Keep your kids entertained without breaking the bank

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Create a dress-up box and create fantastic memories with your childPhoto:
Create a dress-up box and create fantastic memories with your childPhoto:

With the festive season upon us, parents need stimulating and cost-effective activities to entertain their children over the holiday season.

“While you may want to give your kids the best presents, try and stick to a budget this festive season. Remember, you can still have fun and spend quality time with your children by engaging in activities that will not land you in debt when January arrives in a few weeks’ time,” says Linda Appie, chief marketing officer at TymeBank.

Giving your children plenty of opportunities to play is one of the best ways to help them grow into curious, creative, healthy, and happy adults equipped with the skills they will need throughout their life. Appie shares some tips on how to keep your children busy over the holidays, and that will not break the bank.

Plan a picnic at your local park, beach or garden

Prepare a delicious picnic lunch with your family’s favourite snacks. Put everything into a basket or cooler box and take it with you to your favourite picnic spot. Be sure to pack sunscreen and outdoor equipment. Let your children run around and enjoy the fresh air.

Outdoor play is particularly important because it lets children use all their senses to build skills like spatial awareness and balance. At a time when the screen has become an everyday form of entertainment, getting the whole family outside in the sun without a mobile phone or tablet will be highly beneficial.

Search around the house for dresses, jackets, hats, shoes, and costume jewellery and place them in a box. Get creative with your children and dress up together using variations of the clothing. Photo:

Host a four-square tournament

Playing games is not only good for your kids’ cognitive development, it also creates special memories for them, especially if the whole family is involved. This game, called a Four-Square Tournament, is easy to play.

You will need four players and a large rubber ball. Draw a 4 x 4 m square on your driveway. Divide into four squares—A, B, C, and D—and have one player stand in each square. The player in square A starts by bouncing the ball in their square, then batting it with open hands into another square. That player must hit the ball into another square. When one player misses or hits the ball out of bounds, they move to D, the players behind them advance, and you begin again. Great fun without the price-tag.

Plan a treasure hunt

Another fun activity is to hide treats in your garden or around your home. Then draw a map leading your kids to the treasure. You can even hide the map somewhere in the house and let the children find it while making the bed or putting away toys.

Get baking and cooking

On a rainy day, pick a recipe, go shopping for ingredients and cook something together that you can enjoy eating afterwards. This gives your kids small jobs that they can enjoy alongside you.

Or, for a sweet treat, keep your children entertained by baking biscuits together. Make the dough and then allow them to roll it and cut biscuits into different shapes using biscuit cutters. These can also make for great Christmas gifts for family members or friends.

Create a dress-up box

This type of play lets young children experiment with different social roles, while also learning how to cooperate. Search around the house for dresses, jackets, hats, shoes, and costume jewellery and place them in a box. Get creative with your children and dress up together using variations of the clothing.

To make this even more fun, take a range of silly dress-up photos and have them printed at your local printing shop, then frame and cherish them forever.

Do your homework and plan ahead

With all that said, gifts are still a Christmas tradition. To manage today’s high prices, more consumers are relying on buy now, pay later products to afford their holiday shopping. Spreading out the cost of a big-ticket purchase with a product like MoreTyme can make financial sense. With MoreTyme you can get what you need in time for the holidays and pay for it in three equal, interest-free instalments.

“By planning and preparing your family’s activities in advance for the holidays, you save yourself the headache of last-minute spending on expensive outings. Kids need stimulation and playtime. Make that a priority this festive season and avoid debt so that you create fun memories and spend quality time together,” concludes Appie.

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