the kids get creative painting them. We just used normal paint which did wash away after a while but it’s the activity which is fun so it didn’t matter.
15. Play pooh sticks. One of our absolute favourites is a good old game of pooh sticks.
16. Play dress up. If you don’t have costumes raid your wardrobe for some quirky things like hats, scarfs, daddies oversized shirts and let the kids create their own costumes.
17. Play cars in boxes. Give daddy a work out and turn those storage boxes into cars, beep beep.
18. Discover trees. Be tactile and explore the world around you, really look at the trees near you and collect different leaves from them and make a scrapbook.
19. Make dinosaur fossils. Make some salt dough and stamp in dinosaurs then bake them and paint them to create your very own dino fossils.
20. Sand play. always a fun activity for kids and if your feeling really adventurous don’t let the rain stop you, bring the san inside and let them feel it between their toes by putting it into a trusty old plastic storage box.
21. Play with coloured water. Set up a plastic box and dye some water with food colouring and then give the kids containers, sieves and other utensils to play with.
22. Go on a bare foot walk. Find a field or piece of countryside where you can go for a bare foot walk and feel different textures under your feet.
23. Bake a cake. Always a fun and yummy activity.
24. Go on a bike ride.
25. Have a picnic at the beach. If you can easily get to the seaside it can be a massive adventure and it doesn’t need to cost the earth, take a picnic and spend a few hours enjoying the sand.
26. paint a bird house. If you have an old bird house lying around sand it down and let the kids create a masterpiece.
27. Go crabbing.
28. Make a bug house. Ours was a but of a mess but we had a great time doing it, we used what we had lying around and my eldest loved it. You can see how we made ours here.
29. Camp out in the garden.
30. Play with balloons. Kids love balloons and yet we never really just blow them up for no reason, we discovered a few weeks ago that when the twins are loosing it balloons rescue the day, we now always have balloons to hand.
31. Go to a local library and discover new books. Kids love discovering new books and the library always seems like a real treat to them.
32. Jump in puddles. Channel your inner Peppa Pig and go for it.
33. Go to a local farm and see the animals. Visiting specialist farms can be expensive so why not go for a walk to a local farm and see who can spot the most cows.
34. Have story time and act the books out.
35. Make your own musical instruments. Use rubber bands and old lunch boxes, and cardboard tubes and rice to create your own musical instruments.
36. Water chalk painting. Check out our activity here.
37. Pots and pans band. Always a winner, noisy but fun.
38. wacky racers in the garden. Get all of the various garden cars and trikes together and have a wacky racers style race, you could even make a route if you have enough space or make prizes.
39. Have a teddy bears picnic. One of our favourite things to do on a rainy day is have a teddy bears picnic in the conservatory, something about it just feels magical.
40. Bird watching. My son loves nature and especially birds so we often do some bird watching and then look up on the internet different bird varieties.
41. Water fights. Who doesn’t love a water fight, grab some plastic cups and other containers and go for it.
42. Do some gardening. Even if you have a tiny garden or just a balcony with a few plant pots you can always get the kids involved with planting some seeds and flowers so they can see them grow and tend to them.
43. Go exploring in the woods. We have so many wonderful woods in the UK and exploring them is a fun way to spend the day. You can even turn it into a Gruffalo or bear hunt to get them excited.
44. Camp in the house. We only have a small play tent so we can’t camp in the garden but that doesn’t stop us camping out in the house. Even if you haven’t got a tent you can always make a den and camp out in that.
45. Go to the park. OK so it’s one we do all the time but there’s no better place to let kids be kids and it’s free. Most parks in large town’s now have some brilliant facilities and many have water play areas so if your board of your local park jump in the car or on the bus and head further a field.
46. Make daisy chains.
47. Make a sensory basket. Grab a variety of different textured toys and even some sensory bottles and let the little ones explore the treasures in the box.
48. Make sensory bottles. Coloured water and glitter, pom pots, buttons, dyed pasta whatever you have around you can create a sensory bottle for your little ones to enjoy.
49. Make sensory bags. Sensory bags are a fantastic and clean way of getting the smallest of children involved with activities. Simply use zip lock freezer bags and fill them with paint or water, dyes and glitter and tape them down to your babies high chair tray.
50. Have a disco. We brought a small disco light on Amazon for about £8 and we use it ALL the time to shake our booties in our very own disco nights.
51. Crazy body painting. If you’re feeling brave stick a roll of white paper to a wooden or lino floor, strip the kids down to their nappies or pants, squirt some paint on the paper and let the kids enjoy. I usually have a bubble bath ready and waiting.
52. Make dyed pasta and go crazy with it. Simply cook some pasta and add food colouring, once dry let the kids play with it. My boys went wild with it.
53. Bubble wrap painting. Stick down some bubble wrap and add paint or if the paint scares you let the kids play on the bubble wrap, they will love hearing it pop.
54. Feed the ducks. Head down to your local lake or canal and let the kids feed the ducks. There are also some fantastic activity ideas on the Canal and River Trust website.
55. Potato print printing. An old one but a good one and we’ve all got old potatoes lying around.
56. Make a nature tray. My eldest loves collecting things when we are out and about so we took an old wooden tray which cars had come in and we turned it into a nature tray. He now has his ‘treasures’ on full display and he loves it.
57. Build block towers. It drives me insane when the boys knock down my towers but that’s part of the fun I guess 🙂
58. Draw each others shadows. Lay some paper on the patio and stand so that the sun casts your shadow onto the paper and then sketch around each other.
59. Lego mania – have a mega lego build
60. Decorate jam jars – You can glue all sorts of things to a jam jar to make a candle holder, leaves, flowers, tissue paper or even paint one. Let your imagination run wild.
61. Build a mega play village. Grab everything from train track to dinosaurs and farm animals to vehicles and create a massive play village.
62. Grab some teddies and have your very own Punch and Judy show
63. Make a castle and some finger puppets from an old box.
64. Make a book. Get your child to draw pictures based on a theme and then turn them into a book you can all read.
65. Make pizzas for a fun meal time activity.
66. Go to a museum. Must museums are free and they make a fantastic day out for inquisitive little minds.
67. Explore the countryside. There is so much fun to be found in nature and it’s all completely free. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
68. Paint each other’s portraits and hang them up like your very own gallery.
69. Turn them into a giant by making a train track around them.
70. Make a giant masterpiece. Use a white paper roll, paint and whichever toys your little ones choose to create a tactile and individual masterpiece all of their very own.
71. Be pirates. Why not hide some treasures in the house or garden and make a map for your little pirates to follow on their very own treasure hunt.