How to Keep Young Kids Entertained Without Spending a Penny

happy familyThe other day Alexa from Single Mom’s Income shared some of her favorite inexpensive ideas for keeping young children entertained.  Some of her suggestions include coloring books, board games, and family trips to the library.  Those are all great ideas, but what if you’re on the road or in a waiting room where you don’t have access to any of those things?

As a father of three kids myself (aged 9 ½, 8, and 4) I’ve had plenty of experience when it comes to keeping little ones entertained, and sometimes you’ve got to improvise and make up a game on the fly.

Below I’ve listed three ways to keep your kids entertained and they’re all completely free.  Each of these was a spur of the moment idea that my kids really enjoyed.  Combine them with Alexa’s suggestions and you’ll have no problems keeping your kids busy.

Find the Lizard

The name sounds weird but it’s really just a hidden object game.  When my son was first born I brought the girls to the hospital to meet him. They got pretty restless hanging out in the hospital room, so I started looking for something to keep them occupied.

I looked around the room and saw a toy lizard sitting on the table and a light bulb went off in my head. The girls closed their eyes while I hid the lizard somewhere in the room and then we all had a good time watching them try to find the lizard.  They enjoyed the game so much that we continued playing it long after we brought their little brother home from the hospital.

Obviously you don’t have to use a toy lizard to make this game work.  Just pick any object that’s handy and have a good time.

The Whistle Game

This game is always good for a laugh.  Just pick a song that everyone would know and start whistling while the other players guess which song it is.  It could be a pop song the kids have heard on the radio, but I usually choose a cartoon theme song or a something from a family movie they’ve seen.  Little Bear, Elf, and the Muppets are some of my favorite tunes to whistle, though sometimes I mix it up with the theme from The Cosby Show just for laughs.

Guess Who

There is a board game version of this game, but I find the homemade version a lot more fun.  Just choose a character from television or movies and start describing them while the other players have to guess who you’re describing.  For example I might start out giving clues like these…

It’s a boy.  He’s very big.  He has big hands.  He has a bad temper.  He likes breaking things.

If you guessed Wreck-It Ralph, you win!

When you think about all the characters you know from movies and TV this game really could go on forever.

What about you?  Do you have any suggestions for free or inexpensive games to keep young kids entertained?

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Mike is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in finance and parenting topics. He is a dedicated husband and father of three who is obsessed with creating multiple streams of income and building wealth so he can achieve true financial freedom for his family. Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our free RSS feed and follow us on Twitter.

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  1. says

    Good suggestions there Mike. I remembered when I was young, my mother would entertain me with stories when we were waiting for my dentist. Never cost a penny but those stories always made me feel pretty brave when I walked inside the dentist’s room.

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