After New Year’s celebrations, there is usually a feeling of gloom and anxiety in most households and things like entertainment do not feature among the favorite subjects in the house. In fact, most people will not be too keen to entertain topics about such luxuries in front of their children as they could start asking for stuff. On the other hand, children are very sensitive and would rather not bring it up after seeing the looks on their parent’s faces!
Apart from the January blues, the cost of living has generally gone up, meaning that most households prioritize basic needs over other kinds of wants. While this is the prevailing situation in most houses, it is not advisable, because all work/school and no play will make the family so dull and sad. The good news is that even those of us on a shoestring budget have access to entertainment that costs very little. Let us explore some of these options.
1. Games nights
Games nights are usually welcome in most households and people wait for them with anticipation. The best thing about board games is that most games are quite affordable and easily available. Some of the common board games include chess, Monopoly, Scrabble, Risk, and Clue. Not everyone is a fan of board games and that is understandable but that should not dampen games nights as there are other games that are just as interesting, like spades, charades, role play and broken telephone.
Whenever I hear the word picnic I immediately start thinking about good food and nothing short of sickness can make me miss a good picnic. Having a family picnic on weekends can be quite entertaining and can really help you to slow down after a fast-paced week. You can carry some of the board games along as well to use for the picnic. Since it is an outdoor activity, you should also have equipment and materials for different games and activities that will see everyone sweat before they go home. Be as creative as possible and allow family members to also propose their ideas, which may just surprise you and make for a memorable day that people will be eager to repeat in the foreseeable future.
3. Backyard crafts
If you have a backyard you may try making some crafts with your kids. You may try some weaving with manila paper, finger painting and so on. Do not worry about making a mess, because you can clean up together using a hosepipe and some soap, which will also be so much fun.
4. Family cooking nights
Food excites people and children really like to participate in cooking. Just make a list of their favourite foods and those that they can make easily, and delegate different roles for everyone. Expect a big mess during and after the cooking but be flexible and try not to take over.
Most people do not have the time to watch TV as a family during the week, thanks to homework for the kids, assignments for parents who are still pursuing higher education and the need to go to sleep early ahead of the next day. Weekends are, luckily, a time when we all get free time for some entertainment. During such times, you may have different movies, series episodes, and animations to watch as a family.
You can download such content from Showmax, which is an app that allows you to download or stream content on devices such as smartphones, laptops or tablets. All you have to do is pay only Ksh250 for three months via M-Pesa to access great entertainment for up to five devices (the offer is still valid right now, but only for a limited period). There is also a “hack” that lets you buy a full year of Showmax for only Ksh1 000. This is as opposed to Ksh 10 560 (i.e. a Showmax subscription usually costs Ksh880 per month). Just go to M-PESA on your phone and pay Ksh250 to Showmax four times.
Ultimately, you will have only spent Ksh1 000. That is all that you need to get a full-year subscription which means unlimited access to over 35 000 movies, TV shows, kids’ shows and documentaries in high definition (HD). Genius, right? And there you will save Ksh9 560, which you badly need at this time. Here is the process.
- Go to M-Pesa.
- Select Lipa na M-Pesa.
- Select Paybill.
- Enter the Showmax Business Number: 852552.
- Enter your account number… this is your mobile phone number (for the phone that is attached to your Showmax account). Don’t have a Showmax account yet? Sign up for one here.
- Enter the amount Ksh250.
- Confirm that everything is okay (i.e. transaction costs, if any, and, most importantly, the name of the recipient).
- Authorise the deduction of Ksh250 from your M-Pesa account by keying in your M-Pesa PIN.
Wait for the confirmation message from M-Pesa indicating that Ksh250 has been deducted from your M-Pesa account and sent to Showmax. Additionally, you will also get another message, via email, from Showmax informing you that a payment had been made. The same email will also tell you the updated subscription date. Do this three more times and you’ll have Showmax for a year!
Do you have some ideas that you have tried before that will still keep your family happily entertained on a lean budget? We’d like to hear them and share with other parents, write to us in the comments section. The most creative ideas will get airtime worth Ksh500.