We understand that right now is a difficult time to fund activities and spend money on keeping kids entertained. Spare cash is few and far between for us all, so we have come up with a few different ways to keep all of the family entertained on a budget… And the different benefits to each activity!
This vast range of activities are low cost, can take up plenty of time on slow weekend afternoons, and also all have some form of benefit to SEND individuals that stems further than quality time and enjoyment!
Family Batch Cooking
We have found within our sessions that the children and young people absolutely love to get involved with helping out with cooking. Getting everyone involved in the kitchen will help boost your loved ones confidence and gain general life skills that they can carry for the rest of their lives. Creating a meal prep menu will also provide a sense of structure and routine, as well as providing the young people with a sense of responsibility. It is also proven that batch cooking and freezing portions is a great way to not only save money, but reduces food waste and is quicker and easier on those busy weekday nights.
This wellness activity is guaranteed to provide not only a relaxing afternoon on a budget, but can also help your loved one’s mental health! All you need for this is an empty plastic bottle, water and glitter or sequins. Decide which colours make them the most calm, and select glitters from any local charity school or bargain store- you can often find tubs for under £1! Fill the bottle with the glitter/sequins and top up with water, ensuring that the lid is tightly glued shut in order to prevent any spillages. The idea of this bottle is whenever your loved one is feeling overwhelmed or needs a source of anxiety relief, to vent their frustration by shaking the bottle hard- and then watching the glitter swirl to calm them down. This can be tailored to what best suits you- however we do recommend to use a shatter proof container for safety!
Gardening and Growing
Why not spend an afternoon growing your own fruit, veg or flowers? Seeds can be used from leftover food, or found fairly cheap in garden centres. And- you don’t need a garden to do it! Growing things like cress can be done within your own home, or on balconies and patio spaces when stored in suitable containers. Not only has gardening been proven to be a great way to destress, but the process of watching something slowly grow and flourish can be a great source of excitement and responsibility for children and young people. It can even save money on shopping too, by growing your own produce instead of buying it from the supermarket.
There are a few steps to this amazing activity that can take up a lot of free time on the weekends for a very small price bracket. Firstly, plan out a walk or trip to the park depending on your ability, and go looking for stones and pebbles with a nice flat surface! Beaches are a great source for larger stones-however you will be amazed at what you can find even on the school run if you are looking! Once you have collected enough pebbles, give them a wash in the sink with some water and fairy liquid. Wait for them to dry, and your pebble is ready to get decorated! We recommend acrylic paint for pebbles- however you can even find pebble pens online and at your local shop. This creative activity can simply be some fun to decorate them with whatever you want- let your imagination run wild! However, making mindfulness pebbles can be a great way to help with your loved ones mental health. For example, mood pebbles with different emotions on each one may make it easier for participants to be able to convey their feelings or emotions- likewise affirmations and words of encouragement. Even painting characters on that can then be used within imaginary games, instead of dolls and toys! Please ensure that children are supervised at all times- as they can unfortunately be a choking habit.
Make a Time Capsule
Why not send a letter or box of memories to yourselves for a few years? Pick what time period you would like- it could be one year, it could be ten! Then fill a box with small mementos that you feel your future selves would appreciate. You could even write letters, or a list of dreams and goals that you would like to achieve by the time you reopen the capsule. You could even fill it with your favourite songs and movies right now, to see how your taste changes in the future! Seal the capsule- this can be something as simple as a shoe box! Write the date you would like to reopen it and store it somewhere safe. This can provide a whole afternoon of fun- and it’s something lovely to look back on when you open it in years to come!
Make a Sensory Box
There are all different kinds of ways that you can make a fantastic sensory box for your loved one to enjoy. The idea of this is to fill up a plastic container (this can be recycled!) full of items that will engage multiple senses at once. For example, a nature sensory box can be filled with leaves, shells, acorns, twigs and stones- again, all things that can be found on a weekend walk! Nature also provides a range of smells, noises and textures- so it’s a perfect theme for a sensory box! Other items that are a great box addition can include rice, popcorn kernels, play dough, ice cubes, marshmallows, paper and flour! It can be as messy and random as you want it to be, and will provide a range of sensory experiences for your loved one to experience once you have finished making the box! Please supervise this activity at all times, as many sensory items can often be choking hazards!
Make your own Slime
We all know that lots of children and young people love slime, and for lots of different reasons! It can not only be a stress reliever, but provides a sensory experience, as well as being able to make them aesthetically pleasing! All you need to make your own slime is glue, baking soda, contact lens solution and food dye in whatever colour you would like your slime to be- don’t forget you can also use glitter and sequins to decorate your slime! This can all be found at a local bargain shop and can provide hours of supervised fun for you and your loved one! Beware- this can be a very messy activity, so doing it outdoors or covering the surface beforehand is recommended! There are thousands of alternative ways to make slime that can be found by a simple Google search- so if you want to change out an ingredient or make them slightly differently- don’t fear, you can!
This very low cost activity can be a great way to not only express your creativity and imagination, but is also a great alternative to spending money on paint! To do this, fill up an ice cube tray and insert food colouring into each square, as well as recycled lolly sticks and leave in the freezer to solidify. They can then be used as DIY water paints! This provides a sensory aspect to painting through the use of ice cubes, as well as utilising different things around the house that would usually be thrown out to create more fun! Again, much like painting this can get pretty messy- so please make sure it is supervised and in an environment that won’t cause too much stains!
Which activity do you think you would like to try out? Let us know in the comments and make sure to send over pictures of you getting involved! We hope that you have found this blog useful, and would love to see any of your cost effective wellness activities that we haven’t mentioned.
We hope that you all have a wonderful, inclusive week!