It can be hard to think of new ideas to do with young children to keep them entertained and to prevent the dreaded ‘I’m bored’ booming around the house. Sometimes the ideas are right on your doorstep but we take them for granted, so with this in mind we’ve got some great ideas below for cheap trips out with kids.
#1 Take a trip to your local garden centre
Garden centres can be fascinating places for young children and many now cater ever more for families, with dedicated child soft-play areas and swings. Find the more exotic plant species like the infamous venus fly trap, as well as the grow-at-home area. By showing your kids these first, they can then be inspired to grow their own from seeds bought at the garden centre (often costing under £1 a packet). It’s hard for children to envisage what the seeds may grow into if they don’t see the end result first, and your local garden centre offers just that.
When you get home you can plant the seeds in small pots, which is a great activity to do together, with further excitement guaranteed when the seeds start to grow and you’ve got your very own mini expert gardener in the household.
#2 Take a bus ride around your local town or city
OK this may sound boring, and be met by the same response when you suggest it kids. However, many towns have huge amounts to see which you often just don’t notice while you’re driving or walking around carrying out the daily routine. It’s especially exciting for children who usually travel in the car and so a bus-ride is completely new. The best part – kids under 5 usually travel for free with most bus companies so it’ll only cost you the price of your ticket. If there’s not much to see out of your window, you’ll soon find children are fascinated by the comings and goings, with new people getting on and the bus driver with his special ticket machine.
#3 Take a trip to local charity shops
Charity shops are great places for picking up everything from cheap clothing that can be used for fancy dress outfits, or old vases that make excellent painting surfaces. Turn it into a game by setting a budget of £1 or £2 for them to get as much as they can for, or to get everything needed for a pirate or fairy outfit. You’ll be surprised how far the money goes and you’ve then got further fun time when you get home, helping to keep the kids away from the TV for an extra couple of hours. This is a great activity to do as a group, as you can hold competitions such as the best painted vase, or best fancy dress outfit, which will bring out the kids’ competitive streaks. It’s also good fun judging and seeing how creative children can be.
#4 Take an art trip to the park
This isn’t a standard trip to the park, which is done on a daily basis, to kick a ball around or play on the swings. This trip is focused around artwork and is perfect for kids of all ages. Older children can draw or paint a particular scene, which will then take pride of place on the fridge or kitchen wall. For younger children, take some white paper and crayons or chalk. You can then use these for tree-rubbings, which use the same idea as brass rubbing. It’s really simple to do and you just have to hold the paper against a textured surface to it’s a tort as possible, and then rub the side (rather than the tip) of the piece of chalk or crayon against it. If there aren’t many trees, try other surfaces such as swing seats or information plaques.
#5 Take a trip out in the rain
This is obviously only possible on rainy days, but what better activity than embracing the rain rather than shuddering that you’ll be stuck in doors all day trying to conjure up ideas of things to do. Get the waterproofs on, willies and set off to hunt down the biggest puddles you can find. All children love to jump in puddles and you’ll be surprised how much fin you also have, re-living those childhood memories. It’ll also help your kids to understand that there’s set time for playing in puddles, rather than doing it when they’re in their Sunday best on the way to lunch with the grandparents.