When you’re a parent every minute is precious and so the very last thing we want to be doing is wasting any of our time.
Of all the things that can potentially drain away our valuable time, is there anything more annoying and downright deplorable than people reaching out to try and hook us into a scam?
It might be a phone call, a text, an email or letter. There’s a whole range of ways that fraudsters try to pull the wool over our eyes.
However they try to scam you, it all boils down to one thing. Your money.
So how can you protect it? I love the simple but effective message from Take Five – a national campaign offering consumers advice on how to avoid fraud.
Their advice is that when you think something might be dodgy, stop Take Five to think about it and remember My Money? My Info? I don’t think so! rather than be pressured into handing over your personal or financial information.
By taking that bit of extra time, we can save ourselves a lot of heartache and trouble in the long run. We can also take back the time the fraudsters want to steal from us, and use it doing stuff we love instead.
So with that message in mind, I thought I would share with you my ideas for cheap and fun activities with my toddler that can be done in just five minutes! There’s some extra advice on beating fraud at the end of this post.
1. Have a race
Go outside into the garden or park and challenge your child to a race to the nearest tree and back again.
2. Play hide-and-seek
All children love this classic!
3. Have a dance party
Turn on your favourite tunes and bounce around the living room to the music. It’s great exercise too!
4. Sing nursery rhymes
Grab some torches and turn out the lights then wave them about in time to the music to make this sing-along extra fun.
5. Read a book
Our favourites for a quick read are Mog, The Gruffalo and Elmer.
6. Bang out a rhythm
Get out some saucepans and wooden spoons then start your very own band.
7. Have a Lego or blocks challenge
See who can build the tallest tower of Lego bricks or wooden blocks in just five minutes.
8. Play I Spy
You can do this one outdoors or indoors. Use your imagination. It’s a brilliant game for teaching toddlers new vocabulary as well.
9. Get creative with rubbish
Gather old toilet rolls and cereal boxes, then stick them together to create a telescope or a robot, or whatever your toddler can think up.
10. Make simple pizzas
Get some ciabatta bread, slice it in half and let your child top it with whatever range of toppings they fancy. Try ham, cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, peppers and mushrooms.
Then pop it under the grill and it’s cooked in just eight minutes.
11. Play a game of find and point
Name things in the room and get your child to find and touch them. It could be the front door, fridge freezer, door handle or flowers.
This should get them racing around the room.
12. Draw self-portraits
Get out some pens and paper then do a quick drawing of each other.
13. Build a den
Get some pillows and a throw and create a cosy hideaway behind the sofa.
14. Play tag
This is best played outdoors with lots of space for running!
15. Go on a bug hunt
Take your child outside into the garden and lift up a rock or a brick. Let them see the creepy crawlies that are living underneath.
16. Blow bubbles
Children love to watch and give it a try themselves. Challenge your child to count the bubbles and to see how many they can pop before they hit the ground.
17. Pasta play
Get a piece of string or ribbon and help your child to thread bits of penne pasta onto it. Extend the game by encouraging them to paint the pasta as well.
18. Sock puppets
Hold an impromptu puppet show with your socks.
19. Noisy game
Call out animal names and encourage your child to make the noise of that animal in return.
20. Make a play dough man
Get some play dough and create a quick sculpture.
21. Dress up
Get your child’s favourite costume and play pretend. My daughter loves her Chase from Paw Patrol outfit!
So next time you’re asked for personal information, take five and remember the following advice from Take Five:
1 Requests to move money: A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
2 Clicking on links/files: Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
3 Personal information: Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
Have you been a victim of fraud or experienced a fraudulent approach? How did you handle it? Plus I would love to hear what you love to do when you have a spare five minutes, either on your own or with your kids. Please tell me about your experiences either in the comments below or by tweeting me! Use #TakeFiveTuesday to join in the conversation.