Free or Cheap Fun Stuff and Activities for Kids
The information in this article is current as of March 2, 2022.
Whether you’re looking for weekend activities or ways to keep the kids busy in summer, there is plenty of free or cheap stuff for kids to do across the U.S. From receiving free books to discounted tickets to fun events and activities, your kids have plenty of options for fun on their next day off!
How to Find Free or Cheap Stuff for Kids
It may seem difficult to find economic activities to keep your kids entertained while learning in a world where prices always seem to creep up instead of down. Luckily, we’ve put together this comprehensive list filled with resources for free or cheap stuff for kids!
- Coloring books
- Magazine subscriptions
- Museum entries
- National Park tickets
- Autographed letters
- Educational games
- And more!
Some of these can be mailed to your house after filling out a request form, while others may require you to pay for shipping or request the gift via mail.
Letter From Mickey Mouse
If your child is a fan of Mickey Mouse & Friends, have them write a letter and send it to Mickey or another character at the address below. After a few weeks, they will receive a signed letter back from Mickey Mouse & Friends!
Mickey Mouse (or other character’s name)
Walt Disney World Communications
P.O. Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-0040
Letters From Santa
For those who love and believe in Santa, letters can be sent to the man himself! Some children receive a letter back, while others may even receive the item they wished for! Letters must be postmarked from November 1 through December 10. Visit the USPS website to learn more.
Free Autographed Astronaut Photo
Children interested in space can obtain their own signed photograph of a NASA astronaut by writing or faxing their request to the following:
NASA Johnson Space Center
Houston, TX 77058
Free National Park Entrances
All national parks hold 5 fee-free days for anyone who wants to visit! In 2022, they are January 17, April 16, August 4, September 24, and November 11. Visit the National Park Service’s site for more information.
The Every Kid Outdoors program gives American fourth-graders free access to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters. Not only that, but the families get in for free too!
Free Museum Entry
Thanks to Kids Bowl Free, kids across the U.S. can enjoy two free days of bowling a year. Search participating bowling centers in your state and sign up to be notified when their registration opens. Some centers may also offer ongoing discounts.
Free Movie Tickets
If you live near a Marquee Cinema, you can take your child to see free movies every summer. Check out upcoming dates as we near June.
Free Community Events
Almost every town or county holds community events every month. By Googling “Your town’s name community events calendar,” you should be able to find your city’s official website. For example, the calendar could post cook-offs, film screenings, treasure hunts, holiday parties for kids, marathons, and street parties.
They often offer their own free or cheap stuff for kids throughout the year.
Free Coloring Books
There are plenty of free coloring book options for your little one. Most will be mailed to you for free after processing your online request.
Free Birthday Meals
Many restaurants will give free meals to children on their birthdays. Other freebies might include a free appetizer, dessert, or cookie. From Baskin Robbins to Barnes and Nobles, check out all the free birthday goodies your child could qualify for.
Free Gardening Resources (Including Seeds)
By taking the Butterfly Pledge to help butterflies in your backyard, all the children in your household could receive free gardening resources to help butterflies.
Amazon offers a long list of free e-books for kids! So create a free Amazon account and enjoy these reads from your computer, phone, or tablet.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has free physical books for those five and under. This organization gives out thousands of books to children worldwide every month. The books are ideal for helping kids develop reading and writing skills while having fun.
Another free-book option is Fresh Fiction. This page has free books for both adults and kids. You’ll need to submit a review after reading in exchange for the books.
If you have too many children’s books, try swapping them with the Online Book Swapping Club.
Tons of companies can send your kids free stickers. Each company has a different request process. Some accept letter requests, while others have an online request form. Check here for additional details.
Some of the companies include:
- Racer X
- Burton Snowboards
- Hook and Tackle
- Fish Hippie
- Southern Lure
- Over Under Clothing
- Pelican Coast Clothing Company
- Eastside Longboards
- And more!
Youngsters can start collecting stamps with free stamps from the International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors.
You can find free workshops for kids at retailers, community events, and more.
Some retailers that offer these workshops include:
- Home Depot: offers workshops on the first Saturday of every month on building race car models, mail organizers, picture frames, and planters.
- Michaels: offers craft workshops
- The Disney Store: offers singing and story-telling workshops various times per month
- Lego stores: offers workshops for kids between 6-14 to build a mini-Lego model
- Lakeshore Learning Center: offers arts and crafts workshops for kids 3+
- Apple: offers virtual and in-person workshops for kids around photography, music, coding, and design
- William-Sonoma: offers a variety of both free and paid cooking classes for kids ages 8-13
- Microsoft: offers STEM classes for free for older children both in-person and virtually
- Lowe’s: offers DIY workshops for kids
Geocaching is a real-world treasure hunt. Found in urban and rural areas, different “players” hide containers with surprises for others to find using GPS coordinates.
You’ll need to make an account on the Geocaching app to search for locations in your area. When you find a geocache, you’ll trade out one of the things in the box for something you leave behind. You then place the box back in its hiding place for the next person to enjoy.
Free Lego Magazine Subscription
Children between 5 and 9 can get a subscription to the LEGO Life Magazine. This magazine will arrive at your home five times per year and is entirely free.
Free Printable Activities
For rainy days or at-home afternoons, why not print some of these entertaining activities for your child?
This blog hosts a long list of Lego challenges, cards, and themes you can use with your children’s Lego set.
Dinosaur Memory Game
This printable memory game has different dinosaurs and their names for kids to practice memorization and pronunciation.
Letters for Crafts
Each of these letters comes with its theme. Print them out to have your kids practice spelling, create an arts and crafts project, or hang them on the fridge with some magnets.
For other cut and paste pictures, check out this site.
Cheerios Snack Placemat
If your child loves Cheerios, they’ll love this printable placemat even more! It allows them to position their Cheerios as the letter O in some early-learning spelling words, as well as practice their counting.
Disney Scavenger Hunt
Use this Disney-themed scavenger hunt to find creative items around the house with your kids.
Free Educational Apps for Kids
With kids learning to use a tablet before riding a bike, there are ways to make screen time more beneficial. Here are some education apps to take on the job.
- Khan Academy: offers a ton of books, songs, games, and activities for pre-K to kindergarten-level kids.
- Coolmath Games: This app is excellent for developing your child’s mathematical side from logic to strategy
- PBS Kids: offers a ton of art, math, and other educational games for kids between 3-8
- ScratchJr: coding is not just for adults – ScratchJr lets kids create their games and stories with introductory programming language suitable for kids 5+
- Epic: focuses on reading confidence – free and paid options are available
- Piano Kids: allows kids to explore musical instruments and sounds while creating melodies, solve puzzles, and more
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
Did you know that if you qualify for federal benefits, you may also qualify for Lifeline service? Lifeline is a federal benefit program that allows low-income consumers to receive free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.