Today’s kids have microscopic attention spans. They bounce from one thing to the next in the blink of an eye, but they act like one hundred years have passed. Before you know it you are bombarded with the ultra annoying and much dreaded, “I’m bored!” Here are a few ideas to keep your children entertained without sacrificing yourself financially.
Stock up on notebooks and crayons. Most kids love to do art. Keep a good supply of things for projects. The best time to build your stock? Back to school season! It doesn’t get any cheaper than 25 cent crayon boxes and 10 cent notebooks. Keep a tote box full of excess school supplies. Being able to pull out fresh boxes of crayons or markers keeps this common childhood activity interesting and fresh. Throw in a pair of scissors or hole-puncher and you can double the time they will spend on this activity.
Organize a family game night. Kids are competitive, give them an outlet. Younger kids, in particular, love playing games not particularly meant for them. They feel important and will be more focused on the game, keeping them entertained as long as you have time for them. Board games are relatively cheap, but don’t underestimate the even cheaper card games!
Kids eat free. Take the kids out to dinner. This is typically an activity that’s not so budget friendly. However, many restaurants offer free kids meals with the purchase of an adult meal during certain times of the week. Do your research on local restaurants to find out when these promotions are offered and plan your dining adventures accordingly.
Mark your calendars. There are constantly community events that are being put on by local organizations. Locate a community calendar and keep your ear to the ground. From parades to kiddie carnivals to story time at the library; there is something for everyone. Take advantage when you can!
Give them access to the computer. Kids love computers. Assign them a time when they can use your computer. Even very young kids like to play the paint application that is located in the accessory folder of most computers. But there are plenty of sites online that offer hours of fun and entertaining activities for kids. Check out websites from their favourite TV shows as those usually offer great kid-friendly content. Also visit your children’s school website. Most schools post links to educational games that kids love to play.
Take advantage of community education programs. If your kid wants to try out an activity there is no need to pay a small fortune for organized league participation. Have your kids try it out with a community education class. The fees for these programs are a fraction of the price as local leagues. After a few sessions, if your child shows a continued desire to participate, then you can switch over to a higher level of participation. There is no reason to jump into the big leagues (and big payments) if you have no guarantee that your child will actually stick with it. You can also try musical instrument classes such as the ones found at TakeLessons.
Take care of the family pet. Have your child choose their favourite thing to do for their pet and make it their responsibility. Letting them choose helps keep them empowered to do it. Even if it’s just playing fetch or petting them, its time spent by your child on something that’s not only cheap, but useful.
Be active! Kids like to do things. They like it even more when you do it with them. Take the kids out of the house. Take a tour of local parks (visit a park-a-day). Kick around a soccer ball; even if you’ve no idea what you’re doing. Go on a walk through a local nature reserve or trail. Be open to new ideas and you will discover a wide world of fun and free outdoor activities.
Bio: Breana Orland is a writer and gives advice on the pursuit of higher education and career options for young adults.