No matter the age of your children finding productive and budget-friendly things to do can be quite challenging. While it can be tempting to throw the kids in front of the TV, it’s not good for their health to do that too much. The blue light from screens can disrupt children’s hormones, especially melatonin which is important for sleep. Screen time can also make kids trend towards inactivity, and may impact on development and overall health.
The current recommendations for screen time for kids are:
- children under 18 months should avoid screen time, other than video-chatting
- children aged 18 months to 2 years can watch or use high-quality programs or apps if adults watch or play with them to help them understand what they’re seeing
- children aged 2-5 years should have no more than one hour a day of screen time with adults watching or playing with them
- children aged 6 years and older should have consistent limits on the time they spend on electronic media and the types of media they use.
If you’re interested in learning more about this, you can read the policy here: Early Childhood Australia Digital Policy
Brittnay from the Nut Butter Hub has returned to the blog to share some great ideas on how to keep the kids busy without a screen, or lots of money.
This post contains some affiliate links. This means if you click the link and purchase the product contained within the link I make a small commission from this. This helps with the cost of maintaining this website. You don’t have to pay any extra for this.
Ideas for Entertaining the Kids
Below are 8 ways (that won’t cost a fortune) which you can use on any day of the week to ensure your kids (or you) don’t go stir crazy.
A Day of Volunteering
An awesome way to give kids some perspective on how others live is to have them give back in some capacity. It teaches kids to have empathy and care for others around them as well as to have gratitude for what they have in life.
There are many ways to give back that kids may be able to participate in. Some great places to start volunteering are your local soup kitchen, animal shelters, or spending the day cleaning up trash at your local park.
Indoor Camp Out
What kid doesn’t love to pretend play and make their dreams come true? What they would love even more is actually bringing their imagination to life. Bringing the camping inside is just the fun they may be looking for.
For this activity you will need a tent, a real one will do or one made from sheets is good too. Pretend to light a fire and eat freeze-dried foods. You could also make indoor s’mores very easily at your stove or in your microwave. Be sure to get the sleeping bags and ghost stories ready for a fun night under the ‘stars’.
In Need of A Furry Friend?
If you can’t commit to an animal year round you can try pet sitting over the holidays. This can also help you decide whether you and the family are ready to get your own yet. It could be just a phase and you end up doing all the work. They are a few places you can look for pets to care for try Guide Dogs Australia or if you’re not keen on getting a puppy you can look at house sitting sites which also offer animal care.
Make Your Own T-Shirts
Let’s be real, kids will practically draw all over the house if you let them. Foster their creativity skills and design your own t-shirts. It doesn’t take much to get this done and can be made on new or old shirts.
Use any type of art medium your child likes such as crayons, markers, or even let them paint on their shirt. Make sure to hand wash and dry your shirts so that your kids can cherish their creations for years to come.
Otherwise you can use fabric paint to paint your own shirts. After you’ve let them dry just iron them to set the paint and they can be machine washed.
Indoor Obstacle course
Sometimes it’s just simply too cold or rainy to get out of the house. Bad weather or not, kids need to be able to have the space to release all of the energy they have. Creating an obstacle course in your home is fun for everyone.
Try making a string laser course like you see in the movies for your kids. All you really will need is lots of string to create the course and then your kids can collect the objects you already have at home and put them in baskets at either end of the course.
Have A BBQ With Friends
Throwing a get together can be team effort one that children would love to be able to participate in. Tell your kids to think of a few family friends who have kids that they would like to invite over for a BBQ.
Let your kids decide on a few items to eat, let them come grocery shopping with you, or pick out décor/activities so that they are involved in the process.
Once the day actually arrives the kids will be so focused on hanging out and playing with the other kids that it will free up time for the parent to enjoy the day as well. Having kids near a BBQ can be dangerous so ensure you gas grill safety! Having a BBQ will be a win-win situation for both the parent and the kids.
Give Them Lots of Colouring Room
Kids of all ages enjoy colouring but depending on the age the activity can go pretty quickly before they are bored again. A way to switch up just plain old colouring is to buy a big roll of plain white wrapping or banner paper. Use the wrapping paper and spread it out anywhere like the floor or across a table. This can be really cool for kids because they can just keep pulling the paper whenever they need more space to draw.
There is nothing like a bit of DIY that gets kids excited! Learning how to make their own things will also give them a better appreciation for their belonging as well as the costs of things. Make sure you pick something that is useful but also achievable for a few age groups. You could try making animal masks or maybe a learn how to make a pencil case for the coming school term!
Young toddlers to school ages children love to play with sensory bins. Sensory bins can be fairly messy so be sure to work on a sheet or outdoors where it is okay for you and the kids to get a little dirty. Make shimmer snow made from baking soda and glitter. Try a coloured rice bin with just plain rice and food colour. If you want to avoid the mess altogether fill a bin with cotton balls and simply add kitchen utensils and measuring cups and the kids will have a blast.
With a little of creativity and planning it easy to keep the kids busy! Once you have built up a repertoire of activities you will have then away from the TV and enjoying themselves all holidays!
Brittnay is an Australian who lived in London for the past two years. She managed to squeeze in 21 trips to Europe & Africa in that time. She is passionate about her health and her family, and you will find her healthy and delicious recipes on The Nut Butter Hub.