Keeping the kids occupied on a budget

When you don’t have a lot of money, it can feel difficult to keep the children occupied. Remember that your time is more important to them than money, and consider some free activities both in and out of the house.

Staying at home and doing simple and free activities like drawing or painting at the table together or playing with Lego are great and free ways of spending quality time with the kids. If the weather’s OK, you could take them out for a walk or go to the local park. With older kids, contact your local council to find out if they do any heavily subsidised or free sporting activities.

Find out about afterschool activities like cubs or brownies in your area, and check out the ones that are most affordable. If you’re not sure where to look, try asking other parents at school.. These are usually relatively low cost, although there may be an initial outlay on uniform. You could also head to your local leisure centre for swimming sessions or other sporting activities to keep the kids occupied.

Libraries are another good place to take the kids. Encourage them to choose their own books to read in the library or to take home. There is often a children's reading area, and it’s worth checking out if your local library puts on any activities for older kids, like a teen hour at the weekend.

Check out deals at your local cinema, like cut-price viewings for younger children at the weekend, when films that have been out for a few months are shown on the big screen at a reduced price. Sometimes cinemas offer children's activities such as card-making and colouring prior to these showings.