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A lot of variety for little money

Free time ideas for families

Experience nature, be creative, travel cheaply

Whether a visit to the zoo with the whole family, a trip to the amusement park or a beach vacation: Many leisure activities for families go quite into the money. With the following ideas, you can make big leaps even on a small budget.

Experience nature with all senses

How about an adventure in the forest? Nature offers plenty of variety: you can, for example, balance on tree trunks, discover forest animals and insects or guess bird calls. Enjoying nature on a hike with a picnic is also a great experience for young and old. Experienced adventurers can search for animal tracks or identify trees by leaves or needles. With the found objects from nature (stones, leaves, pine cones & Co) can be at home then funny figures tinker or paint.

Water march!

Water exerts a great fascination on all children. Whether it's a regional lake, a nearby river or a small stream: floating sticks or boats, splashing around in the water, throwing stones or building a dam - it's fun for the whole family and your child will be thrilled. You'll find lots of ideas for water games and craft instructions for a small water wheel or a play raft, among other things, in the child-friendly brochure Visit Frog + Co.

Fun and games in the park

Play and fun with free admission brings a self-organized meeting for families in the park. Invite friendly moms and dads to come to the park with their kids and favorite play equipment. Whether it's ball games, bobby car races or kids' bocce, everyone gets to do what they enjoy. Playing and romping together in the fresh air is fun, promotes motor skills and practices social interaction. A picnic is of course also part of it, each family can contribute something.

Discoveries on two wheels

On a bike ride, you can exercise together and expand your radius. Maybe you own a bicycle trailer or know someone in your circle of acquaintances who rents one? Depending on the weather, pack a blanket for the picnic, a ball and a snack. You're sure to discover a nice playground along the way where your child can let off some steam. If you ever want to plan a larger bike tour, you can find many bike routes via the Radroutenplaner NRW of the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Transport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Visit a farm

Is there an adventure farm near you? Maybe even with free offers for children? Then that is always worth a trip. Quite a few farms are happy to receive visitors after registration and are happy to welcome guests, especially children. Not only can you pet cute little animals like rabbits or cats, but you can also discover goats, sheep, cows, pigs and donkeys. Perhaps one may help with feeding or milking and mucking out. Some farms may also have built a barn with straw bales to romp around.

Culture for little money

Would you like to provide your child with cultural experiences at an early age? Many children's and family museums have plenty for the little ones to discover and explore. Check with the museums in your area for admission-free days or family offers. A good and inexpensive investment is a family card for the public library. There you can borrow free of charge lots of books to read aloud and read by yourself, as well as games for different ages, audio books and movies.

Gardening with the next generation

Small (and large) children love to dig in the ground and eagerly follow how a seed grows into a plant. If you do not have a garden, you can possibly create a small vegetable garden on your balcony. There you can plant to your heart's content with your offspring - whether strawberries, sunflowers or fresh herbs. In the process, your child will learn about the cycle of nature and assume responsibility at an early age. As a reward, there are self-harvested delicious fruits.

Camping vacation or youth hostel?

The vacations are just around the corner and you want to take a vacation? Affordable offers and exciting experiences for families are provided by the youth hostels in NRW. They are often located in scenic regions or are suitable as starting points for city trips. Many houses have family rooms, where you have everything you and your offspring need. Catering is also provided!

A great experience - and for children a great adventure - is a camping vacation in a tent. And inexpensive is this form of travel in any case. New campers can often borrow the basic equipment from friends and family.

More informationLinks for further reading

On the NRW Tourismus website you will find information and further suggestions on attractive excursion and travel destinations for families in NRW.

The State Office for Forests and Timber of North Rhine-Westphalia provides information on its website about forest information centers, barrier-free paths or adventure trails. Also dates du events, of exciting leisure offers, over ranger routes up to information meetings and conferences are to be found here.


The bike route planner of the Ministry of Transport of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia supports you in planning your individual bike tour and also provides information on places of interest or overnight accommodations.

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