30 Low Cost Activities for Kids

There are heaps of good reasons for having fun and playing with your kids. It keeps the atmosphere at home positive and secure by providing opportunities for parent/child bonding. It helps with language learning by developing vocabulary. It helps kids learn how to share, take turns and play by the rules. Kids learn to be creative and use their imaginations. It creates great memories in your family. Here’s some ideas to get you thinking:

2-5 years

  • Home made Play Dough: 2 cups flour, 2 T oil, 2 cups boiling water, 1 cup salt, 4 teaspoons cream of tartar, food colouring and/or glitter. Mix dry ingredients, add water and oil on top, mix with a spoon and then knead for 5 minutes.
  • Water play outside with buckets, sieves, plastic containers, food colouring and/or detergent for bubbles.
  • Paint house with buckets of water and real paint brushes.
  • Blanket rides – pull kids around the house on a blanket.
  • Tea parties – real or pretend. Invite the toys.

2-10 years

  • Lounge caves/huts with blankets, cushions as long as the kids tidying up at the end.
  • Picnics in the lounge on a rug.
  • Help make pikelets, scones or pizza for beginners. Help make dinner for older kids.
  • Bubbles – detergent and straws in a cup or detergent and a reshaped wire coat hanger.
  • Bubble baths.
  • Explore rock pools at the beach.
  • Bush walks.
  • See how many different parks you can find to explore.
  • Family soccer/rugby/cricket in the backyard, at the beach or park.
  • Cards and board games.
  • Feed the ducks at a local park.
  • Art – Collage – collect pasta shapes, fabric, wool, leaves, seeds, magazines
  • Paint – pictures, boxes, pine cones, leaves, canvases from $2/surplus shops.
  • Masks – paper bags or paper plates.
  • Make up stories – each person add a line.
  • Dress ups – collect stuff from family members or op shops.
  • Make scrapbooks.
  • Make a kids vegie or flower garden/ grow seeds in pots.
  • Bus or train rides.

5-10 years

  • Camp in the backyard.
  • Find cool trees to climb.
  • Grass sliding on flattened boxes – work up to more challenging slopes!
  • Bounce on the trampoline with the sprinkler underneath.
  • Refrigerator boxes – paint, cut, decorate or remodel them.
  • Scavenger hunts – eg “find me a bottle top, a pine cone, 3 different leaves and an interesting stone”.

See My Recommended Reading List:

  • Kids are Worth It, Barbara Coloroso
  • How to Really Love Your Child, Ross Campbell
  • Surviving Step-Families, Michael Carr-Gregg
  • Real-Wired Child, Michael Carr-Gregg