As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many schools remain closed or only partially open and lots of parents are still finding their usual childcare arrangements disrupted. After months stuck at home, you’re probably starting to run out of new and exciting ways to occupy them. As well as finding your kids are less engaged. We take a look at four tips for keeping kids entertained at home on a budget:
Make and play activities
Crafting is one of the best budget-friendly ways to keep kids entertained at home. You can let their imaginations run wild creating all sorts of things that will keep them occupied for hours on end. It’s a lot more engaging and costs a lot less than buying new toys every week.
Give your kids some glue, paint, card, and a bit of freedom and they’ll be entertained all afternoon. You can ask your kids to construct a rocket or build a house out of cardboard boxes and other recycling bits you might be throwing out.
If you’re struggling to think of new crafting projects, a kids’ subscription box will come with everything they need for an engaging make-and-play activity. Rather than spending a lot of money buying new toys every couple of weeks to keep your kids entertained, subscribe to a Sago Mini Box, for activities that keep them engaged for far longer.
Each month a different themed box will arrive that provides the perfect opportunity for child-led play. These activities help teach children valuable skills like problem solving and, what’s more, include a selection of toys, games and projects that cost less and last longer than a family trip to an adventure park or day out at the cinema.
Getting your kids involved with cooking and baking can keep them entertained for hours. And by getting them to try our fairly basic recipes, or just getting them to help out with simple tasks that are part of your regular meal preparation it’s not going to cost you much.
You’ll have to prepare yourself for a lot of mess and the potential for some small scale disasters in the kitchen. But it’ll give you a chance to teach your kids about healthy eating, and the importance of a balanced diet, while also engaging them in a fun activity.
Let them help with some of the decision making as well when it comes to choosing dinner or a baking project so that they feel more involved. You could do anything from making your own pizzas (or just adding lots of toppings to pizza bases) or satisfy their sweet tooth with simple cookies.
If you’re short on time or cooking ideas, then a food subscription box might cut out some of the hassle, and they’re more budget-friendly than you might think. You can sign up to a box such as HelloFresh that sends all the ingredients for set recipes to your door.
Not only will it save you time, but it allows you to control the cost of meals per person. You’ll reduce your wastage, so you won’t waste money on food that you don’t end up eating as it’s all accounted for in the recipes. What’s more you’ll save money by avoiding those impulse buys when you go to the grocery store.
Take your learning outdoors
Without the usual routine of getting up and ready, the school run, and spending the day in school away from home, many kids might be starting to feel cooped up and frustrated.
Take a break from sitting inside doing more formal lessons, wrap up warm, and get your kids out in the garden or a local park. There are lots of things they can still learn outdoors, it’ll help to burn off some energy so that they can be more focused for the rest of the day, and it doesn’t have to cost a thing.
Set your kids challenges like a scavenger hunt to find certain bugs or spot different kinds of wildlife. Or get them to build a den in the garden from sticks and tarpaulins. You could even get them to do some gardening — plant seeds in the summer or bulbs for the next year in the autumn. If you need some activity ideas that you can follow KidsDo: Gardening for lots of budget-friendly gardening tips.
Do some exercise
Another good way to overcome the frustration of being stuck at home is to incorporate some kid-friendly exercises into your daily routine. Give kids the opportunity to pick out some music they want to listen to and ask them to come up with different dance routines. It won’t cost you anything but it’ll keep them entertained and burn off some more energy. Plus listening to music and dancing can help with language development, as well as improving their counting.
You could also try doing some physical education lessons together. There are lots of free workout videos online such as the Little Sports YouTube channel that you can follow with your kids. Breaking up your day with some exercise will help you kids stay healthy while they’re stuck at home, but also help them to concentrate on school lessons afterward.
Keeping kids entertained at home can be hard work and expensive, especially if you’re also trying to work from home. These four tips will help you to break up your day-to-day routine and give kids a bit of control so that they can become more engaged and have fun, without spending too much money on new toys.
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