Affordable ideas for keeping the kids active and entertained

We know how hard it can be to think of things to do to keep your little ones amused - especially this year with the rising cost of food, fuel and energy – so here are some ideas which won't break the bank...

1. Get outdoors


Did you know there are over 25,000 parks in the UK? Get out and explore what’s in your local area with great parks across England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Whether it's a trip to the park, the beach or a city farm, no matter where you live, there's bound to be something local to you. And if you wrap up warm and take a picnic (think hot chocolate or warming soup), it won't matter if it's chilly out!

2. Check out your local library


Most libraries run free craft activities, story-telling sessions and book challenges so why not go and explore the books on offer, encourage your child's reading and inspire them to discover more about the amazing world around us?

3. Experiment in the kitchen


There's bound to be a few rainy days – it is the UK, after all – so why not check out how to make fun science experiments with everyday ingredients found in your home? Mix cornflour and water to make slime, use fruit to make your coins shiny, and find out what happens when you add baking powder to a bottle of vinegar.

4. Explore what's on in your local area


Check your council website for any kid-friendly entertainment, such as crafting, local events, free sports coaching and activity days. There's such a wide range of activities and free sessions to try, it could be a perfect time for them to have fun and learn some new skills!

5. Create some pavement art


If you've got some colourful chalks lying around, why not decorate the pavement, driveway or patio? Give the kids a theme to get them started and let them get creative!

6. Camp out


Pitch a tent in the garden, roast marshmallows over a fire, sing songs and spot the star constellations in the sky – it'll be a great adventure for the children and if it's too cold to actually sleep outside, bring them back in at bedtime!

Don't have a tent? Create a makeshift one by propping a sheet over some garden chairs with a blanket on the ground.

7. Visit a museum


Whatever your kids are into (football, art, science, history or even planes), there are hundreds of great free museums, many with interactive areas and activities aimed at younger visitors. Money Saving Expert has a fab list of free museums where you search by location.

8. Get arts and craftsy!


Use the internet for inspiration and get crafty when the weather's not great outside! It could be decorating jam jars (think paints, stickers, glitter), making rose petal perfume, designing Minecraft-themed Hama bead creations or creating an ‘animated film' using building blocks and a smart phone with a stop frame animation app – whatever their age and interests, you'll find something to keep everyone entertained, at least for a while!

9. Go geocaching


It’s a treasure hunt for the digital generation. Sign up at geocaching.com and enter your postcode to find geocaches near you. Then all you need to do is download the app to your phone, choose a geocache to find and start searching!

Alternatively, put the screens away and create your own treasure hunt! All you need is somewhere with decent hiding places (indoors or outside, weather dependent!), some treasures to hide and a list of everything to find. Keep the area small and there's no need for complicated clues, just let them explore till they've found everything.

Published: August 2022

Updated: September 2022