Inexpensive entertainment: Keeping kids occupied on a budget!

Inexpensive entertainment: Keeping kids occupied on a budget!

Keeping kids entertained is huge deal when it comes to parenting. Kids don’t keep their attention on one thing for long and can get easily bored- and aren’t afraid to let you know about it either! As parents, we have to find the balance between letting kids get on with their own activities such as playing on the computer or watching tv so we can get things done around the house, and ensure that they’re spending enough time being active and learning. On top of this, getting out and about can often be quite expensive, so if you’re not working with a huge budget, it can leave you a little stuck for ideas. But no need to fret, here are some ideas you can do with little ones when you don’t have a lot to spend.

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Go on Hikes and Bike Rides

Family hikes and bike rides are a great way to get some family bonding time in. You get to do some light exercise and you teach kids to appreciate the outdoors. Do you live near countryside, woods, meadows or a river? Take a stroll together or pull your bikes out of the shed. Enjoy the last of the mild weather before fall brings rain and chilly air. You could look online for different nature trails and follow one, you could even take a picnic and sit and enjoy an alfresco meal together. Make daisy chains, roll down hills and just generally enjoy each other’s company. It’s these simple, silly little moments that make it all worth it. What you will all look back on in years to come with fond memories.

Walk Around Nature Parks and Garden

Another type of place that’s fun to walk around and visit are parks and gardens. These are nicely maintained and often have things like play areas for kids, nicely landscaped flowers and foliage and plenty of space to run around with a ball or frisbee. You could go bird watching together, take some photos and feed the ducks. Usually, these kinds of places are free to enter, you might just need to pay a small fee for parking if you arrive by car.

Go to a Farm

While zoos are a lot of fun, they can be surprisingly expensive. Have a look at ticket prices for your closest zoo or safari park, and if you’ve not been for a while, you might be shocked at the price. Farms, on the other hand, are usually very cheap, sometimes even free. You, of course, won’t get the same mixture of exotic animals, but you and the kids will still get to see and interact with all kinds of critters. Some offer things like feeding and holding baby animals, bird shows, tours and more. It’s a chance to see and appreciate animals in person and makes for a fun activity to spend a morning or afternoon.

Enjoy The Beach

While the weather is still fairly warm, you could go to the beach and enjoy all it has to offer. Splash in the sea, go swimming or snorkeling. If this is a hobby the kids like to do every year, you could look into gifts for snorkeling for their next birthday or Christmas and kit them out. A mask and a wetsuit would both be needed to enjoy the hobby. Even once the weather has cooled down a bit you could still walk on the beach, maybe bring your dog along too. Play beach volleyball, frisbee and collect seashells together. If we get another sunny weekend before the fall weather kicks in, bring along a disposable barbeque. They’re only cheap, a few inexpensive staples like sausages and burgers and you have a fun meal to enjoy outdoors.

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Visit a Museum or Gallery

Museums and art galleries are interesting and give kids an appreciation of history and culture. It’s another way to learn that isn’t based in the classroom and can really help them to develop an interest in this area. In many museums there are exhibits just for children, offering fun interactive areas which will grab and keep their interest. Best of all, museums and galleries are completely free to enter- and they’re indoors too. So perfect for an inexpensive rainy day activity, all you’d need is petrol to get there or bus fare if it’s not walking distance. There are museums about history, space, dinosaurs, animals and so much more- they’re always a fascinating experience.

Rent a Bouncy Castle

This is another good one for making the most of the last bit of good weather in the year. One weekend, why not hire a bouncy castle for your back garden? It’s great exercise and will tire kids out and be a whole lot of fun, an easy way to get them out of your hair leaving you to get on with whatever you need to do about the house. It doesn’t have to be a birthday or special occasion, kids bouncy castles are usually fairly cheap. If you have siblings or friends with kids around the same age, you could all even chip in and pay a small amount each. They will have a fantastic time, and it’s far cheaper than other activities that won’t keep them half as interested.

Go Camping

Going on family vacations are what memories are made of, however, they don’t come cheap. Whether you want an extra getaway in the year or this will be your main family holiday, camping is the ideal choice. You could rent a caravan or RV or take it back to basics and take a tent. You get to teach kids about the great outdoors- collecting firewood and building a fire, foraging for berries, setting up a tent and so much more. You could enjoy a tasty barbeque dinner each night, roast marshmallows and sing songs around the campfire. Sleeping out under the stars and having these kinds of outdoor experiences are great for kids, keeps them entertained, active and don’t cost much.

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Do Some Baking

A fun indoor activity that most kids love is baking. These are tonnes of simple recipes online for cakes or cookies you could follow, or you could even buy a box mix and mainly focus on the decorating side of things. Chances are you already have the staples you need in your kitchen, but eggs, flour, butter, icing sugar and some sprinkles won’t cost much and will do you for lots of different occasions baking. Teach them how to carefully weigh out ingredients and how to mix thoroughly. How to set the temperature on the oven along with the timer. These skills are all useful and help to teach them precision. Once you’re done you can have fun with the creative side, decoration. Icing pens, sprinkles and other edible decorations all work well- and as a bonus, you get to eat what you’ve made afterward.

Discover a New Hobby

Hobbies are so useful for adults and children alike. It gives you passion and purpose, helps you to improve skills and connect with like-minded people. A hobby could be anything from collecting things (something most children love to do), gardening, writing, photography- anything to keep their mind occupied. You probably already have the things you need at home to get them started. Plus, hobbies teach the sorts of things that are not taught in the classroom. It keeps young minds curious and is a fantastic, productive way for kids to spend their time. Try and discover hobbies that you can do together, as well as things they can do independently. That way if you’re busy and have other things you need to do, they can get on with it independently.

Throw a Slumber Party

Slumber parties might be hard work, but they’re fun for kids and allow fantastic bonding time between friends. For girls, you could give them some nail polish, makeup, face masks and magazines along with plenty of movies to watch. For boys, you could set up a games console or encourage them to play some board games. You could get some inexpensive crafts from hobby stores for them to do, and cook up a big pizza for everyone to share. It costs hardly anything but fun for kids and something they will always appreciate.

Keeping kids entertained is hard work, but having a couple of ideas for budget things to do both in and out of the house is useful. That way if you start going stir crazy or the kids have been in front of their screens for too long you have a few tricks up your sleeve for keeping them entertained. You don’t have to keep hearing them wail ‘I’m bored, ’ and you get peace of mind that they’re learning, staying active or both.

What are your favorite budget activities to keep kids entertained? Is there anything that’s not on this list which you would recommend to parents looking to entertain kids without having to spend a lot of money?