Looking for cheap activities to keep the kids entertained? Look no further!

Well, there’s two weeks to go until the children go back to school and it’s fairly likely that you are either running low on funds – because let’s face it, the holidays are expensive – or you’re running low on ideas to keep your little ones busy and delay the inevitable plea for a day of devices.

I’d like to share some of the activities I turn to which are either free or low-cost and don’t require too much effort either.

  1. Build a den – When I was growing up, we’d build dens in my brother’s room (because it was bigger than mine) and at the end of the garden. Thirty years later and the idea hasn’t aged: kids still love it. Whether it’s a secret base for their plotting and scheming or an indoor camp, this is an absolute winner and will take them half a day to construct and fill with their essentials.
  2. Hold a mini football tournament in the garden for friends and family. This can be as little or big as you choose, but children love kicking the ball around with each other, it’s great exercise and good for learning about fair-play.
  3. Create a scrap book of your family holiday or of some places you’ve visited. You’ll need a scrap book for this, some photos and anything you or the kids have collected over the holiday. I’ve made more of an effort to do this with my boys recently since I realised how lax I’ve become at getting digital photos printed. This is also a great way to encourage them to do some writing whilst reflecting on quality family time!
  4. Download the Geocaching app and start Geocaching: This is totally free and a great way to get out and explore different areas; if the kids aren’t convinced, the promise of finding hidden treasure should help to persuade them.
  5. Get cooking. Children love cooking up yummy food and as previously mentioned in my post How cooking with your child can be a fun reading opportunity, it really does serve many purposes. You may have recipes that you like to use, however you could also download this free healthy summer lolly recipe that my youngest loves to make and eat.
  6. Have a picnic… perfect after you’ve done number 5! Whether it’s inside or outside; at the park, the beach or in the back garden, nothing boosts the kids’ appetites in quite the same way as a picnic. It’s such a simple idea, but kids just love doing something a bit different and – I’m guessing – they really appreciate the effort you’ve made.


7. Visit free local attractions: Many towns have free museums that are filled with interesting displays and child-friendly activities. The local Parish Church will also usually be open throughout the week and whilst it is a religious building, most include historical information and artifacts.

8. A play date at the park: if you tend to avoid the park, then it may be worth a visit. Recently, many councils have invested money in revamping their local parks with exciting new equipment, as well as exercise equipment. Exercise and imaginative play are all encouraged at most modern local parks, so don’t overlook this local option.

9. Find your nearest country park: They often offer a variety of free activities for children, nature trails, climbing equipment and bird hides.

10. Nature reserves are another super option that my kids always grunt at when I say that’s where we’re going, but then they always end up having a fab time and wanting to stay.

11. Crafting at home: If you’re anything like me, then over the years you will probably have collected a variety of materials that end up half used and taking up useful space. Why not make this the day to get the kids cutting, sticking and creating? A particular craft activity that my kids like to go back to is making hama bead mats – this does require adult supervision when ironing over the creation to stick it together and if your children are under the age of three then greater supervision will be needed to ensure beads aren’t swallowed!

12. Visit the library! As I wrote in one of my first posts, 7 great reasons to visit your local library, I’m a great fan of using the local library and they often have visits from local children’s authors and other exciting events that it’s great to take kids to.

13.  Cinema at home: Close the curtains, fill some bowls with popcorn and put on a film. Perfect for a lazy rainy day!

14. Kids rule! A day where they decide what you all do. Last time I did this, my boys planned a family party, with an interesting mix of party games and yummy treats from the larder.

15. Feed the ducks:  Children love to encounter animals and depending on the age of your child, feeding the ducks might make a perfect day. Children’s farms can end up being an expensive day out, but if you’re blessed enough to live near some countryside, you probably won’t have to go too far before you see some sheep, cows, horses or ducks, so make the most of all of these things.

I often need reminding that making great memories with the kids doesn’t need to be rocket science, so I hope that you found these simple ideas helpful and as always please share any go-to activities with us either by leaving a comment on facebook or at the bottom of this post.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the summer!

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