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Ten Top Cheap Games To Keep Young Kids Occupied Cheaply When You Are Tired

We love our kids, but it’s not always easy to have the amount of energy needed to keep them occupied, especially during holidays or when we are sick!

So here are some tips on what to try when you are shattered, but you don’t want to turn on Cbeebies yet and you don’t want to spend a fortune on a toy that won’t keep them occupied that long anyway.  They work for my 7year old boy and my 2year old daughter, so they’ve got plenty of usability in them.  They maybe a little cheeky, but think of them more as good negotiation skills and having watched lots of ‘Outnumbered’.

I’ve also focussed on the ‘simple things in life‘ kind of idea, before falling back on the TV, computer or iPad.  But I am NOT a saint, and I do totally use those modern ‘baby sitters’ when I have to (probably on a daily basis) and am not ashamed to admit it, it’s just that I save them for later in the day.


My key rules are:

As cheap as possible, making as little mess as possible and taking as little of my energy up as possible.

Which rules out lots of crafting things, or buying toys or board games.

1) Bubbles – an old favourite, although only in the garden if they want to have a go too

2) Sand in a sand table or bowl – followed by No (6).

3) Chalk on the patio – washed away by all the rain we are so ‘lucky’ to get in the UK.

4) Balloons – fun blowing them up and letting them go, or fun batting them around

5) Balls – especially games rolling balls to each other, or into a pretend goal

6) Bath – I’ve spent hours in the bath with my kids

7) Hide and seek – does take some energy, but I limit it to one floor of the house only

8) Water – in a bowl or playtable can keep them occupied for ages.

9) Obstacle course – Time them running round the garden doing exercises at specific points like jumps, star jumps, crawling under tables, twirling round.  Get them to break their own records and get really shattered!

10) Reading books – I might have to talk, but at least I’m sitting down!


You might also like my top tips on what to do to get your energy back fast when you are exhausted.

I’d love to know what your top tips would be to a tired mum on how to occupy their kids cheaply when they are shattered?
Let’s share all the ideas and help each other out!

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