Kids activities on a budget - 10 tips to keep children happy on the cheap

Kids activities on a budget - 10 tips to keep children happy on the cheap

Kids activities on a budget - 10 tips to keep children happy on the cheap

First published in News

A CHURCH group is offering hard-up families advice on getting through the long summer holidays without putting too much strain on their finances.

Christians Against Poverty, which has centres in Southend and Basildon, says parents often struggle to keep children amused all through the long break without overspending.

It is highlighting free and inexpensive activities which can help make a different this summer.

The charity’s Southend centre manager, Richard Leadley, said: “When the weather is good, the options are more obvious, but when it’s wet, you have to be more inventive.

It helps to have some good ideas to hand.

“Councils have children’s activities in parks, libraries and sports centres, while most museums are free and may have summer events, too.”

Mr Leadley suggests parents should find out what’s available in advance and then make a plan.

He added: “Decide how much you can afford each week and create a ‘treats fund’ – however small. Also, talk about it with your children.

“Involve them in how you are going to spend it and they’ll appreciate what happens so much more. It can also be a great lesson for them.”

10 tips 

1. Make sure you get other parents’ phone numbers before the end of term. A play date is the easiest way to entertain kids and if parents return the favour you might even get a day to yourself.

2. Remember treasure hunts? Geocaching, using a smart phone, is today’s version. Download a free app such as c:geo For details, visit geocaching.com.

3. Avoid the ice-cream van by making your own lollies with cheap moulds and squash or fruit juice.

4. If you’re going out for the day, take a picnic so you don’t need to buy food in cafes. Refill mineral water bottles with squash.

5. Get crafty with papier-mache and card making, or find someone who knits or paints and can share their expertise.

6. Get baking. Buns, flapjacks and biscuits are all fairly easy to make and will brighten up a dull afternoon. If it’s hot, search the internet for fridge cake recipes.

7. Visit someone – a relative, friend or neighbour – who would like some company. It’ll make their day – and give the kids a change of scene.

8. Avoid shopping as a pastime. It’s expensive for you and can get your children into bad habits

9. Become a nature detective. You can download free sheets with ideas to try and places to explore from the Woodland Trust at naturedetectives.org.uk/summer.

10. Don’t feel bad if you can’t afford an expensive family holiday. The most valuable thing you can do is spend time with your children.

Comments (4)

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11:15am Mon 14 Jul 14

Howard Cháse says...

Buy them a ball and let them go over the park to run around and play.

Simple
Buy them a ball and let them go over the park to run around and play. Simple Howard Cháse
  • Score: 4

11:37am Mon 14 Jul 14

Russ13 says...

I hear so many parent talking about HAVING to take their kids to Adventure Island, Marsh Farm or some of the big theme parks on a weekly basis through the summer holidays. I can't help thinking that unless you've got bags of money (which a lot of the people I hear saying this don't) you're just making a rod for your own back.

When I was a kid we would very occasionally be treated to a "big" day out, other than that we'd do some of the activities listed above but mainly play with friends in the garden or over the local park with a bit of supervision from Mum.

Certainly didn't do us any harm and we certainly appreciated the "big" days out even more :)
I hear so many parent talking about HAVING to take their kids to Adventure Island, Marsh Farm or some of the big theme parks on a weekly basis through the summer holidays. I can't help thinking that unless you've got bags of money (which a lot of the people I hear saying this don't) you're just making a rod for your own back. When I was a kid we would very occasionally be treated to a "big" day out, other than that we'd do some of the activities listed above but mainly play with friends in the garden or over the local park with a bit of supervision from Mum. Certainly didn't do us any harm and we certainly appreciated the "big" days out even more :) Russ13
  • Score: 5

1:56pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Kim Gandy says...

Well thanks for the advice but I've already done all of the above with my kids excluding geocaching, which sounds interesting.

The rest is common sense and I think you'll find most parents, unless they're those competitive types, do these sorts of things anyway.

I've spent hours of fun out walking with my kids, beachcombing, bird spotting, doing the free activities and getting involved with local events.

