30 Cheap Family Fun Night Ideas

Make memories with your family with these 30 cheap family fun night ideas! 

Can we be honest here? I’m desperate for a family fun night that doesn’t include a movie.

Nothing against movies…but I’m a little over sitting on the sofa and hoping that my kids remember that time we watched a Disney movie together.

Can we still have movie nights together as a family? Absolutely!

But as my kids grow up, I want to become more intentional about family fun night ideas that don’t include the television.

I also don’t want to spend a fortune on laser tag or mini-golf for our entire crew. I’m determined to keep our family fun nights cheap and budget-friendly. That’s why I’ve made a list of 30 cheap family fun night ideas that we will be trying soon! 

Benefits of spending time together

Some of my favorite memories growing up are when our family played board games in the living room. The television was turned off and the music was turned up!

Spending time together as a family has many benefits. Below are just a few of them:

  • Family is made a priority. Spending time together as a family is the best way to make your family a priority in your life. Dedicate one night each week as your “family fun night.” You will be surprised at just how much you look forward to these nights together!
  • Memories last a lifetime. These are the moments that your children will look back on fondly. These are the moments that your children will pass on to their children. Family fun nights provide memories that will last forever. 
  • Children feel special and connected to the family. Guess what…kids know when you don’t want to spend time with them. They can sense it. Implementing family fun nights into your weekly schedule is a great way to ensure your children feel special and connected to everyone in the family.

Check out these 30 cheap family fun night ideas that you’ll love! (Bonus: none of them include movies!)

1. Volunteer together

If you want your children to value giving back to others, then get them volunteering in the community! Whether you take an evening to write cards for people in a nursing home or go help out in your community, volunteering together is a wonderful way to spend time as a family! 

2. Have a backyard campout

If you have a tent, then why not enjoy a night under the stars? Plan to sleep outside as a family for a night of fun! Make it even more memorable by roasting smores and playing outdoor games. We had a backyard campout a few months ago and our kids are still talking about it! 

3. Create a scavenger hunt

This one takes a little thought, but creating a scavenger hunt for your family is an excellent way to spend an evening! Send your family hunting for clues all over the house or even all over the neighborhood! The end prize could be a treat back at home. This activity will be one your kids will talk about for years to come.

4. Build your own pizza

Gather up all the toppings for a fun pizza night! You can either make the dough yourself or buy small pre-made pizza crusts at the store. Allow kids to build their own pizza and try out new toppings! This activity gets the kids in the kitchen too!

5. Set up an ice cream bar

Hit up the grocery store for all the ice cream toppings and set up an ice cream bar! Kids will love trying out different candy and toppings on their ice cream. A great place to grab inexpensive ice cream toppings is the dollar store! Just grab a few candy bars that you can chop up and set in a bowl.

Ice Cream Scoops

6. Go on a family nature walk

This is one of my personal favorite ways to spend time together as a family! Either walk right out your front door or drive to a park with gorgeous scenery. Have your kids find as many different leaves as possible. This will keep them entertained while also getting them out in nature. 

7. Create a family time capsule

Take a night to build a family time capsule that you’ll open up in 10, 20, or even 30 years! Each member of the family can write a letter to their future self or add an object that is meaningful to them. Put the time capsule up in the attic with a date on the box for when it should be opened! Want to make it even more fun? Bury it in the backyard!

8. Play charades

Playing charades is such a FUN thing to do with the entire family! You can act out movie titles, sayings, or even names of people in the family. This is sure to be an activity that will bring lots of laughs!

9. Have a board game night

Allow each person in the family to pick a board game to play! This will be sure to last you several hours of entertainment. This is also a great way to go through the board games that your family has grown out of…donate them to your local church or another family in your neighborhood.

10. Create chalk art outside

Get your kids (and adults!) outside and let them explore their creative side. There are tons of fun ways to create chalk art outside! Here’s a list I found of 101 genius outdoor sidewalk chalk ideas to crush boredom!

Outdoor Chalk Art

11. Play bingo together

You can find a ton of free bingo games online that you can print straight at home! Use old game pieces or legos as your markers. I don’t know why, but kids LOVE bingo. This is sure to be something they will want to do again!

