When the kids are home for summer it’s important to have home entertainment options that don’t cost a fortune. There are endless choices of expensive entertainment products. Some families add very expensive media rooms with movie theater technology. Parents can buy all the gaming systems, but every year there will be a new one to compete with your children’s attention.

What’s really important with families isn’t the amount of money spent on entertainment, but are the family members actually having fun? Children and adults won’t laugh any more when spending a ton of money than when they play a free game. Playing games like tag don’t cost a penny and yet children will play it over and over, having a great time.

I love streaming services for home entertainment, but the cost can really add up. Although you can add a cheap service like Netflix or Hulu, then you’ll be tempted to add others. Adding Disney+, and other plus channels is just the beginning. All the sports channels have added plus channels that cost more. After you add the new channels, there will be more that tempt the pocket-book.

Board games are a very cheap form of home entertainment. The old classics like Monopoly can easily bring your family together, as you play an hours-long marathon game. Many games are interactive and physical, such as Twister. And, you can really customize your game cabinet to work with the tastes of your kids and spouse.

Monopoly Game

If you don’t mind getting messy, your family can get a lot of entertainment by creating art. Art could be so many things: painting, drawing, sculpting, and crafts of all types. Buying canvas and paints, sculpting clay, jewelry making supplies, or sewing projects can get overwhelming. Arts and crafts can get very pricey, especially if you have the entire family participating. All you have to do is visit a craft store and see all of the supplies you’ll need to get creative to see how expensive it can be.

What’s more entertaining than food? This can be a frugal idea, because you have to eat anyway, so why not make it entertaining? Make a lot of pizza dough and divide it into amounts so that everyone will get their own. Let everyone create their own pizza by adding the toppings that they like. This is an idea that helps children learn about cooking, ingredients, and the work it takes to create a meal. But, all they’ll know is that they had fun and loved eating a great pizza.

All children love active entertainment. They love the freedom to take all the cushions off the couches and chairs and build a “fort”. Let them have blankets to connect the forts and they’ll have a large place to play make-believe. Young children can spend days living in their fort city. This is free entertainment as long as mom and dad don’t need the living room for guests.

Old-school entertainment is always appropriate, but sometimes the family wants something a little more high tech. Video games and computer games will always be fun for every member of the family. And, there are games that all members will enjoy. Instead of spending money on tons of games, we like to play free games online. I love the simple games, like Minigolf World. I’m not that great at video games, but after a few tries I started getting the hang of it. It is a blast!

MiniGolf Screenshot
sponsor: plays.org screenshot

The games for very young children are simple and cute. I like the Dot to Dot and Play Cute Shapes Game. Children are able to create little emoji shapes and can make them in various colors. There is even a camera icon so that they can take a picture and save it. The Bible Coloring Book is so neat and very easy to use. Kids can click on the color and then use it to color a scene from the Bible. An eraser is available to corrects mistakes. I love it!

When you plan family entertainment, you’ll have more fun if you have been frugal because no one wants to pay the bills. I like to keep a list in my journal, so that I can keep bringing up fresh, new ideas for my family.

@2021, copyright Lisa Ehrman

Lisa Ehrman

Lisa has been blogging since 2013, and loves sharing resources and ideas for living a simple life. To get free printables, bonus words, and more - sign up for the newsletter.


Gladys Aguilar · May 17, 2021 at 9:24 pm

I will definitely be using some of these ideas! Thanks!

Debbie P · May 25, 2021 at 8:43 pm

Thanks for the great ideas. Call me cautious but even getting the covid shots, I still don’t want to hang out in big crowds. I appreciate these a lot.

Edna Williams · June 10, 2021 at 3:33 am

When families are spending time together, it’s nice to do something besides just watch TV. Thanks for sharing these great ideas!

Lauryn R · June 18, 2021 at 3:07 pm

These are great ideas for spending time as a family, thanks for sharing! We love playing board games as a family, it’s great non-screen bonding time!

Christina Gould · June 20, 2021 at 11:39 am

Board games are my favorite way to spend family night. Thanks for posting!

Edna Williams · June 28, 2021 at 11:19 am

When families love entertainment, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun! Thank you for the wonderful ideas!

Heather · July 1, 2021 at 5:27 pm

These are some great ideas thanks for sharing. We so love to play board games.

Heather Swanson · July 14, 2021 at 10:38 am

love board games

Sarh Snarski · July 20, 2021 at 8:39 am

I try to switch it up and cover all of my bases. If you only do one of these things it becomes boring quickly, gotta keep switching it up.

Judy Lipcsak · September 14, 2021 at 8:58 am

My grandchildren actually asked to learn chess and backgammon. It’s a terrific way to spend an evening.

Donna · September 15, 2021 at 11:53 am

Really cool ideas! Making pizzas together would be such a fun family activity. Minigolf World sounds like a game I would enjoy.

wen budro · September 25, 2021 at 5:47 pm

Those are some great resources for frugal home entertainment. Netflix, Hulu, etc. keep raising their prices so I take advantage of free movies on You Tube.

Brooke Showalter · September 27, 2021 at 8:05 pm

Lots of fun ideas, thank you for sharing! We love finding a free family-friendly film (there are some good options on Tubi, and I love that there is a faith category!), popping some popcorn, and snuggling up for a fun movie day.

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