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FINANCE: Don’t Break the Bank Keeping the Kids Entertained This Festive Season


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Don’t fall into the trap of giving your kids money to keep them entertained this summer holiday. Creative and pocket friendly activities can keep the kids entertained, without breaking the bank.

“Children are off school for a couple of months in the year, and parents more often than not take this time to be together as a family,” says Eunice Sibiya, FNB Head of Consumer Education. “The trick during this time is for both parents and kids to realise that it isn’t always necessary to spend money in order to have fun.”

Activities such as going to the movies, hanging out at the mall with friends, or events like beach concerts and theme parks will all quickly add up for parents, creating financial stress in January 2017.

Herewith are a few ways to keep the kids entertained, without breaking the bank this holiday season.

Tap into activities that cost nothing

Spending time together should not always mean going shopping or out for a meal. Parents and kids should tap into the spaces around them that could make for great free entertainment.

“Make full use of the outdoors this summer,” suggests Sibiya. “If you are going to the seaside, fill your days with time at the beach, or if you’re staying inland explore the various parks and gardens in your areas.”

There are often lovely braai areas that make for a great lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon get-together and even though it might not be the beach, bat and ball or board games are just as much fun in the park.

Alternatively, take a day trip and visit all the small towns or sites to be seen that you have never been to before. Have breakfast at home and pack a picnic basket for lunch.

“You will be surprised at the hidden gems around your home town that you would have never thought to discover during the year,” says Sibiya.

Keep them busy

Prevent boredom by giving your kids a project to do over the summer holiday.

“This may actually work out in both the parents’ and the children’s favour,” says Sibiya.

There are always home projects that need to be attended to, whether it is clearing out the garage, finally getting to mending something or even hosting various family or friends.

You can get children to do touch-up paint work around the house, help prepare meals or clear out rooms.

“You can teach your kids the value of money at the same time as getting projects that have been hanging over your head for ages,” says Sibiya.

Consider getting the kids to identify items that can be sold online. Give them a percentage of all successful sales, or use that money towards other household projects.

The house is all yours

If your children are older, give the house to them for an evening to host a dinner party with their friends. You and your spouse can enjoy an early evening in or plan in such a way that the children’s dinner overlaps with your plans. Suggest that they ask their friends to all contribute to the evening to keep the costs down. Of course, they’re expected to have fun responsibly.

“Giving your children the house is an easy way to cut costs. Whether they have a dinner party or a DVD evening – it is likely to be cheaper than a night out on the town and it is one less evening to worry about their safety,” explains Sibiya.

Make them budget

“Don’t fall into the trap of swiping every time one of your children asks for something, whether it is an item or some form of entertainment,” warns Sibiya.

Sit together as a family and talk through a specific budget that they will each have to adhere to.

“You can give them their pocket money weekly and if they have overspent, that needs to be the end of the line,” says Sibiya. “They will soon learn the art of budgeting for items and activities they really want to do, as oppose to spending compulsively.”

By keeping your kids busy without always paying to keep them entertained, you will give your bank balance a breather this festive season.

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