Up the fun factor without breaking the bank.
Just because we have little children to entertain, it doesn't mean we have to spend a fortune on things to do. With a little imagination and some preparation, there are plenty of free things to do with the kids. Here are some of our favourites...
Create an obstacle course. This can be done in the garden or inside, if it's a rainy day. Get the kids to crawl under a chair, jump over some skittles and run in and out of upturned paper cups, before throwing a bouncy ball into a bucket. So much fun!
Make a leaf crown. Gather up lots of dry leaves from outside, and using double sided tape, stick them to a long strip of card (long enough to fit around your little one's head). Then get creative with glue, glitter and paint!
Have a Teddy Bears' Picnic. Gather all of your favourite furry friends around, lay out a picnic blanket and toy crockery and food. If you don't have any - make some! Or just pretend. Some of the tastiest cakes are imaginary ones.
Make a pasta picture. Get some dried pasta - lots of different shapes and sizes ideally - and paint them before glueing them to a piece of paper to create a picture.
Go on a scavenger hunt. Whether you live in the countryside or a town, you can pull on your wellies and a warm jacket, then head out with a list of items to collect. Some ideas of treasures to look for: long stick, round stone, yellow leaf, a shell & a coin. If going outside is off the agenda, hide some small toys around your home, for the kids to find.
Bake! If you have ingredients in your store cupboard, making cakes with little ones can be a lot of fun (tip: measure out everything you need before you start, to maximise chances of a stress-free time). If you're short on flour and eggs, check to see if you have Cornflakes and chocolate - you do? Great! Chocolate cornflakes cakes it is, then.
Build a den. All you need for this is a couple of high backed chairs and a bed sheet. Pop some cushions and a nightlight inside to give it a cosy glow.
Make plasticine monsters. Stick on eyes and teeth to make the scariest creatures you can imagine.
Have a toy clear out. This might sound dull but kids can really get into sorting old toys into piles for keeping, charity shop and car boot sale. It's a great chance to teach them about charity and recycling, and it'll help keep your home clutter free!
What are your favourite free things to do with the kids?
Image: Croesch/Wikimedia Commons