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!
The Simple Things In Life

Does everyone like the simple things, can it be learnt?

The Simple Things In LifeI spent all friday filming a ‘thingy’ you’ll see soon about top tips to save money.  I’ve actually found myself more contented and less stressed having had to cut back since the big hairy northern one was made redundant, so it’s got a very positive spin on it.

Then we had the lovely weather at the weekend.  I love the smell of spring.  I love lying on grass and being barefoot.  I love counting daisies with the kids.  I love picnics.  I love walking the dog in the evening when it’s around the time that the sun comes down and everything starts to smell different.

So I’m a big fan of ‘the simple things in life’.

For many of us I think that the recession is forcing us back to a time where we can appreciate these ‘simple things’.  I’m not being flippant about the fact that there are also extremely difficult times at the moment, but for most of us who still have food to eat and roofs over our heads it’s not the worst thing that could happen.

Or is it?

I was brought up to climb trees, lie on my back and watch the clouds, and imagine fairies in the bushes around me.  What of the children with different interests who grew up to love stuff, clothes, gadgets or expensive things?  Is it more difficult for them?

The media is full of examples where kids are sent to somewhere to get back in touch with nature; like ‘Living with the Amish’ or years ago there was a bootcamp thingy for troubled teens.  Those teens eventually seemed to reconnect with nature and come home more complete and contented.  So maybe it’s possible for us all?

Perhaps it’s about finding our version of ‘the simple things in life’?  The big hairy northern one would love nothing better than a huge rucksack and unattractive fleece on his back whilst trudging up some cold and dreary mountain.  I admit that this doesn’t work for me as I’m more of a chill out and make daisy chains kind of girl.  Thank god the idea of ‘glamping’ is now beginning to filter down into just making camping more homey.

What do you think?  Is the potential to find contentment in ‘the simple things’ inside of us all?  Or are some people too far gone?

What are the ‘simple things’ that you love that cost hardly anything?  Or is the idea of cutting back horrific to you?

If you have to give up more and more of your little luxuries as this recession continues to hang around, is it causing you more stress or setting you free?

Do we take too much for granted and think that expensive things are necessary when they aren’t really?