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Keeping Your Kids Entertained on a Budget

Keeping your kids entertained at the best of times is no easy task, so keeping your child entertained for the journey to your holiday destination, and on a budget, will be challenging at best. Just because most of the child entertainment options on the market are expensive, doesn't mean it has to be costly to you whilst you're on holiday. There are plenty of things you can do which can ensure your child is entertained and happy without spending lots of precious holiday spending cash.

Play games

You can hand a child a tablet or iPad with apps on but studies have shown that their engagement level with this sort of entertainment doesn't last as long as with a physical interactive toy such as Pictionary or using a puzzle. There are loads of games you can play, here are just a few:

Make reading fun

Even if your children are of an age where they don't need to have bedtime stories read to them anymore, it doesn't mean they won't enjoy a really entertaining book. Get the kids to act out the story they're reading and they could even put on a play if you're waiting to board your plane or are in a huge queue.

Plan your holiday adventures

Kids like to be involved, so give them some leaflets or access to the internet and let them plan things to do. You could then ask them to make a book, itinerary or map to show the adults what they've planned for everyone.

Download some apps

Apps aren't always a replacement for traditional non-digital travel entertainment, and when interspersed with the more traditional types of entertainment, it can be beneficial. Make sure that the apps you do download for your children do not have access to allowing in-app purchases (remember the news story about the boy that ended up spending £1,700 buying virtual ammunition in an iPad game?)

Note: If you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, select your Settings button. Tap General, then Restrictions. Select Enable Restrictions and then choose a PIN (preferably not the same one used to unlock the device). Then scroll down to the Allowed Content section and either turn In-App Purchases off completely using the switch or change the Require Password option to 'Immediately' rather than '15 minutes'. The PIN will ensure that only you will be able to change these settings in the future, and you can always adjust the 'Allowed Content' further to prevent age-restricted apps, music, films and TV being downloaded onto your device.

Me Comics (free)

This app provides kids with a collection of digital comics from all sorts of brands including Disney, Beano and transformers. Kids can also read the comics and record their own narration. It's worth noting that the comics here are in-app purchases, but stock up before you leave and then deactivate the in-app purchases so your child doesn't splash out on My Little Pony comics.

Toca Mini (£1.99)

This app gets children to create their own characters using colours, stamps, and other touchscreen controls, keeping them engaged for long periods of time. Perfect for car journeys or waiting in airports when you want to keep your kids creative.

Minecraft (£4.99)

Chances are you've already heard of this 3+ game before. Millions of children play this simple game which involves a new world and a character crafting, mining and battling little things that go boo in the night. Totally engaging, open-ended and interactive.

Entertaining children is no easy business, but hopefully with these tips your holiday won't seem quite as full of tired and irritable moods. If you're planning on travelling overseas with your family, make sure you invest in a good quality family travel insurance policy. With Alpha's cover, you can ensure your family doesn't face expensive bills for things like emergency medical attention, lost, stolen or damaged personal possessions. With our gadget extension (available on certain policies only), you can make sure your tablet and smartphone (containing all the handy apps) are insured against theft, loss or damage, too.

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