How to save money and still have fun with the kids
We may all mourn the passing of a time when all you needed to entertain kids was to throw them out of the house in the morning and tell them not to come back till tea-time.
So when the kids are home all day during the school holidays the idea of entertaining them can seem a challenge, if not impossible. Particularly if you’re on a tight budget.
But there are still plenty of ways to get them away from their phones, the TV or games console without having to spend anything at all. And what’s more it can be a whole lot of fun for everyone.
We take a look at five ideas to give you inspiration for the next time you’re nominated Head Entertainer for the kids in your life.
Like ideas on how to save money? Check out our article on the best Money Saving Apps.
Win the Prize on Sports Day
The first idea is a real winner, which will see you taking top place on the podium for coming up with the best activity ideas for kids of all ages. And the best bit is that you can make it work indoors or outside.
Set up your own House Olympics with various contests depending on what equipment or space that you have. For example, how about the 100m dash if you have access to a reasonably level garden or park where you can safely run. If you’ve got kids of very different ages and abilities then just let them run different distances.
If you don’t have space for a sprint just adapt the idea to suit what you do have access to. For example by turning it into a hands and knee crawl from one end of the room to another. There and back four times. Blindfolded. Whilst balancing a stack of books on your back. The more outlandish the better, and more hilarious for the kids.
And what about a javelin throwing contest but instead of using spears (which might be a bit dangerous!) use a cushion if you have room to throw something outdoors, or if you don’t then how about paper planes?
Really the options are endless once you start thinking about what you can do and what’s possible with the equipment and facilities you have.
Do your finances need a pre-holiday workout? Check out our tips or getting your money in shape.
A Little Bit of History
Whilst many historical locations are owned and run by organisations which charge entrance fees, there are still many places you can go absolutely free.
Visit England has a growing list of just such places which you can find at www.visitengland.com/things-to-do/free
Some are more challenging that others, such as wild swimming, which might not be suitable for younger children or those who are not strong swimmers. But other activities suggested are decidedly more gentle such as bee watching or taking part in free walking tours around cities.
All activities are organised and searchable by region, and they include ideas for all seasons from Spring to Winter.
Visit the Library
OK, bear with us on this one. Libraries may seem like they’re going to be highly unpopular with most children, but there’s more to your local library than just books nowadays.
Although both the proximity of your local library and the facilities it offers will greatly depend on the funding it gets from your local Council, it is still more than likely to offer a DVD loan service. So you can host a family film afternoon without having to pay for services such as Netflix or Sky Cinema.
Libraries also often offer storytelling sessions or book groups that you can attend with your child.
And perhaps one of the best innovations in local lending libraries is the free Libby app. Downloadable from iTunes or Google Play this app gives you access to your library’s entire catalogue of audio books and eBooks – all for free. You just need your library ID, the app on your phone or tablet, and you’re good to go. https://meet.libbyapp.com
Turn every walk into a treasure hunt
Walking is so 2018. As any discerning explorer will tell you nowadays geocaching is where it’s at.
Chances are the children in your life will already know more about geocaching than you probably ever want to know. But use that to your advantage because they will just love to teach you all about how it works.
And better still it gives them an excuse to be the one holding the smart phone; whilst it gives you the excuse to get them out into the fresh air and getting some exercise.
In basic terms geocaching is a bit like a treasure hunt, but instead of collecting treasure you go from place to place collecting specified GPS locations. There are thousands of them around, you probably unknowingly walk passed hundreds whilst out walking the dog. For example round Crowdstacker HQ there are nearly 10,000 GPS locations to ‘collect’.
Again, all you need is to download the free app from a geocaching website, such as www.geocaching.com, and then get out there to try and find the ‘treasure’. When you locate it normally you have to log it in some way, for example by signing a register that you can find in a geocache box which is hidden at each location.
The best bit is that most geocaching apps are free and most will allow you to search for up to three caches in one day without having to pay. If you want to find more you’ll need to pay for premium membership, or wait until the following day when three more free caches will be available for you to find.
Read all about it!
The last activity is linked to Geocaching because you can blog or record your geocache success either by writing about it or taking pictures.
This can be done as a blog, on a family website or via social media. Obviously you need to monitor how your kids interact with these and not allow them to get into any situations where they are compromising their online safety.
But it’s fun to take pictures (and again a perfect excuse for children to be the one to hold the smart phone) and it’s fun to write about a shared experience you’ve had. Even if you don’t publish this to the wider world in some way, keep it somewhere safe to look back on in years to come.
Read this if you want to know how to save money on your next holiday.
If you’re interested in finding out more about saving and investing check out our new magazine ‘Fixed’ which has loads of tips and hints about how to save cash.