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Easy / cheap activities for larger families

(14 Posts)
LongStory Sun 04-Nov-12 23:39:21

[...inspired by another thread]

So if I'm mega-organised we end up racing from one thing to the other with loads of visitors/trips and spending most of my time being the family PA. On quiet/lazy days we'll all stay at home fighting over which DVD and who gets the laptop... Both are stressful. I'm looking for some low-stress fun things for the quieter days.

Things they all love which don't take too much work:
- yoga in the lounge
- dressing up / makeup
- hide and seek
- walks in the forest
- going to an athletics track out of hours (littlies love the long jump / sandpit)

Things that definitely don't work:
- shopping
- anything involving balloons
- talking on the phone / skype
- crafts / cooking (I end up doing it all whilst refereeing disputes)

More ideas very very welcome!

BackforGood Sun 04-Nov-12 23:42:46

Kids Club at the cinema (£1 per seat here)
Swimming (I know this varies, but it's free for dcs here - might be expensive for you)

Mainly, IMVHE, splitting them up grin

LongStory Mon 05-Nov-12 16:19:15

swimming not viable with two young non-swimmers - haven't tried the cinema but think it would be tricky. I find it impossible difficult with only one adult to go places where you can't easily take one to the toilet. My 12yo is getting a bit more helpful so there is light at the end of the tunnel...

LadyPeterWimsey Mon 05-Nov-12 16:26:06

Geocaching - how to take them for a long walk withut them noticing. Depending on what is near you, it can take minutes or hours.

Board games - when they're all old enough obviously.

Family movie with popcorn.

building dens in the house with blankets, etc.

Ignoring them until they entertain themselves. wink

purpleroses Mon 05-Nov-12 18:51:55

Ours seem to amuse themselves best with endless games of murder in the dark. They've worked out how to black out my DD's room and it keeps them going for hours.

Other things that work are - swing parks, board games, movie nights, and going places where they can run around or sit and read a book/chat.

Definitely not shopping - I will take 2 max with me going shopping (preferably the girls)

Have found it works best to make a decision on the DVD to watch, and they are offered the choice of watching or not watching. They never agree if we ask them - and voting always means someone loses and usually cries.

amck5700 Mon 05-Nov-12 18:59:10

My OH used to nip up our local hill and bury a couple of plastic animals and a few pennies and a couple of boiled sweeties or lollies - then he would draw a map and we went looking for buried treasure smile Makes a walk a bit more interesting. I know you said no cooking or crafts, but decorating (and eating) pre made gingerbread men is easy and cheap - just don't give too many choices of decoration!

LongStory Mon 05-Nov-12 22:19:35

Murder in the dark ... that takes me back. The old ones are the best. I can't wait until they are ready for board games. I find it so frustrating that one of my 3yo twins is so eager to concentrate on things like that, and the other just still wants to grab all the little pieces and put them in his mouth.

Love the idea of buried treasure! Geocaching is similar, but strangely my mum is addicted to it and the kids aren't really bothered. I tried some crafts today and it was ok, just cutting and sticking with the twins, maybe I should be braver!

amck5700 Mon 05-Nov-12 22:26:29

play doh used to be okay when mine were little - I only have 2 but they were 13 months apart - and I am one of 7 smile

BackforGood Mon 05-Nov-12 23:34:13

Might be easier for people to make suggestions if you tell us what ages you have - I'm picking up a 12 yr old and 3 yr old twins - who else do you have ? smile

LongStory Tue 06-Nov-12 17:55:03

Good point BFG, of course not all large families are the same!!! I have 3 boys aged 12 7 and 3, and two girls 10 and 3. I really want to enjoy what's left of the pre-teen years now that the twins are out of buggies and nappies etc, but there are a lot of limits on their physical and concentration abilities still.

mumof2girls99 Fri 07-Dec-12 20:31:12

how about baking? playdough painting games playdough i only have 2dc so slightly easier although id like a large family smile

moodymai Sat 08-Dec-12 17:19:28

I use my clubcard points to get Day out rewards, eg we took our 4 to Blackpool zoo for a day out and it cost net to nothing - usual price would have been about £60

moodymai Sat 08-Dec-12 17:19:35


planeticketplease Tue 11-Dec-12 21:44:27

I do magic potion afternoons with my 4dc. I mix up a few ingredients in pots (like bottles of water with food dye in, flour, gloopy cornflour), give them exotic names (snake venom, dragon blood etc), make then gather 'ingredients' from the garden (mud, grass) and send them out in the garden to make potions! They work together really well, especially when they realise they have to create potions to protect the garden from trolls coming over the fence!! sometimes either the eldest (10) or I will set up a shop selling the potions which makes it more interesting for older kids (but the shop tends to close very early if its me!) and helps the smaller dc with counting and money. The youngest (2) just likes the textures and the mess. Best on a warm day tough when you can supervise in the garden with a gin though...

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