10 Ways to Keep Kids Busy and Entertained on a Budget

Keeping active kids busy and entertained on a budget can often be a challenge. Sometimes when my son was younger, I liked to just take him to a fun place where he could run around and get all his energy out.

He still likes to go on fun outings and do things like this, but places like indoor trampoline parks in our area are expensive. Plus, summer camps and other activities can add up as well.

Still, it’s important to make sure your kids are socializing and staying active without watching TV or looking at a tablet screen all the time. If you’re looking for some creative options that won’t break the bank, here are some great ways to keep kids busy and entertained on a budget.

Ways to Keep Kids Entertained on a Budget Indoors


You can always find books for cheap or even rent them for free from your local library. Reading books is a great way to help kids learn and keep them entertained on a budget. If your child can read books on their own, ask them to spend 30 minutes reading a book they like. This will keep them busy enough to allow you to do some work around the house or catch up on a smaller task.

Plus, your child is bound to go on reading for longer than 30 minutes if they enjoy the book they have.

RELATED: 7 Books to Help You Manage Money Better

A Spare Box

Younger kids and toddlers will enjoy imaginative play with just about anything – including a spare box. Yes, a plain old cardboard box can keep your young kids busy for hours. Allow them to color the box, sit in it or play with it in any other way that’s safe and they’ll be entertained for quite some time.


Working on puzzles is another great way to keep kids entertained on a budget. There are tons of different types of puzzles for each difficulty level and this is also something siblings can work on together as a team.

It's important to make sure your kids are socializing and staying active without watching TV Click To Tweet

Coloring, Drawing, and Activity Books

My son loves to draw and it keeps him busy for hours. Before getting into drawing, I’d get him coloring books and activity books from the dollar store to use. Some of the activity books have fun games and mazes that kids can work on.


Spread out all the Legos onto the table or living room floor one Saturday and let your kids create different things. You can pull up ideas online of figures to create and encourage your kids to have fun with their playtime.

Ways to Keep Kids Entertained on a Budget Outdoors

Go to the Park

Spending time at the park never fails when kids just want to get out of the house and run around. Plus, it’s always free. You can bring toys and snacks to the park, or enjoy the stuff that’s already there when you arrive. If you live near a school, stopping by their playground for a quick play session is an easy way to keep kids busy and active.

Free Zoo or Museum

Another great way to keep kids entertained on a budget outdoors is to visit a free zoo or museum in your area. There may be some places that are free all the time while others may have certain days for free admission. Do your research and plan a fun day trip accordingly.

RELATED: 6 Awesome Apps to Find Budget-Friendly Family Activities

Set up a Playdate

It’s easy to invite a friend over to play when your child is bored or looking for something to do. I honestly wish most parents would do this but all it really takes is for one person to step up and propose that the kids get together. It doesn’t take much to have a friend over. Just grab a few snacks and set out a few things the kids can do whether it’s playing outside or watching a movie and playing games indoors.

Enroll Your Child in a Club or Sport

Clubs, classes, and sports teams for kids don’t have to be super expensive. Consider checking with local community groups to see which programs they offer or see if you may qualify for a discount or scholarship through your park district.

In the past, I’ve found free soccer programs for my son to join that were run through churches. I also found out his school offers free after school sports and other clubs to join throughout the year.

Library Activities

No matter what, you can always count on your local library to have some fun activities that your kids can do to stay busy. The library may offer events like storytime, games, crafts, competitions, and even movie day. They generally do a good job of breaking up activities by age group and they are usually free.


As you can see, you don’t need a lot of money to keep kids busy and entertained on a budget. Just focus on being creating when you have to stay indoors and look toward your community for resources, events, and programs that are budget-friendly and still enjoyable.

What do you have planned to keep your children entertained?