“Mom, Dad I’m bored!” Do you hear this sentence very often?

With the daily expenses piling up, most UAE residents are finding it tougher to entertain their children without spending a fortune for it. The only other option then for kids sitting at home is to resort to the idiot box or play video games. Close to 26 percent of children in the UAE spend more than three hours a day playing video games. More than half of these like to play the video games solo. The ratio of both parents spending time with their child is only 18 percent!

But what if you could spend more quality time with your child, while staying on a budget? Here are some simple ideas you could try:

Bake with your kids

Allotting a day in the week, where you indulge in a session of baking together could be a fun idea. Not only do you spend quality time with each other , but you also get a chance to teach your child basic skills like being able to follow instructions. Most recipes for kids meals are easy, quick and cheap. You could start with something like a mini pizza to get your child warmed up to the idea of baking together.

Go to the movies

Head to the cinemas for a session of popcorn and a kids’ movie. Ticket prices are usually around AED 35 per person, but you can score further discounts with credit cards that have cinema benefits. 

Hit the beach

How about getting some much needed vitamin D, while building a sand castle? Most beaches in the UAE have a free or nominal entry. All you need to arrange for – is water, snacks, a beach mat and toys for your children. Invite other parents and their children to make a  day out of it.

Visit the zoo

Taking your child to the zoo or the aquarium could be both fun and educational for him or her.  You can visit the Sharjah Aquarium for AED 10 or Jumeirah Zoo for AED 2. Another idea is to make a do it yourself (DIY) zoo passport with your children – where they get to draw out or color the animals they saw in the zoo.

Puzzle it up

Don’t feel like going out in the heat? Spend quality time indoors with a puzzle. A study shows that when attempting to complete a puzzle, both the left and right sides of the human brain are engaged. You can order various types of puzzles online with prices starting from AED 14.

Let’s bounce it

Engage your kid into a fun physical activity by heading to an indoor trampoline park – Bounce in Al Quoz. Book a one hour session with prices starting from AED 70.

Travel the world without leaving home

Get on the internet together with your child to start learning about new countries and their cultures. You could then plan a host of activities based on the new learning – like cooking different cuisines, creating traditional costumes, attempting to speak in native languages etc