Budget-friendly ways to keep kids busy

Public holidays can become a bit of a nightmare for parents but with some imagination, it can be a fun time for the whole family.

 Here are a few cheap and fun ways to keep the kids busy today.

Many parents have taken today off and are at home with their children. While we can all do with a short(er) week, public holidays can be frustrating if kids are bored at home with nothing to do.

With this in mind, we’ve drawn up a few cost-saving tips for keeping kids busy on National Women’s Day:

Watch a family movie together

Bringing the box office to you is easier than ever, and a lot more cost-effective than going to the movies. So instead, draw the curtains, make some snacks, grab a blanket, find a movie on Netflix, or DStv that the whole family will enjoy, and hit play.

Take advantage of public holiday specials

Many places are running Women’s Day specials today, so keep an eye on the news and social media for offers and discounts such as kids-eat-free specials.

Play word games

Forget your average word search, word games have come a long way. A puzzle, for example, can double up as a spelling or storytelling game by writing a sentence or story at the back of puzzle pieces. This way they can unravel a story or read a new sentence by putting the flipside of the puzzle together. There are thousands of printable word games online to suit every child’s interest.

Play traditional games

Many of us grew up playing games that encouraged physical activity and kept us busy for hours. Think hop-scotch, hide and seek, red rover, Simon says and Marco Polo. These are also a great way to get the kids outside in the sunshine on those milder winter days. If the weather isn’t great, teaching them a new board- or card game could be equally fun!

Let them make lunch

It’s as simple as using cookie cutters to create crafty sandwiches or arranging sliced-up veggies in different shapes. This not only makes lunchtime more interesting, it also teaches your child about doing things for themselves and doubles up as a fun indoor activity.

Encourage them to get creative

With a few pipe cleaners and a little paint, the sections of an egg box could transform into a dinosaur, a ladybug, or a bee. An empty toilet paper roll can soon be a zebra, a flower, a serviette ring, or even a superhero. Making arts and crafts from recyclable material can keep your busy child entertained long enough for you to read a chapter (or two) of your favourite book.

Build a blanket fort

It doesn’t get simpler than this. By rearranging some furniture, raiding the linen closet, and throwing together unused cushions and pillows, your kids can build a blanket fort that their friends will envy. Add a torch and some snacks in the evening and their fort will feel like they’re camping outdoors.

Embrace the explorer

Drive somewhere the family’s never been before. Open Google maps and do a little research on fun, and budget- and family-friendly places to spend the day. Get the kids to help choose a place and where to stop along the way. Pack a picnic and snacks to save money and get ready to explore a small part of our big beautiful country.