Around this time of year, people may get days off and not know what to do with their new-found free time. Fun activities may be hard to come by, or may seem expensive to get into, which puts a lot of people off when looking for ways to occupy themselves during holidays and other days off. Fear not! There are many accessible and free activities that are available to practically everyone that can ease boredom and provide mental stimulation.
If you feel as though you have nothing to do, here are 25 ideas to look through (and variations of them), that either don’t require money or are cheap.
This activity has both free and cheap options! Libraries provide free books to borrow, many of which are interesting and can be a relaxing hobby. For those that don’t like to read, there are also audiobooks available to borrow at libraries.
Inexpensive books may also be purchased at charity shops if any strike a fancy. There are limitless options when it comes to reading, as most books also have copies online to read. There is a huge range of genres to choose from!
Reading is a very important activity to do. Check out this article from Think Student to find out why.
2. Board games
This activity can be both cheap and free. Some board games, like Monopoly and chess, have online versions, but can also be easily found in charity shops.
A huge range of fun games can be played with people you know, but online versions can be played with bots or players from around the world if there is no one to play with. Chess is a great game to learn because it improves logic and strategy! The rules of chess can be found here at Chess.com.
3. Card games
Cards are widely available and cheap! They can be played alone with games such as Solitaire (the rules can be found here at Game Rules), or with two people or more.
A range of games for 2+ people can be found here at Well Kept Wallet. Some examples of popular card games include Blackjack, Snap, and Go Fish. There are also numerous websites where there are online card games, such as the website Solitr for variations of Solitaire and Mahjong.
This is a completely free activity, because this can be done completely online or with any writing medium found. If you’re creative and love story telling, this is perfect because all that is needed is the imagination and somewhere to express it.
Poetry is also a good option for writing, as it allows people to express their emotions through pretty words.
5. Word & Number games
This can be completely free online. Word and number games are a good way to improve brain health and concentration. These games include Sudoku, crosswords, wordsearches and many more.
6. Apps on your phone
With the huge influx of new games and applications being developed, it would be a shame to miss out! There is a wide range of interesting apps to download, such as various social media and games, which can be a free fun activity!
7. TV & movies
This activity can be relaxing as no extra effort has to be put in to enjoy it. Simply put on the TV, get some snacks, and have a movie marathon in your own home! Alternatively, various films can be found online and on streaming services if you have access to them.
Cinema tickets can also be quite cheap if you like watching movies and have a bit of cash. Watching movies is a great way to relax and be entertained while not having to go that extra mile!
8. Hide and seek
This activity is a completely free pastime to play with friends. It’s a childhood classic for many, involving a seeker who counts to a certain length of time before looking for the people who are hiding.
It involves a lot of fun looking for a hiding place (and a pinch of stress!) and is a friendly competition.
Keeping a diary, or journal, is a great way on reflecting on your life and organising your thoughts and feelings. It is inexpensive as all is needed is a notebook and something to write with, or completely free if it is done online.
Although art can get expensive to work with, there are still several inexpensive ways to participate in it. All drawing requires is a surface and something to draw with, like paper, notebooks, sketchbooks, and pencils, pens or other such materials.
Free drawing apps can also be installed for your phone or computer if you have one and is a great way to spend time.
While it initially may look expensive to get started, cooking can be done with leftover food in the fridge or the pantry, which can reduce waste in the long run and produce delicious food as a result.
A good website for cooking and searching by ingredient is Allrecipes. As well as this, there are many cooking tutorials on YouTube and other websites to help you start.
12. Building models
While this may initially seem expensive, models can be made from literally anything! Any scraps, any cardboard, any leftover plastic or anything that could go to waste can be a great way to create interesting structures and create something cool.
All that’s really needed is glue and imagination, and both are easily accessible! Here are some examples of animal art projects made from recycled materials in this article from Project Learning Tree. Examples of models that can be made are miniature houses, animals and even people!
Puzzles can be found at most charity shops for a cheap price and are a great way to spend time as they improve focus and visual skills!
14. Making music
This option doesn’t require instruments at home, or any money! Free apps like Garageband and websites like Chrome Music Lab allow users to experiment with tunes right at home.
Chrome Music Lab has a very simple interface that’s perfect for kids and beginners to have fun with music, whereas Garageband is more advanced!
15. Learning a new skill
This is a very wide range of activities and can range from showy and impressive to practical life skills. This can be anything from learning how to tie a sturdy knot, to learning sign language or any other language, or maybe learning how to backflip, or how to riffle cards.
Regardless, there are numerous tutorials online to learn everything you have wanted to do!
16. Working out & exercising
This is a great way to increase stamina and remain healthy. It can be done right at home with little to no equipment, or for a relatively cheap price a gym membership can be purchased, although this is not necessary at all.
Calisthenics is a great example of working out, as nothing is needed except yourself and there are countless YouTube tutorials, and it improves muscle strength and flexibility greatly. This article at Think Student talks about the importance of exercise for mental health!
17. Car games
These games are perfect for boredom in long car journeys and include I Spy, 20 Questions, Two Truths and a Lie, and guessing games.
While a lot of museums do need a paid ticket, a lot of museums also offer free tickets online and free exhibitions sometimes. This can be a great way to see interesting things.
There are a lot of clubs that have free membership, or inexpensive memberships. Clubs and societies are places where like-minded people can be found, and friends can be made.
A lot of clubs in school are completely free and are a great way to connect with people!
20. Walks & hikes
This is a great way to appreciate nature and take some relaxing time off, as well as improve stamina and get some fresh air in! It’s free and only requires you (or maybe some friends too!)
While some sports are expensive, sports like football or any ball sports are cheap or free to play with friends, as well as very fun!
This is a great way to enjoy the day if you live close to a beach and can be enjoyed with friends and family!
This is a great way to improve fitness and stamina and does not cost anything either, just some energy. It can be done alone or with friends!
This is a cool skill to show off to friends and family and involves moving with whatever structures are in your environment. It can be practiced in your area (where allowed) and you may find a local community of parkour specialists!
25. Playground activities
This activity is great to try with friends and can bring about a lot of fun. Games such as Tag or It, Hopscotch, Man Hunt and many others can be played. Here are 30 playground games at Smooth Radio.