12. Have a family book club

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to read a book aloud. We try to choose a book that everyone will like. I love it when we find a series that has my children saying “just one more chapter!” This might be one of my favorite cheap family fun night ideas.

13. Go on a bike ride

Get your family moving with a long bike ride! You can even grab a loaf of bread and ride your bikes to a pond where you can feed ducks.

Family Bike Ride

14. Minute to Win It game night

Your family is sure to have a blast with these Minute To Win It games! This site has over 200 games that are perfect for both adults and kids! Chances are you’ll be able to find a ton of games that you don’t even need to buy supplies for.

15. Have a nerf war night

Team up and use those Nerf Guns! We love to build bunkers in our house and have a nerf war. To be honest, it usually ends up being me and the kids vs. my husband. Everyone has a blast!

16. Water balloon fight

Grab a few water balloons and have some fun! This was by far one of my favorite things to do as a kid. You’ll be sure to make memories this way!

17. Go fishing

Chances are you have a fishing pole hanging in the garage. Grab it and head to the nearest lake, pond, or body of water. Allow the kids to participate! You can also pack a few snacks or lunch to bring along.

18. Decorate cookies

Whether you buy sugar cookies to decorate or bake them yourself, every kid loves using icing and sprinkles to decorate cookies. You could even have a contest for the best-decorated cookie!

Decorate Cookies Together

19. Work on a jigsaw puzzle together

Grab a puzzle (or borrow one from a friend) and work together to finish it in 2 days! We currently have a puzzle out on our table and the kids love coming back to it over and over.

20. Get creative with cardboard boxes

Give each person a cardboard box and announce a theme. Every family member must construct an object that represents that particular theme out of the box and items found around the house! 

21. Have a lego building competition

Dump a ton of legos on the dining room table and get to building! Break up into teams and build something impressive. You can even facetime grandparents to vote on the winners.

22. Backyard Olympics

Set up an evening of backyard Olympics! This site has a TON of cool games that every age will love! Better yet, get several families together to participate.

23. Go geocaching

Geocaching is the perfect way to get your kids out of the house and on the move! There are several apps to choose from. You and your kids will love hunting for little treasures all over your neighborhood or town.

24. Learn magic tricks

Who doesn’t love a good magic trick? Your kids will LOVE learning magic tricks and then showing them to their friends and teachers after they’ve learned them. Here’s a website with magic tricks for beginners!

25. Go kayaking

Anything out in nature is a great way to connect the family and make memories! If you have a kayak, you’re set. If not, a lot of times you can find a local park or lake to rent them for very inexpensive. It’s a memory your kids will never forget!


26. Download the constellation app

Did you know you can see planets and stars with your naked eye? Well…that is if you download a constellation app! Your kids will love seeing where the planets and popular star constellations are in the night sky. It’s a great time to get outside at night and stare up at the sky!

27. Put on a family talent show

We have done this a few times and had so much fun! You can sing, dance, do comedy, play an instrument, and anything else your kids have a knack for. It’s a great way to celebrate each other’s strengths and talents while laughing and making lots of memories in the meantime.

28. Have a picnic

You can pack up food from home and head to your local park for a picnic! If you’re wanting to get out in public, you can even pack a meal for your kids and have a picnic in the backyard. It’s a great way to make memories at home or outside- and it’s free!

29. Make your own bubbles

This is such a fun little science project that your kids will LOVE! I found an article that has a recipe to make your own bubbles with products you probably already have in your home! Check it out here

Make Your Own Bubbles

30. Plant a garden

Head to your local garden center and pick up some seeds to plant your own garden. You can also pick up pre-potted herbs and vegetables to grow on your porch or in your kitchen. Your kids will love watching them grow and will learn so much, too!

Remember, no matter what other families are doing on social media, keep in mind that family fun doesn’t have to be elaborate! You don’t have to go to TopGolf, arcades, event centers, concerts, etc. for it to be memorable for your kids. 

When they look back on their childhood, I’d be willing to bet the little things are what they’ll remember the most! Plus, you won’t break the bank making memories with cheap family fun night activities like these! Have fun!!!

Other Articles You Might Like