10 Cheap and Easy Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained on a Budget

Sometimes it’s difficult to think of things to do to keep the kids entertained. A lot of activities either cost money or involve heading out of the house. Who said you had to take out your purse or travel to have a fun afternoon with the kids? A lot of these activities can be done with bits and pieces that you probably already have around the house.

Here are 10 cheap and cheerful activities which are so simple but great fun for kids (and adults alike).

Tic-tac-toe painted rocks

How cute are these?! They would make a great homemade birthday or Christmas gift too. All you need is a few rocks and some paint. There are heaps of great tutorials for DIY tic-tac-toe rocks, some of the classic ‘O’s and ‘X’s and others with hessian bags to store them/use as the grid.

I think I’ll be trying out this adorable bug tutorial from Chicken Scratch NY. The stones are so fun and the painting doesn’t look too difficult (a big plus for me!).

If you don’t want to go out looking for rocks then you can easily pick up a bag from your local craft store or garden centre.

Homemade bubbles

Who doesn’t love bubbles? All you need is a bit of garden wire (or an old wire hanger), twist it into a loop and there you have your very own giant bubble maker. Pour your bubble solution into a large bucket or basin and head out into the garden.

Try this simple recipe for a solution from Happy Hooligans which guarantees giant bubbles. The longer you leave the mixture, the better it gets. Bubbles make hours of fun! (They definitely do in our house anyway!)

DIY dominoes

You can either make giant outdoor dominoes or if the weather isn’t so good then make smaller ones for indoors. This is a really great way to get the little ones practicing matching colours and improving their fine motor skills. You can either pick up lollipop sticks from your local craft store or collect your own.

Found from Happy Hooligans

Make some mini lollipop stick dominoes with this tutorial from Happy Hooligans.

DIY dragon puppet

Found from Made With Happy

Doesn’t this dragon look roar-some?! (an awful pun I know but I couldn’t resist!). With Chinese New Year fast approaching, why not try this Chinese dragon puppet from Made With Happy.

It only needs a few materials and it’s so bright and colourful that the kids are bound to love it!

DIY paper pinwheel

With just a few bits and pieces, you can make these in no time at all. Plus, they’re great for those not-so-crafty among us!

You don’t even have to use a straw – how about finding some sticks in the back garden for a more rustic look? Or what about using plain paper and letting the kids decorate them before you cut them?

These pinwheels aren’t just for kids either, how about using them as decorations for a baby shower, a brunch or even a wedding!

Try out this easy peasy tutorial from The Spruce Crafts

3 ingredient fudge

Found from A Beautiful Mess

How delicious do these look?!? Perfect for those cold and rainy days, this three ingredient fudge is a little bit naughty for when the little ones have been good (or as good as they can be stuck indoors!).

This recipe from A beautiful mess is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. The best part? It only takes 3 ingredients. So if you have chocolate, a tin of condensed milk and vanilla extract readily available then you’re good to go.

DIY playdough

Found from I Heart Naptime

All kids love playdough. It’s squishy, you can roll it, stamp it, make shapes with cookie cutters and blend different colours – there’s so much you can do with it! It’s perfect for any type of day really as you can play with it inside or outside.

Try out this recipe from I Heart Naptime. It’s cheap to make and will last for months in an airtight bag.

Outdoor chalks

All you need is a pack of jumbo chalk and a bit of pavement. Or how about making this chalk paint from Make and Takes?

Now, I know that first thing I would do is draw a giant game of hopscotch! But you really can draw anything you like, what about a giant tic tac toe board? Or just let them doodle away. When they’re done, just hose down the patio and voila, your canvas is blank again!

Make lemonade

When life gives you lemons (or wet weather), make lemonade! Why not try making some good ol’ fashioned lemonade with the kids? It’s so simple, all you need is 1 cup of lemon juice, 1 cup of sugar, 6 cups of water, give it a stir, adjust it to taste and add a handful of ice. Mmmm…delicious! Get the kids to help with the juicing, stirring and pouring.

DIY Marble run

Found from Tinker Lab

Toilet roll tubes lying around the house? An old unused pool noodle? Old piping? An old milk carton? You can use anything at all, just stick all of your bits and bobs together to make your very own marble run. How about adding steps (from bits of cut milk carton) or a see-saw (from two plastic spoons)? Or racing the marbles down two parallel tracks? There are so many different things you can do, let their imaginations run wild.

I like the look of this tutorial from Tinker Lab.

So if you’re stuck for things to do with the kids, whatever the weather, then try out one of these 10 money saving activities!

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