10 free ways to entertain kids

Entertaining kids doesn’t have to empty your wallet. There’s a lot families can do that doesn’t cost a thing. All it takes is some imagination to find free things to do with kids. (PS. They can be fun for grown-ups, too!)

Whether it’s the weekend, a long school holiday, or a quick half-term break, keeping kids occupied can prove expensive. The good news is there’s lots families can do that won’t break the bank. We’ve lined up some of our favourite free things to do with kids to keep them busy, whatever the weather.

Create an activity jar

There’s often plenty of good fun to be had at home, but sometimes kids need a little prompting to come up with an idea. Here’s a way to inspire them. Write down activities on ice cream sticks or strips of sturdy card, and pop them inside a jar. When they next complain about being bored, let them choose an activity to do that day from the jar.

Create a home theatre

Ladies and gentlemen, if we could have your attention please! Encourage imaginative play and creative thinking through your own home theatre. Clear a space for the stage, hang up a sheet as a backdrop or get them to construct a stage from props at home, and invite the kids to put on a talent show.

Go on a garden safari

Get your wellies on and head out into the garden or park to search out some creepy crawlies. Who knows what you’ll find? This is an easy activity even during rainy weather – you may possibly spot some wormy wildlife! If you’re brave enough, try catching bugs, pop them in a bug jar and take a closer look. You don’t even need to touch them with the GeoSafari® Jr. Bug Vac ‘n’ View™. Here are some more ideas.

Paper aeroplane test flights

Photo – Getty Images

Who is the family paper aeroplane champ? There’s only one way to find out! Making paper aeroplanes is a fun, cheap way to not only keep kids occupied, but work on basic concepts such as folding and geometry, all the way through to more complicated ones like aerodynamics. Plus, it’s just plane fun, too. Check out how to make a paper aeroplane in six easy steps.

Go stargazing

Don’t wait for the next eclipse to head outdoors. (Although if you do want to find out more about the next eclipse, click here to visit Time and Date.) Any clear night is the perfect time to track the night sky and spot constellations using a GeoSafari® Vega 360 Telescope. Click here for some cool facts about space to brush up on your knowledge before you head outside.

Build a blanket fort

Photo – Getty Images

Who doesn’t love building a blanket fort? They’re tonnes of fun and as long as you have a steady supply of blankets and cushions, can keep kids busy for hours. What’s more, they learn valuable skills about their world while doing so including problem-solving and negotiation. 

Get gardening

Gardening with your kids can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. Heading outdoors and letting them dig in and plant a few seeds is a great way to wile away an hour or two for dirt cheap. Or if you’re feeling creative you could tackle a family garden project. Everyone loves pizza so how about planting a pizza garden? Rope the kids in to find out what pizza toppings they’d like to grow and head over to your local gardening centre to stock up on seeds for ingredients including tomatoes and basil. It’ll also give them a more tangible, real-life example of where foods comes from. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Find free sport

Don’t let the cost of sports stop you from getting your family involved in some active fun. Initiatives like Tennis for Free are run by volunteers and open to all skill levels and ages.

Take a trip to the museum

Many museums offer free entry and they’re a wonderful way to spark an interest in anything from ancient Egypt to modern history like what dial telephones used to look like. Here are some free family-friendly options.

  • The British Museum offers a breath-taking collection of artefacts under one roof and specifically gears workshops to families and children of all ages.
  • Whether your little learner is into code-breaking or cars, the Science Museum offers an array of exhibits that will keep kids enthralled.
  • Check out your local area for free museums. They’re ideal for kids to learn more about the history of where they live. And you may just spark a love of anthropology in a future fossil-hunter. Head over to this money saving guide for more info on free museums in your region.

Take a walk and learn a little

Gear up and head out into the garden or park. To keep kids engaged, let them choose a theme like a colour walk where you look for objects of a specific colour. Try letters, numbers or shapes, too.

Remember to regularly check for events in your area. Look for local Facebook groups or sign up for email newsletters about your area. Your local council website may even have some suggestions.

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