How to entertain kids on a budget
Heading out and about
There are stacks of outdoor activities that will keep children entertained for hours and won't always have you reaching for your wallet to pay for them.
Organise a group of mums and start a pram walking group. You will enjoy the exercise and the babies will love being out and about.
- Go for a pram ride with baby
Tired of your regular park, find a new place to play and enjoy exploring a different suburb and surroundings. Search for a new park or playground.
- Explore local playgrounds and parks
Have a dip at a local pool, no matter if it is summer or winter. Search for a fun acquatic centre or public pool near you.
- Splash about at a nearby swimming pool
- Play games in the backyard
Meet other mums - and new playmates for your kids - by joining a local playgroup. Search for one in your area
- Join a playgroup
Turn an ordinary lunch into a picnic at home or in the backyard.
- Pack a basket for a picnic
You can save money by joining a toy library and regularly borrowing toys - instead of buying expensive ones which tend to leave a black hole in the household budget.
Toy libraries stock loads of educational toys, games and puzzles as well as outdoor equipment for a range of different age groups and stages of development.
Children often lose interest in toys quickly - and need different ones to stimulate them as they grow - so joining a toy library is a great way to save money and space!
In most cases, an annual membership fee is payable and then it costs a small amount of money to hire the toys.
Find the location of your nearest toy library.
- Head to the beach to catch a wave or build sandcastles
- Go to a story-telling session at the library.
- Toy libraries
- Take a bus, train or ferry ride to anywhere!
Find more fun and free activities
- Search the What's on calendar for activities in your area
- Browse the activity finder for games and activities to play at home
How to keep kids busy indoors
Keeping children occupied when you're indoors isn't as hard as it seems - and these activities won't cause money to leak from your finely tuned budget.
Keep the kids entertained with simple craft activities that can be put together using items you'll already have around the house.
- Get creative with kids friendly arts and craft projects
Does your toddler love having a sing-a-long but you've forgotten the words to their favourite tune? Brush up on your nursery rhyme lyrics
- Sing and dance to nursery rhymes, songs and riddles
Keen to teach your kids to bake but need to find easy, kid-friendly recipes for them to follow? Search for easy recipes that kids can cook
- Get the kids cooking
Satisfy your children's curiosity by doing homemade science experiments. Will an egg sink or float? Find out in The Egg Float Experiment
- Have fun with simple science experiments
- Play card games
Got a budding artist in your midst? Download ready to use colouring pages that will keep them busy creating works of art.
- Colouring Pages
How about an art activity where there's no mess for you to clean up afterwards! Log on to the Internet to create online cards for all occasions.
- Create online cards
Instilling a love of reading in your children is a great thing to do but if you're not sure what books to choose for them check out Kidspot's recommendations.
- Read story books
- Gather the kids from the neighbourhood and have a maths-off!
- Have fun on the Internet
More fun budget ideas for kids
There are stacks of other places to take children that need not put too much pressure on the family budget - especially if you take the time to plan ahead.
An occasional visit to the zoo or aquarium; watching a movie or a play; or cheering on their favorite sporting team can be done without throwing your finances into disarray.
Money saving tips include:
- take your own food and drinks to events.
- book tickets in advance for cheaper preview sessions
- use two-for-the-price-of-one coupons or family-priced tickets
- sit in the cheaper seats (okay - the view won't be as good!)
- take public transport rather than driving and paying for parking
This article was created for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading parenting site for family fun and entertainment.