Spill the beans... on free ways to keep the kids entertained

edited 1 May 2019 at 11:02AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
47 replies 40.1K views


  • An after dark walk in the local forest will be remembered

    Best to find the Forestry Commission places, as they have good paths
  • Alphabet Days are a really good way to fill a holiday, especially if you have a child who is currently learning the alphabet!

    I have just dug out our scrap book from 2010, when we were particularly short of cash and I was struggling to keep the kids amused!

    Each day has been decorated with drawings. Some times I have printed a wordsearch or a colouring page from the enchanted learning website.

    A - We visited out town's ART GALLERY, shared an AERO, had ADMIRAL'S PIE for tea, watched ALPHABLOCKS and Dad's ARMY!

    B - We played BUCKAROO, made paper BUTTERFLYS, ate BUTTONS, BAKED potatoes with BAKED BEANS, watched BUGS Life, had a BIKE RIDE, had BALLOON games.

    C - I face painted the children as CATS, ate CHEDDERS with CREAM CHEESE and CUCUMBER, and ate COD and CHIPS after a walk along the CUMBRIAN COAST.

    D - DOZING, played with a DOG, DOUGHNUTS, DOMINO'S pizza.

    E - we EXERCISED, made ELEPHANT masks, rode the ESCALATORS (EIGHT times!), watched the EMPEROR'S New Groove, ate ECCLES cakes and EDAM.

    F - Drank FANTA, played FARIES, did FARM jigsaw, played FOOTBALL, ate FISH FINGERS and FRENCH FRIES, had FAB ice lollies, watched FLUSHED Away.

    G - Together we painted the GATES (one of my summer jobs!), made a treasure map showing were the GOLD was hidden (having made pirate hats), watched Wallace and GROMIT, ate GARLIC bread with pizza.

    H - washed our HAIR, had a HOPPING race, played HORSES, ate HAMBURGERS and HASH browns

    Hopefully you get the idea. After a bit I didn't have to do much planning as the children began to come up with their own ideas as to what we should do on the days.

    We ended up having a very cheap, but memoriable and happy, summer!
    15/12/11 Overdraft £2,300
  • I always used to get a couple of large cardboard boxes, split them, reverse and re-tape so the blank surface is outside.

    One box with a window makes a puppet theatre.
    A couple of boxes with cut tops make forts - really good fun to stick a couple together.

    Then the kids get to paint them - cheap bottled paint for bargain stores or Wilkinsons / IKEA and water them, cheap paint brush (£1 a set in IKEA).

    We've made tons of them, the puppet theatre also makes a good target to throw bean bags into, we painted a clowns mouth, no bean bags?
    Use a potato.

    Sideways they make cars, paint pink for the girls and supply glitter and stand back, or red and black for the boys with go faster lines and 50's aerofoil fins. The Batmobile is very easy to make.

    If they have a train set or scalextric, cut holes and make a mountain to drive through, paint green and add painted trees, flatish boxes are fun, cut eyeholes to watch the train coming through, add a torch inside for dramatic fun. :cool:

    Cardboard boxes - more fun than the contents - proven
  • How about having your own garden Olympic games? Make some medals out of play dough, paint them yellow, grey and brown (or gold, silver and bronze if you have those colours!) and have events like the egg and spoon race, paper aeroplane throwing and hurdles over empty milk cartons!

    You can also get your children to design their own medals, there are some on the twinkl website, and there are also certificates you can edit and put your child's name on!

    We are doing it in a couple of days, can't wait!
  • Starting today, children go to a West End show free when accompanied by a paying adult. Google Kids Week in the West End for details (it is actually running for a month!).
  • SuleviaSulevia Forumite
    57 Posts
    Lay out a roll of ceiling lining paper in the garden, get out the poster paints and get them to paint their own wallpaper. Cut up the best bits for bedroom wall posters.
    If you don't mind mess, let them paint their hands and feet and print the paper that way (wash them down in the paddling pool).
    My two did both one year and it was so popular all the neighbourhood wanted to join in. I made the neighbours kids go home first and put old clothes on, and phoned their mums to check it was ok for them to get that messy. I didn't want anyone's mum to get on to me for ruining any clothes!

  • I go through their rooms looking for old toys and games they haven't played with for months (or longer) and suggest donating them. It's amazing how interested they suddenly become in old toys that then get played with again.
    Admittedly I do this when they are not there at some point before Christmas every year so the stuff actually gets donated and make some much needed room ;)
  • For rainy days join Netflix a film and tv service they have a 30 day free trial so you can cancel after this, there are hundreds of kids films and episodes of kids programmes, bob the builder etc it's all there, kids are loving it, you can limit it to a few hours a day if you don't like them watching too much tv but it's good to kill a few hours and many kids tv programmes are educational too, you need games console or any device that can connect to the web
  • Mrs.W_2Mrs.W_2 Forumite
    584 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    Going on with the papier mache theme, making a pinata is easy and very cheap. The link below shows how to make a very basic, cheap as chips pinata. I've always some poundshop bits and bobs stored that make ideal pinata fillings.

    We'll find a celebration day on the calendar, then break it open when we're celebrating that day. e.g. August 5th celebrates Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. We'll be spacemen all day.

    The dining room will be the moon. We'll be travelling there in our lunar modul from the sitting room (made the day before; a cardboard box decorated with bits of poundshop tinfoil), and taking a spaceman packed lunch with us.

    I'll have some rocks from the garden around the room, for the girls to collect samples of moon rock. The cat will play the part of the alien - as long as he puts up with it!

    Breaking open the pinata will be our celebration of a safe return home. :D

  • Mrs.W_2Mrs.W_2 Forumite
    584 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    For those parents with kids living in the Mole Valley, every Monday from 11AM during the holidays, at the King George playing fields in Dorking, Premier Sports are putting on free multi-sport days.
This discussion has been closed.
Latest News and Guides

Best student bank accounts 2021/22

Incl. free 0% overdrafts and railcards

MSE Guide

Next 50% off sale rumour

Here's what we've found...

MSE Deals