Kids activities on a budget

Part of our monthly budget is on entertainment. It is a small budget but what lockdown 1 & 2 have shown us is that we don’t need a lot of money to have fun!


We’re quite lucky in the sense that my children enjoy spending time with us and couldn’t really care less about expensive trips out. This was shown in October when we were in Torquay visiting family. One of the days we were away, we spent over £60 on tickets to the zoo plus our travel there and our food plus the dreaded gift shop! In total that zoo trip cost over £100 and we were only there for 3 hours. Yes, we had fun, we spent time together blah blah.

Paignton Zoo

However, the next day we went to the beach, we hired a beach hut for the day and we bought burgers, juice and snacks from Tesco on the way. We played card games, read books, listened to music, played on the beach. It was FREEZING! The water was coming over the sea walls because it was so choppy. That day though was to quote the 10 year old “The best day ever!” It cost us £30 in total and we were there for 10 hours! The smiles on our childrens faces were what mattered.

Meadfoot Beach

That day showed us that we could do anything as long as we are together and it does not always have to cost lots of money. Here are a few things we do often:

  • Livingroom camping – We’re in Scotland. It’s not always camping weather. We regularly bring the matresses in to the living room and make a giant bed on the floor. We get our popcorn, snacks, the kids make cinema tickets and pick the movie.  We turn the lights off and watch movies together all snuggled together. Nothing fancy but it’s quality time we enjoy spending together. Cost – FREE
Livingroom Camping
  • Games night – We each pick a game we want to play and we spend a few hours playing board games. We have not 1 but 2 cupboards full of games! We can even manage a game of monopoly without someone throwing a strop! Cheating from the oldest child happens though 😆 Cost – FREE
Card games
  • Cooking/baking – All kids love baking and most like cooking. We use proper knives and they’ve been taught how to use them correctly. They know how to use the cooker etc with supervision. I also love cooking so it gives me some time with them and teaches them life skills. Pizza making is their favourite for obvious reasons (they can eat it afterwards!) Cost – a few £s for cake ingredients but if cooking then it doesn’t cost anything extra as we eat it for dinner
Pizza making
Peanut Curry
  • Messy activities – Most kids love to get messy! Mine do anyway! Slime making, arts & crafts, kinetic sand…They love them. The quickest and easiest activity though is fluffy playdoh. It is just 2 ingredients. Hair conditioner and cornflour. Just mix them until you have the consistency you want. We sometimes add food colouring and we use Alberto Balsalm for the conditioner because it is cheap and smells nice. Cost – £1
Playdoh mixing
Messy play
  • Nature hunt – Tree rubbings, looking for leaves and pine cones to use later in arts & craft activities. Just being outside sometimes is good for the soul! We’ve found hidden little beaches, the perfect spot to watch the sun set, nice quiet picnic spots and even some highland cows! Cost – FREE
(not so) Secret beach
Sunday afternoon walks

There are lots of free or low cost things to do. The thing about children is that they want what they think you want. Your children aren’t born wanting designer clothes, you did that to them. They don’t want expensive days out, they want to spend time with you. They don’t want to go to an expensive restaurant for dinner, they want to spend time together. Your child will not miss out on anything by having inexpensive clothes, homemade pizza or skipping an expensive trip out. Your child however will miss out on your time and attention if you’re working non-stop trying to pay for things you do not need (most of us need to work but not so much we lose out on time with them). Spend time with your children. Watch them learn and grow. They aren’t little for long and you will regret that time you don’t spend with them.


  1. Charlotte says:

    You’re so right. We went to New Zealand a few years ago. Spent a fortune on (amazing) experiences. And when we came home, the things he told people about most was a lego set my mum bought him, and a free walk in the dark through a river to see some glow worms 😂


    1. Zara says:

      I couldn’t believe that i had psent so much money taking them to the zoo and they preferred playing cards on the beach! Wont be doing that again!


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s