Keeping the kids entertained can sometimes feel like a full-time job in and of itself. While family activities should be fun and engaging for all, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis can make the prospect of planning events and outings unduly stressful – particularly when household budgets are not quite stretching as far this winter. But there are many ways to engage the family even with a low budget; what are some of the best?
The ultimate low-cost family activity can be found in the form of arts and crafts. Simply sitting down and making something – anything – with your young ones can be a hugely formative experience for them, to say nothing of engagement, learning and sheer fun factor.
You could conduct your crafty activities in the form of a ‘crafternoon’, with your kids leading the way in choosing their next favourite way to express themselves. You could experiment with poster paints and plasticine, or build sculptures and figures out of your cardboard recycling. You could even set your kids off on a project, whether building a toy or perfecting an origami design; the possibilities are endless, and endlessly customisable to suit even the most meagre of budgets.
Holidays are typically seen as big-ticket events for families, not just due to the immense effort required to pull everyone together for the trip but also due to the significant cost often attached to even short weekend breaks. But the fact is that everyone needs a break sometimes – and especially so during the gruelling times in which we currently find ourselves.
The good news is that weekend breaks need not break the bank. There are lots of different ways to keep costs down while still making special memories for your children. If you’re an NHS staff member you can make use of a special Premier Inn discount code to subsidise the cost of accommodation; if you’ve got an afternoon to spare, you can use a number of price-checking tools to find the best possible deal for travelling and staying over.
The activities you get up to at your chosen destination can also be geared towards decreasing costs; rather than forking out for expensive tourist attractions, you could take your own tour, and make up your own funny tour narration to suit. Beaches are their own fun, with kids needing little more than a plastic spade to feel engaged.
Last but not least, there are boundless community-organised activities and events you and your children can enjoy – or even just your children, if you yourself would like an hour or two a week to slink off to a coffee shop and destress. Schools and community clubs alike offer evening programmes in sports and other activities, while local charities could offer the chance to take part in joint volunteering exercises – exercises that are not only engaging, but powerful teachable moments for your children.