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Low-Cost Activities to Keep the Kids Happy at Home

Home > Everywhere > Cheap | Indoor | Kids | School Holiday Activities | School Holidays
by Niki Franks (subscribe)
I love living in Brisbane and finding fun, new activities to enjoy with my family.
Published February 14th 2018
Are the kids bored and driving you crazy? Try these ideas
This week, a heat wave has hit Brisbane with every day over 35 degrees and the humidity through the roof. Because of this, I have not been able to take my three-year-old and one-year-old on their normal walks to the park and playground each day. It has even been too hot to go to the pool as they get sunburnt so easily. This has resulted in two bored, cranky kids. Indoor play centres are a great option in this weather but by the time we pay for entrance and food, it easily comes to $30 for a morning out. In an effort to keep us all sane, I have tried coming up with some activities that won't break the bank. These are my top 5 low-cost activities for the little ones - which are great for hot days when you don't want to leave the house.

1. Dinosaur Hunt. My three year old has started to watch Andy's Prehistoric Adventures on ABC Kids, so this activity really caught her interest and kept her entertained for ages. The big pack of dinosaurs were $10 from Kmart and the sand is cloud dough. To make the cloud dough, mix 8 cups flour and 1 cup baby oil. It will form together to make shapes but then falls apart easily. I hid the dinosaurs in it and gave them some paintbrushes and digging tools so my little archaeologists could unearth them. This can get a little messy, so putting down a mess mat or a sheet is a good idea.

cloud dough, dinosaur hunt, sensory activities
Going on a dinosaur hunt in cloud dough

2. Foam Dolls. These were $3 from Kmart and entertained them for about an hour. They had a great time sticking the foam shapes on the doll cut-outs. Afterwards, you can use them in role-playing or incorporate them into other art projects.

foam dolls, activities for kids
$3 foam dolls from Kmart, an hour of fun!

3. Play dough. An oldie but a goodie! If you don't have play dough at home, it is easy to make. I like the cooked version but there are also non-cooked ones. I use this recipe from Play School.
You can buy all sorts of shape making and cutting tools but things already in your kitchen work just as well.

Play Dough, activities for kids
You can buy kits from toy stores but homemade play dough and kitchen tools work just as well

3. Disco! The girls love nothing better than cranking up The Wiggles and having a sing and dance. You can get the songs on Spotify, Netflix has all the Wiggles episodes or on ABC iView.

5. Water Play. In the late afternoon, we get enough shade out the back that we can play outside. The water play keeps them cool and burns off some energy. Water tables are great fun but can be expensive. Try looking at Gumtree or buy swap and sell sites - I bought this pirate ship for $20 and we have had hours of fun with it.

water play, water table, activities for kids
Look for cheap water tables on Gumtree or local buy, swap sell sites.
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Why? keep the kids busy
Where: At home
Cost: free
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