It’s the age-old question: how can you entertain your kids without spending too much money? During summer holidays, Christmas breaks, and half-terms, kids can become seriously restless if they don’t have anything to do. Sometimes, boredom is good, but not always. You might want to keep them occupied, but not know how to do so without breaking the bank or shelling out too much cash. Don’t worry – we’re here to help you. Here are 10 ways you can entertain your kids without splashing out.
Give them a nice garden
You’d be amazed how quickly your kids’ imaginations will fill in the blanks if you just provide a nice space in which they can play. A well-tended garden can become a distant planet, a lawless Western town, and just about anything else your kids might want it to be. You might even want to install a greenhouse from a reputable seller, e.g. Cultivar. A greenhouse not only gives your kids another place to play but is also a great way to grow your own food.
Try free-to-play games
If you’ve bought your kids a gaming console, chances are there are lots of free-to-play games out there they’d love. Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Warframe are all great options if your kids are looking for something to do. All of these games are totally free, and if you’ve got a decent PC knocking around, you might even be able to play them on PC without having to buy a console. Be sure to monitor your kids’ play time appropriately, of course.
Play board games
Ah! The dreaded Monopoly! While this game has a seriously negative reputation for (possibly) a good reason, there are plenty of board games out there that you and your kids could play together. Mysterium, for example, is a spooky asymmetrical multiplayer game which sees you and your family co-operating to find a killer (don’t worry, it’s not too scary). For older kids, you could also check out Pandemic Legacy; it requires a longer commitment but is great fun.
Set up a treasure hunt
Kids love treasure hunts. Trust us; we did enough of them when we were kids to know how effective they can be. The best thing about a treasure hunt is that it really doesn’t have to end up with anything expensive or particularly impressive. Even if you just want to set up a hunt with your kids’ favourite treat at the end, a treasure hunt can be the perfect way to inject a little mystery and spice into proceedings. Be creative with the clues; that way you’re having fun making the hunt and they’re enjoying solving it!
Try co-operative (or competitive) gaming apps
Since kids these days are apparently always glued to their phones (don’t ask us, it’s an accusation often leveled at the poor guys), you might want to look into ways you can use this for much-needed family time. Co-operative gaming apps like Spaceteam can be an excellent way to use your kids’ love of their phones in a positive way. You could also set up games of Words With Friends 2 with your kids. This game has the added benefit of testing their grey matter a little!
Start a creative project
Your kids might not respond too well to this, but if you’ve got a close relationship with them then it may well be worth suggesting that you all start a creative project together. This could be anything from a large painting to a piece of DIY or a craft project. Doing this will strengthen the bonds between you and your kids and will also mean you’ve all got something to do during those long days when nothing much else is really happening. Encourage creativity!
Cook something together
You’ve probably baked with your kids before (and if you haven’t, that’s also an excellent option), but cooking a full meal together is another proposition entirely. By cooking with your kids, you can encourage good nutrition and set them up for healthy eating throughout the rest of their lives. Cultivating a positive attitude towards home cooking is a great way to get your kids to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and it’s also just great fun to experiment in the kitchen and see what you can come up with!
Play some sports with them
Many sports are easy and cheap to set up in your back garden or in a nearby field. If you want low-budget sports to play with your kids, you can’t go far wrong with classic options like football, swimming, or tennis. You’re probably within shouting distance of a tennis court that you can hire out, and football doesn’t require much more than a couple of jumpers for goalposts. Just like cooking, playing sports with your kids can encourage a healthy lifestyle, so what are you waiting for?
Try some creative writing
Encouraging a creative writing talent within your kids is a beautiful thing. Who knows? You might well have a best-selling novelist, poet, or playwright on your hands, and you’ll never know until you give it a shot. Ask your kids if they have any ideas for stories they want to tell, then workshop the ideas with them until they’re in a solid format. Work with them closely to help them write the story, flesh out the characters, et cetera. Collaboration is magical, after all!