With schools set to break up for summer is the thought of trips to the zoo, cinema, theme park, seaside and park filling you with dread?
Here are a few tips and suggestions to keep the costs down but the fun levels up during the summer holidays:
Take snacks and picnics – Make lunch fun but ensure it doesn’t cost the earth by taking the food with you. Most places entice the little ones with sweets and drinks in boxes, but why not take your own! Buy stickers or toys from supermarkets or the local pound store and put them in with sandwiches, little surprises along with their favourite treats can stop you having to pay inflated costs whilst at attractions.
Museums – many are free including the Science museum and Natural History museum are both free, now I know train fares can be expensive (although children under 5 are free), however if you are going up to London on a Sunday there is no congestion charge and parking restrictions are reduced so you can often find parking spaces on the main road, so why not drive to cut costs further.
Parks – There are lots of parks which are obviously completely free, but will that keep the kids entertained for more than an hour? Well why not create an activity sheet for them with pictures of wildlife and flowers to find, you can do bark rubbings, collect and press flowers, take bats and balls and frisbees. The park can take up a whole day, just don’t forget the sun cream and the waterproofs after all you never know!
Home – Now I know staying in can be boring, but why not get out those messy activities that you dread but do them in the garden, paints, play doh, sticking and glitter whatever it is set up the table outside for them or in the garage or shed, it can be an adventure as they are doing what they enjoy in a different environment and you are slightly less stressed about the mess that will need clearing up!
Cinema – Trips to the cinema can cost a fortune, but check your local cinema to see if they do Kids weekend, our local Vue cinema does a 10am showing on a Saturday and Sunday and it is £1.75 per adult or child. Plus they do a little popcorn and drink package for about £3. So actually it doesn’t have to cost the earth, however there is only usually one film to see so you may have to plan this activity to ensure they get to see something they want to see.
Home Cinema – Why not set up the living room as a cool cinema, bring down the duvets shut the curtains, get the sweets and popcorn or whichever snack you want your child to have and make it a fun experience, you can even get the torches out for shadow puppets before the film starts.
Local shopping centres – often offer activities during school holidays, why not check your local centres website to see what they have on and see if there are any charges before you go.
Play dates – Simply inviting friends round can keep them entertained in their own home with their own toys and there is no cost, in fact there is an added benefit of either adult company whilst the kids play or even an afternoon off if the mum of the friend returns the favour!
Different activities – whatever your child is into start looking for related activities now, so sites like Disney have colouring in and making activities as well as online games. Get downloading and printing now so you have an activity up your sleeve for that rainy afternoon.
Baking – you can have great fun in the kitchen making cakes and cookies, from simple rice crispie cakes to proper iced numbers whatever your level of expertise you can still have fun baking!
Day trips – Obviously it is the busiest time of year for theme parks, farms, zoos etc. So plan your day, find a map online, find show times and activity times and that way you are prepared and ensure you get to see everything you want to despite queues. Don’t forget to take something to keep them entertained during long queue’s, a book, a DS or even eye spy, it’ll stop the “are we nearly there yet” and “I’m bored” comments!
Go somewhere different – sometimes just going to a different park, or shopping centre or farm can mean the kids are kept engrossed for a little bit longer.
Do your homework – Farms for example can charge a small admission fee and have lots of animlas, others can charge a much larger fee but can have indoor play and activites to keep the children entertained all day. Work out hours v’s budget a higher entrance fee might seem like it isn’t worth it, but if it keeps them entertained all day it may well be worth the extra few pounds.
Spread the activites – 6 weeks can be a very long time but if you can afford one big activity a week or maybe two thourghout the holidays you can tell your child about them and get them excited for there big adventure, making “boring” days just another day counting down to the big activity.
We hope you enjoy the summer holidays with the kids and if you have any money saving ideas or tips for other mum’s please let us know below…