The summer holidays are officially upon us. Whilst the kids will be eagerly looking forward to six weeks of freedom, parents everywhere may be inwardly panicking about how on earth to keep the boredom at bay.
Another worry during the school holidays is how to keep on top of spending. Getting the family out of the house often results in an ice cream here and a bag of sweets there. The pennies can very quickly add up.
To help you out, we’ve pulled together the best cheap and free things to do with the whole family this summer.
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Get to know your local library
Whether you already have a library card or not, the library can be the perfect place to escape to during the summer holidays. Plus, it’s totally free. Not only are there enough books to keep you and your family busy for days, but many libraries also have games and activities to keep little minds occupied.
Your local library may also hold events, particularly throughout the summer holidays such as live storytime readings and plays. You should be able to find out about these via your local council’s website.
Arts and crafts are always a great way to pass the time – and it’s not just for children. No matter your age, crafting can help improve your mood and increase happiness, so get stuck in as a family and see what you can make.
You might not have cupboards and drawers full of arts and crafts supplies, and that’s okay. All it takes is a little out-of-the-box thinking and you’ll be surprised what you can create. Check out our recent blog post where we share ideas on thrifty children’s art ideas using items you probably have lying around the house.
The great outdoors
This one might seem obvious, but fresh air and the great outdoors cost nothing! Yes, we probably do need to rely on the British weather to bless us with at least some dry weather, but there are so many ways to spend a day outside.
For instance, you could plan a scavenger hunt. You could task the kids with making a wildflower bouquet each. You could plan a mini sports day, complete with the egg and spoon and sack race. With a bit of sunshine and imagination, the possibilities are endless!
Check out the National Trust
National Trust are passionate about children exploring and discovering nature, and often put on free or inexpensive activities and events throughout the summer at their National Trust properties located all over the country. You can find details of all events and activities running at your local National Trust property over on the National Trust website.
And if you are simply planning a visit to your local National Trust property for a wander around, you may be able to pick up a ‘get set, go’ activity card (depending on the property) to inspire your adventure, designed to encourage you to have fun with what’s around you and explore the simple things.
Set up camp
Holidays might be off the cards this summer, but you could always transform your garden into a campsite. By that, we mean putting up a tent and sleeping under the stars. You could even get a campfire going and toast some marshmallows if you have the means to do so.
If you don’t own a tent, you could always recreate the experience of camping by making a fort out of pillows and blankets, and stay out all evening before heading in to sleep indoors. All the joy of camping, but with a working toilet a stone’s throw away and a nice warm bed to crawl into if needed!
Scout out cheap cinema tickets
The cinema can feel like an expensive trip. Not only can the tickets be pricey, but all the obligatory snacks and drinks can really add up! However, cheap cinema tickets are everywhere if you know where to look.
Most cinema chains offer a membership scheme. They are usually free to sign up to and offer various perks and rewards, including discounted or 2 for 1 tickets on off-peak days of the week. Meerkat Movies also offer 2 for 1 cinema tickets every Tuesday or Wednesday for a year, but you can only access this by comparing and purchasing an insurance policy through their comparison website, Compare the Market.
You could also check out Tastecard+. Tastecard+ allows you to save up to 40% on Odeon, Vue, Picturehouse, Showcase, Cineworld, Empire and other independent cinemas. You can usually get between two and four months free or for £1 on a trial – perfect to cover the summer holiday period.
Get a Kids Pass
Similarly, it’s always worth checking out voucher websites and initiatives such as Kids Pass. Kids Pass is designed to make family days out more affordable. Membership isn’t free, but a monthly membership costs just £4.99 and would cover you for the majority of the summer holidays.
A Kids Pass offers discounts up to 57% off a range of days out, including theme parks, zoos and safaris, dining and activities such as paintball. Planning a day out to a theme park will inevitably cost you more than the average day, but something like a Kids Pass might just make it an affordable option.
The school summer holidays are the perfect time to enjoy quality time together as a family, and nothing should stand in the way of that. If finances are tight, don’t let that stop you. The best things in life are free!