1) Create activity grab bags with what you already have.
The most budget-friendly play possible is to buy absolutely nothing and instead utilise what you already have! Grab bags are perfect for summer play and better yet, once you've created them, they are ready to go whenever you need them!
Some ideas for grab bags:
Pop some playdough in a lunchbox along with some cutters and a small rolling pin.
A selection of animal figures and matching flashcards.
Print of draw a few cards with spots on grab some chickpeas. Use them to practice counting (see picture above).
Draw some shapes on a ziplock bag, add some hair gel and some buttons and ask your little one to push the buttons inside the shapes. This one is perfect because it is mess-free!
Add a handful of chickpeas and a dice into a small tub or bag. Roll the dice and show the same number using chickpeas.
Put a selection of items into a box along with some paint sample cards. Match the items to the nearest colour square.
Print some pictures or grab some out of a magazine. Cut them into strips and reorder them.
Grab some playdough and simple pictures like objects or animals. Use the playdough to recreate the items shown on the pictures.
Simply use a selection of lollipop sticks and blu-tack. Attach the sticks together to make a variety of shapes.
2) Turn mealtime into the hottest cooking show!
Whatever you are cooking for dinner, turn it into an activity by getting the little ones involved. They could chop with safety knives, stir or help to set the table. It is a great way to help your little one feel like a valued member of the family while also developing fine motor and hand strength skills.
3) Visit your local library
During the summer most libraries offer a variety of children's services. It could be reading challenges where your little one gets a certificate at the end of the summer or they might hold craft sessions or similar. It is really worth having a look to see what's on offer.
It is also a great free day out as you can pop to the library and explore the books on offer before choosing a few to bring home.
One great tip to make books more interactive is to stick post-it notes across images and various pages. Kids love pulling them off and discovering what is underneath! You can also turn it into a challenge to begin some early comprehension skills. For example 'Can you move the post-it note and put it on the red parrot?'
4) Utilise outdoor space
Whether it is your own garden or a local park, getting outside is always a perfect way to spend a day.
Many local authorities have free outdoor experiences such as splash pads or organised events. It is worth checking out what is going on in your area.
If you're staying home, you could have a scavenger hunt by hiding items around the garden to be collected or have fun with some pavement or fence panel painting!
5) Join Catkin Club!
At a budget-friendly £3.99 a month, Catkin Club is a jam-packed with activities and resources to see you through every single day! Not only that, but every activity has been created by an experienced teacher (me!) and tested by Arlo so you can be sure it will keep the little ones happy and learning all summer long!
There are monthly themed resources and a back catalogue, too. So whatever skill you're child is working on, you will find something engaging, easy to set-up and FUN!
So, there you have it! 5 fab ideas to help you play in a budget-friendly way!