Top 10 money-saving activities for the school holidays
In June, deals website Groupon reported 39% of parents planned to rein in their spending in order to fund children’s entertainment over the summer holidays and 35% will, by the end of August, have to cut back after busting their budgets.
To help keep costs down, here are 10 money-saving activities which will keep kids of all-ages amused over the six-week break:
1. Local activities – no matter where you live, there’s always something going on and your council website, library, children’s centre or other community venue is a great place to start. You’ll find information on child-friendly places to visit and things to do; everything from museums, library reading schemes and sports camps to woodland walks and swimming – and the majority will be free.
2. Take to the hills, woods, forest or coast - go on foot or on a bike and enjoy the fresh air, scenery and exercise. Search ‘local walks’ or ‘cycle routes’ online and if you’re close enough, make the most of our amazing coastline; track down sea creatures in rock pools, jump waves or take to the coastal paths. Visit the Forestry Commission, National Trust or filter beach preferences at Nearest Beach and discover where to have adventures in the great outdoors.
3. Become a nature detective – learn how to track wild animals, hunt bugs and know your sea birds from land birds. The National Trust has some great tips on being a nature detective, the RSPB can help you identify birds and your local nature reserve can also tell you what’s happening in your area. Alternatively, go on a glow-worm hunt – despite its name, it’s a wingless beetle ‘glowing’ to attract a mate. Find out where one of the many national glow-worm walks is taking place this summer and input to the national glow-worm survey.
4. Treasure hunts – no matter where you are, kids of all ages get a thrill when they find something that could be ‘treasure’. Organise a route and see what you can pick up along the way or join in the geocaching craze and download the free app that directs you to a geocach haul in your area.
5. Star-gazing – learn more about how to observe The Plough, Orion’s Belt and the other constellations above you. Download information from the British Astronomical Society and if you have a tent and your garden’s secure, combine star-gazing with camping.
6. Gardening – give the children their own area where they can plant flowers, grow herbs and learn to garden for wildlife. The National Trust gives advice on how to make a home for a wild animal and the RSPB has a free Welcome Wildlife to your Garden guideIf space is limited, grow plants and herbs in window boxes/pots or contact your local council about allotment spaces.
7. Pick-your-own – fruit picking is a great way to use up excess energy, show children where their food comes from and keep costs down. The season lasts until the end of August and alongside strawberries and raspberries, crops include rhubarb, asparagus, plums, runner-beans, sweetcorn, courgettes, apples, pears and redcurrants. Simply search ‘fruit picking farms’ in your local area.
8. Cooking – having picked the fruit and veg, encourage the kids to turn it into a meal or use to bake cakes/biscuits. Take the end product on a picnic or make jam or chutney and sell to relatives and friends.
9. Dog walking – if you and your family love animals, why not advertise your services as a dog walker or pet sitter? Advertise locally on Gumtree for example, or join one of the dedicated sites such as Borrow My Doggy; you’ll get plenty of exercise and earn some money at the same time.
10. A grand day out – search online offers and make huge savings. National Rail for example, is offering 2-for-1 on 150 of the top UK attractions, English Heritage allows members to take up to six children free to many of its places, cinemas offer reduced-price morning screenings over the holidays and at weekends and numerous restaurants run ‘kids eat free’ offers. If you shop in Tesco, swap Clubcard points for theme park and attraction tickets.
We hope our ‘top 10’ has given you some inspiration on how to keep the children entertained over the summer holidays without it costing a fortune. With a little research you can find plenty of sites with ideas for activities/days out and money-saving deals; all helping to keep families within their summer budgets.
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