When it was wet, libraries, museums, indoor picnics, colouring, sticking, playing cards and other games.

It's hardly rocket science unless you're the sort that has no imagination and expects everything laid on.

As for parents who indulge on a spendathon during the holidays, to see who has the most expensive days out and holidays, it's best just to ignore those. I saw a programme about it recently. Apparently in some schools, there is even a craze for looking after the class teddy bear and taking it to exotic and exciting places, so the child can read it out in "show and tell".

The largely tasteless and idiotic nouveau riche are the ones who usually indulge in this nonsense.

In reality kids enjoy making up games and adventures of their own and are quite capable of doing that without the help of an X Box or Playstation.
Well thanks for the advice but I've already done all of the above with my kids excluding geocaching, which sounds interesting. The rest is common sense and I think you'll find most parents, unless they're those competitive types, do these sorts of things anyway. I've spent hours of fun out walking with my kids, beachcombing, bird spotting, doing the free activities and getting involved with local events. When it was wet, libraries, museums, indoor picnics, colouring, sticking, playing cards and other games. It's hardly rocket science unless you're the sort that has no imagination and expects everything laid on. As for parents who indulge on a spendathon during the holidays, to see who has the most expensive days out and holidays, it's best just to ignore those. I saw a programme about it recently. Apparently in some schools, there is even a craze for looking after the class teddy bear and taking it to exotic and exciting places, so the child can read it out in "show and tell". The largely tasteless and idiotic nouveau riche are the ones who usually indulge in this nonsense. In reality kids enjoy making up games and adventures of their own and are quite capable of doing that without the help of an X Box or Playstation. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 0

5:04pm Mon 14 Jul 14

whateverhappened says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
Well thanks for the advice but I've already done all of the above with my kids excluding geocaching, which sounds interesting. The rest is common sense and I think you'll find most parents, unless they're those competitive types, do these sorts of things anyway. I've spent hours of fun out walking with my kids, beachcombing, bird spotting, doing the free activities and getting involved with local events. When it was wet, libraries, museums, indoor picnics, colouring, sticking, playing cards and other games. It's hardly rocket science unless you're the sort that has no imagination and expects everything laid on. As for parents who indulge on a spendathon during the holidays, to see who has the most expensive days out and holidays, it's best just to ignore those. I saw a programme about it recently. Apparently in some schools, there is even a craze for looking after the class teddy bear and taking it to exotic and exciting places, so the child can read it out in "show and tell". The largely tasteless and idiotic nouveau riche are the ones who usually indulge in this nonsense. In reality kids enjoy making up games and adventures of their own and are quite capable of doing that without the help of an X Box or Playstation.
You sound like a SOCIALIST begrudging and bemoaning those with a few quid actually spending it on doing things with their kids.. " idiotic nouveau riche" indeed you sound like brother jayman...
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Well thanks for the advice but I've already done all of the above with my kids excluding geocaching, which sounds interesting. The rest is common sense and I think you'll find most parents, unless they're those competitive types, do these sorts of things anyway. I've spent hours of fun out walking with my kids, beachcombing, bird spotting, doing the free activities and getting involved with local events. When it was wet, libraries, museums, indoor picnics, colouring, sticking, playing cards and other games. It's hardly rocket science unless you're the sort that has no imagination and expects everything laid on. As for parents who indulge on a spendathon during the holidays, to see who has the most expensive days out and holidays, it's best just to ignore those. I saw a programme about it recently. Apparently in some schools, there is even a craze for looking after the class teddy bear and taking it to exotic and exciting places, so the child can read it out in "show and tell". The largely tasteless and idiotic nouveau riche are the ones who usually indulge in this nonsense. In reality kids enjoy making up games and adventures of their own and are quite capable of doing that without the help of an X Box or Playstation.[/p][/quote]You sound like a SOCIALIST begrudging and bemoaning those with a few quid actually spending it on doing things with their kids.. " idiotic nouveau riche" indeed you sound like brother jayman... whateverhappened
  • Score: -1

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