10 Frugal family fun ideas to beat the Autumn blues….

September is never a great month here – we go from the long lazy days of the Summer Holidays back to getting up early and having to settle back in to the school routine.  Add to that the fact that the kids get tired and crabby while they’re settling back in at school.  Oh, and don’t forget the obligatory cough/cold/flu/stomach upset that most children are likely to pick up in the first few weeks back.

So you can see why I’m not a great fan of September.

October’s good though and it’s October on Monday so we’re through the worst of it I hope.  The kids are both recovering from a bug (me too) and they’re settled back in to school happily thank goodness.  Now it’s just the weather we have to contend with!

Idea 1 – The cinema 
The cinema doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  We go to the Saturday morning showing at our local pictures (Cineworld) where they show four different family films for just £1.00 each.  The films are usually ones that have been out for a few months and there’s always one that we fancy watching.  Just beware of the pick and mix – we usually buy some sweets to sneak in with us.

Idea 2 – Puddle splashing
This might sound like a bit of a silly idea but I’ve included it because I asked my two what they most liked to do in the bad weather and this was the top of their list. They love to put their wellies on and go for a walk just to splash in the puddles. We never go far because though as there gets to a point where they get uncomfortably wet and just want to get home in the warm. Sometimes, they just play on the path out the front of the house. When we’re done we come in to the warm, get changed and have a hot chocolate.

Idea 3 – Find your local skate park
We are scooter experts here in the Frugal house (or so we like to think). I have two scooter obsessed children and we love going to our local skate park. Ours costs £3.00 for two hours but it’s definitely money well spent. For that you get two hours in the skate park and they literally do not stop for the full two hours. We often go on a Saturday afternoon and by the time we get home they’re ready to chill out in the pyjamas. Ours is having a big refit so I think they’re price is going up to £5.00 but even that is good value for the fun they have!  There’s plenty of outdoor skate parks that are free and I’m sure you could find your local one with a quick internet search but I like the one we go to as it’s indoor and has a cafe with Wifi for me to relax in while they scoot.

Idea 4 – Make Gloop
We love to make Gloop which costs less than 50p (depending on the cost of the cornflour you buy) to make, provides a good hour of fun and even has a bit of educational value.

Idea 5 – Do something that ties in to what they’re learning at school
We never do anything that’s too much like schoolwork – especially at this time of year when they are still settling in to their new workloads at school but by now, you’ve usually been told what they’re studying this term at school. We have welcome meetings followed by a letter to let us know. This term I know that Miss Frugal is learning about the first World War so we’ve been out visiting war memorials and doing rubbings of soldiers gravestones. Master Frugal is learning about Romans so we’re planning a visit to Hadrians wall and we’ve had a visit to our local museum to see some Roman artefacts. I also know the books they’re learning about so I did a google search for ‘fun activities’ and the book’s title. I found some colouring sheets, word searches and crafts to do with the books – so they learn but without realising it.

Idea 6 – Make a game together, then play it….
We have a few games that we’ve made – there’s our story cards, the bored game we made and lots of other things like dominoes that we printed off the internet. We have fun making them and then even more fun playing them together. The good thing is that you can play them again another day. We still have lots of the things we’ve made together and it’s fun to get them out every now and again for a game.

Idea 7 – Visit your local museums
I know this might not sound like a fun idea but you might be surprised. Museums are usually free and our local ones have lots of activities and exhibits aimed at children. You can look on their website (if they have one) and see if they have anything special going on. I often do this at the start of a term and add anything we want to do into my calendar.

Idea 8 – Cook together
This is one of my favourite things to do with my two. We love to bake cakes, biscuits and anything esle yummy together. Miss Frugal cooks the tea once a month for us and she spends hours choosing what she wants to make, she writes her own shopping list, buys the food from the shop and then cooks it with very little help from me. Master Frugal isn’t as interested as she is but he always appears in time to lick the bowl and do any icing that needs doing. There’s lots of recipes that we make together here.

Idea 9 – Pyjama days and movie afternoons
We often have pyjama days at this time of year. We get up, get washed but the kids leave their pyjamas on all day. We just relax all day – we watch TV, play board games and generally chill out. Just what we need sometimes after a busy week. We have Sky + and I always have a look through the upcoming films at the start of the week. I record anything I think we’ll enjoy together and every now and again we’ll have a movie afternoon which involves quilts, pillows and teddies on the living room floor while we watch films and eat popcorn.

Idea 10 – Build a den inside
Building a den inside is even more fun than building one outside – there’s no creepy crawlies and it’s nice and warm. We use the table and chairs, the ironing board, the clothes airer and lots of bedsheets. Once it’s built, the kids have snacks in there and play all sorts of games – a den seems to bring out the best of their imagination.

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