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30 Fun, Free Things to Do if You're a Teen

Be a Fun Friend Without Spending a Dime

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Teenage boys playing video games
Inti St. Clair/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you're strapped for cash, you can still have plenty of fun with your friends. The next time your friends ask you to hang out, suggest one of these fun, free activities instead of going out and spending money you don't have.
 

  1. Skip the expensive coffee shop and make your own. Brew some fancy coffee drinks, like chocolaty black forest coffee or sweet, spicy Mexican coffee. If you really want to get into the coffee shop mood, read some poetry to each other or have an open-mic night.
     
  2. Turn your living room into an aerobics class. You can find free workouts on instant Netflix (if you're a subscriber) or Exercise TV.
     
  3. Visit a museum. Most museums have a day or two out of the week that's free to everyone - check your city guide to see what's going on by you.
     
  4. Have a board game night. Tell everyone to bring over their favorite games, and draw out of a hat to decide what you play. Serve candy and soda to get people in giggly moods.
     
  5. Watch episodes your favorite TV shows from when you were a kid. Hulu has a ton of shows from the past 20 years, and they're all free to watch.
     
  6. Dig up some pairs of jeans you never wear and recycle them into something new, like a book cover or a practical tote bag.
     
  7. Head to a well-trafficked area - like the mall, or the park - find a comfy spot and people-watch. Just try not to get caught.
     
  8. Play some retro Nintendo games for free online. Unlike a lot of online games, they're perfect for playing with friends. My personal recommendation: Adventure Island.
     
  9. Hunt down a jungle gym after all the kids have gone home and have your own recess. Swings are fun at any age.
     
  10. Have a frock swap. Gather together all the clothes you never wear and have your friends do the same. Put them all in a big pile, then take turns pulling pieces out and trying them on. You'll leave with more clothes you could score in a shopping trip, and they'll all be free!
     
  11. Take your dog for a long walk. If you don't have a dog, borrow one from a neighbor. Your neighbor (and the dog) will appreciate it.
     
  12. Pile all of your old magazines together and have a collage night. Make them with a recipient in mind - like your boyfriend, or your mom for Mothers' Day. Or be selfish and make one for your locker.
     
  13. Play tennis at a free court in a public park. If there aren't any free courts by you, then play on your driveway or at an empty playground.
     
  14. Have a snowman-building contest, a sandcastle-building contest or whatever fits your climate. The point is: building stuff is fun. And it's even more fun when you're trying to win something.
     
  15. Hit the beach! If it's too cold to swim, then just go for a walk along the shore. Collect some pretty seashells or just enjoy the scenery.
     
  16. Watch a random sporting event on ESPN, like bowling or Scrabble. Make it interesting by "betting" on who's going to win. Whoever's right gets to pick the next activity.
     
  17. Bake cookies out of ingredients you find in your kitchen, like these super-easy cake mix cookies. Pass them out to your favorite people.
     
  18. Go sledding down a nearby hill. If you don't have a sled, you can use a (clean) plastic garbage can lid instead.
     
  19. Hit the mall, break into teams and see which team can score the most things for free (without stealing, thank you very much). Award one point for each unique item, like perfume samples and shopping bags. Whichever team has the most points wins.
     
  20. Pool all of your makeup, nail polish and hair products and give each other makeovers. Post the final results on Facebook and see what everyone thinks of your work.
     
  21. Play You Don't Know Jack, a super-snarky trivia game available for free online.
     
  22. Go for a bike ride. Pick your own route, or see if there's a Critical Mass ride scheduled in your town. (They usually happen once a month in 300 cities around the world.)
     
  23. Invite some friends over to play video games. If you're sick of the games you've already got, put out a request on Facebook to trade games with a friend for a couple of nights.
     
  24. Borrow a couple of odd-sounding movies from the library. If they end up sucking, it's no big deal - they were free, after all.
     
  25. Go to the makeup counter at the mall and get a free makeover. (If you like what the makeup artist did, you should probably buy at least one product that she used on you.)
     
  26. Go on a hike and take a break somewhere pretty to write poetry, using your surroundings as inspiration. When you're done with your work, read it and critique each other's work. Submit your favorites to TeenInk or your school's literary mag.
     
  27. Play some classic schoolyard games, like four square, tag and kick the can. If you think those games are only fun for kids, you must never have played them with a group of hyper teens.
     
  28. Play a game of basketball in your driveway, in the park, in your school's playground or anywhere else you can find a hoop. If you're not up for a whole game, just play horse.
     
  29. Host a poker night, using M&M's as your poker chips.
     
  30. Check your city guide to see what free festivals, shows and museum exhibits are in your area this month. Open your mind and go to something you've never been to before.
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