Save Money While Keeping the Kids Happy


My daughter has now got to an age in which we could easily spend a fortune on her.

She wants to play in expensive parks all day, she is on her way to owning the world’s biggest collection of Barney DVDs and she will plead for us to buy literally any old piece of useless nonsense if it has the characters from Monster High on it.

In an attempt to try and keep our kid-based spending down we came up with a few ideas for keeping her happy for free or at little cost.

Create a Scavenger Hunt

This is something I had long wanted to do. I would have loved for my parents to have set up a home-made scavenger hunt for me so I guessed that our little one would enjoy it too. It took a lot longer to create the treasure hunt than we had thought and at first she didn’t seem to understand what the game was all about. However, once we helped her find the first hidden clue she got into the swing of things and now she loves this kind of game. In fact, I would suggest that she gets a lot more enjoyment out of this than she does in an expensive theme park. It’s also a lot more fun for the parents as well.

Cut and Paste Stuff

There’s probably a technical name for this pastime but we just call it cutting and pasting stuff. Since she was just a tiny toddler our daughter has loved grabbing scissors, papers and glue. She will cut out funny shapes and faces and animals and anything that grabs her attention. This is a really cheap hobby and you don’t even have to buy those kid’s craft books that they sell in bookshops. Instead, you can use any old magazines or newspapers you have lying about in the house. It seems to me like a very good way to get one final use out of these things instead of throwing them away. Sometimes we can go and do some work around the house while she will sit there peacefully cutting and pasting for ages on her own.

Go to the Museum

Our local museum has a free admission day once a week, as appears to be common in a lot of places these days. I love museums but I was a bit worried about how the little one would see the place. After all, we don’t live in a big city and our local museum is pretty small. The good thing is that a lot of dinosaur fossils have been dug up here and put on display. She was blown away when she saw her first ever dinosaur skeleton towering over her and I explained how it had got there. Now she asks me to pop in nearly every time we pass the museum. I’m really looking forward to going to a big city soon and letting her see a massive museum with thousands of interesting exhibits.

Do Stuff Together

To be honest, the biggest discovery I made was that she enjoys doing anything as long as we do it as a family. She is delighted going to feed the pigeons, watch the ducks in the river, go for a walk or just sit on a bench as long as she has someone to talk to. We now do a lot more stuff together and spend far less than ever before as well. There really is no need for expensive theme parks after all, it seems.

What ways have you found to keep a kid happy for little money?

2 Responses to Save Money While Keeping the Kids Happy

  1. Dave Lalonde says:

    One thing my nieces and nephews used to love doing was planting a garden. I think they just really enjoyed the simplicity of it but also being able to see it grow. Another thing is painting. Kids love arts and crafts so we would just finger paint out on the lawn so it wouldn’t be too messy indoors. Great idea on the scavenger hunt though. It DOES seem pretty time consuming to put it together. Is your daughter more of an out doors kind of person or does she prefer to have books read to her? There’s always that factor as well.

    • Robert Bell says:

      Thanks Dave. She is starting to get more enjoyment out of books now. she particularly likes to give me 3 or 4 toys and ask me to make up a story about them.

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