Life Coach Magazine

20 Free Or Cheap Things to Do with Children

By Joblessandbored @UKunemployed

20 Free or cheap things to do with children

I think this post applies whether you are unemployed or not, a lot of people are having to tighten their belts in this economic climate. But the children still need entertaining! My daughter doesn’t live with me but stays for 2-3 days a week and usually more than that during the holidays. Here are some ideas that I found were good at keeping her (and me!) amused:

1. Go to the park – an old favourite but there are always new parks springing up, especially in new build areas. I try and find as many different ones as possible to keep it interesting.

2. Go on an adventure – find somewhere like a woods, forest or nature reserve and let them lead the way. We usually abandon the footpaths and set off through the trees. Just try not to get lost! (Although if you do, it is “fun but a bit scary” in my daughters words)

3. Build a tent/fort – Get together all the blankets, duvets, etc, put some chairs together and so on until you have made your fortress/princess’s castle. Maybe let them eat their lunch in it aswell.

4. Go to the cinema – it is ridiculously expensive for two adults to go and watch a film these days but not for children. Cineworld & Empire cinemas both do screenings of childrens films on a Saturday or Sunday morning for £1 a ticket! They aren’t the latest releases, but it is still a bargain.

5. Visit a Museum – Most cities and towns have some sort of museum, many of which are free to enter. We went to the Natural History Museum in London earlier this year which was really good. I’m not in a position to afford travelling to London at the moment but if you live anywhere nearby it is well worth a visit. (There are always offers for cheap travel to the capital so keep an eye out).

6. Go to the library – I have mentioned the library before, but it is really good for kids and they are never too young to start reading. Even if they just like to go and pick out the books without ever reading them all when they are at home, it is still entertainment for them.

7. Go online – there are plenty of suitable websites for kids to play games and things. Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils are my daughters favourites at the moment. Especially Bin Weevils, it is a kind of social network for children aged 7+ where they create their character, play games and interact with other children in a safe online environment. Here is a good review of it that I came across: Bin Weevils review

8. Feed the ducks – find a local lake/pond and give them your stale bread or buy a cheap loaf. (It is worth noting that environmentalists would advise you not to feed bread to the ducks as it makes them feel full without getting the correct nutrients and can lead to malnutrition. Alternatives they recommend are:

* Grapes cut in half.
* Cracked corn, barley, oats, birdseed or other grains
* Frozen peas that have been defrosted
* Duck feed pellets available from farm supply stores)

9. Sports – if you haven’t got one already, you can buy a ball for a few pounds. Playing catch, football and other simple games is a good way to get some exercise whilst having fun! You can also have races, jumping contests and so on.

10. Making things – Keep your old boxes, tins and toilet roll tubes for them to make something out of. There are plenty of websites with ideas of things to make.

11. Fruit picking – Many local farms have ‘pick your own’ fruit and veg for sale which children enjoy. We picked some strawberries during the summer but if you wanted something cheaper (or free!), then depending where you live there are often wild blackberries on bushes that people help themselves to. Get out there and beat them to it!

12. Cook! – Bake a cake (maybe using blackberries?!) or just simply make dinner, a lot of children will enjoy helping you in the kitchen.

13. Clubs/classes – some local councils run classes at their leisure facilities. My daughter has been to a ‘street dance’ class that she enjoyed and only cost around £2. There are other similar classes and clubs which are reasonably cheap.

14. Board games – these are often just sitting in their boxes gathering dust so make some use of them! Or if you don’t have any then even simple card games will be fun, and you can buy a pack of playing cards for about 50p.

15. Go for a bike ride – Assuming you have bikes, then why not combine this with one of the other activities and cycle to the park, or duck pond.

16. Drawing/painting – This is self explanatory really but a good way to keep children interested is to do some drawing yourself as well. Painting or drawing a picture of each other is always a good idea!

17. Make a treasure hunt – This can either be done in the garden (if you have one) or indoors. You only need a few sweets or a bar of chocolate and you can leave clues for them to find the prize. I normally put some puzzles/maths questions or similar in some of the clues to make it a challenge!

18. Go for a picnic – Another idea that can be combined with others. When you are lost in the woods you might be glad of some food!

19. Write letters or emails to family and friends – Educational and fun for them when they receive them in return. They don’t have to be really long, just a short note is enough. (I regularly receive emails saying “hello Daddy!”).

20. Fly a kite – you can buy one for as little as £5 for a basic kite. Wait for a windy day, (that shouldn’t be too hard), get up on a hill and get flying it, great classic fun!

I hope you find some of these ideas useful and if you have any that I haven’t thought of then please leave them in the comments section, I’m always on the lookout for new activities!

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