How to entertain kids on a budget

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.

Go for a pram ride with baby

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.

Explore local playgrounds and parks

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.

Splash about at a nearby swimming pool

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.

Play games in the backyard

Need a break but the kids have energy to burn? Tire everyone with active games like hula hooping , piggy in the middle and rope jump

Join a playgroup

Meet other mums - and new playmates for your kids - by joining a local playgroup. Search for one in your area

Pack a basket for a picnic

Turn an ordinary lunch into a picnic at home or in the backyard.

Find the location of your nearest toy library.

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.

You could also:

  • Head to the beach to catch a wave or build sandcastles
  • Go to a story-telling session at the library.
  • Take a bus, train or ferry ride to anywhere!

Find more fun and free activities

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.

Get creative with kids friendly arts and craft projects

Keep the kids entertained with simple craft activities that can be put together using items you'll already have around the house.

Make play dough, finger puppets or edible necklaces

Sing and dance to nursery rhymes, songs and riddles

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

Get the kids cooking

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

Have fun with simple science experiments

Satisfy your children's curiosity by doing homemade science experiments. Will an egg sink or float? Find out in The Egg Float Experiment

Play card games

Need to brush up on the rules for the card game the kids have been asking to play all day? Find the rules for games like Crazy 8s, Go Fish and Pig so there's no claims of cheating!

Colouring Pages

Got a budding artist in your midst? Download ready to use colouring pages that will keep them busy creating works of art.

Create online cards

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.

Read story books

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.

Search for books that babies and toddlers, preschoolers and younger readers will love to read.

Gather the kids from the neighbourhood and have a maths-off!

Use Kidspot's Mathbuilder and have a fun times table quiz that'll put kids of all ages' knowledge to the test. Bake a batch of cupcakes as prizes.

Have fun on the Internet

Find websites which will keep kids of all ages entertained. Search for the best websites for little kids or websites for school kids for safe places for kids to play online.


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.

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