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Low-cost activities for kids


Here are some more cheap and fun activities to help you make it through the holiday period.

1. Build a den that lasts

Child reading

Dens made out of furniture and blankets are great but, as we amateur den-builders know all too well, they are prone to falling down at the slightest provocation.

The solution? Take the advice of Jocelyn Reading, author of blog The Reading Residence.

She recommends using chairs of differing heights to add variety to your structure as well as clothes pegs – the magic ingredient – to stop blankets or other coverings slipping off too easily.

2. Craft in the bath

Finger painting

The younger your children are, the more likely they are to make a mess when painting or enjoying other craft activities.

If you’re worried about them ruining your carpet, let them make as much mess as they like by setting up a craft area in an empty bathtub.

The Pick Ease blog even suggests letting your children paint on the tiled walls around your bath – after all, they should be easy to clean.

3. Make your own play dough


If your kids have an expensive Play-Doh habit, a DIY approach can help you save some money. Plus, your kids can help you make it.

You’re likely to have all the ingredients you need – mainly flour, oil and food colouring – in your baking cupboard already, and there are loads of online recipes.

Here’s a good one from Anna Ranson’s excellent blog the Imagination Tree.

4. Room-tidying competition

Child making the bed

If your children are conscientious (or gullible) enough to fall for this, you could set a timer to see who can clean their bedroom up quickest, suggests parenting website Netmums.

It really is a win-win: you’ll keep them busy for a while, and when it’s finished you can tick a chore off your list.

5. Get baking

Mother and child baking

Getting messy in the kitchen is a big hit with many children, and the BBC website has a large number of child-friendly recipes for home baking.

Getting your kids involved with preparing meals can also help encourage them to eat a wider range of food.

6. Design a treasure hunt

Children on a treasure hunt

If the weather's no good, it doesn't matter: a treasure hunt doesn’t have to take place outside.

Mumsite has some tips for a successful indoor scavenger hunt, with suggestions for different age groups.

Children can search for objects you’ve hidden – with or without clues – as well as items beginning with specific letters of the alphabet.

7. Learn as they play

Child playing with an abacus

There may be no school or playgroup this week, but that doesn’t mean the learning has to stop.

The Imagination Tree also has a number of games you can make at home that encourage literacy, numeracy and creativity in children of all ages.

Take this pattern sort-and-drop game for toddlers for example: all you need is paper, pens and some old plastic tubs.


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