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Free & low cost summer holiday activities

Maya Griffiths

Maya Griffiths

The summer is here: yay! But there’s a cost of living crisis and we’ve all got less money: boo! So, what summer holiday activities can you entertain your kids with on a tight budget? We’ve rounded up some great ideas that cost nothing or next to nothing.

Head off for a picnic

Get the kids to help make some sandwiches, then pack a rug and off you go. You could choose from a park with a great play area, a beach or a local beauty spot.

Play dates

Want your kids to have a fun time with their friends for no cost? Arrange as many summer play dates as you can. Not only do play dates keep them entertained (and allow you some much needed peace) but socialising helps kids build their social skills, grow more confident and foster empathy.

Spot some wildlife

Take the kids off to a nature reserve and hand them each a tick list of things to spot- perhaps insects, dragon flies, birds or butterflies.

A day by the sea

If you have a beach nearby you have free entertainment for many days of the summer. Children are endlessly entertained by paddling in the water, looking for shells on the beach and making sand castles.

Free entry museums

If you are anywhere near the capital then the great choice of museums and art galleries with no entry charge are your oyster! The Natural History museum never fails to please, with it’s incredible dinosaur exhibits and stuffed animals. Also be sure to swing by the often-missed vault, which houses rocks from Mars and large meteorites.

The Tate Modern is a great place to visit, with spectacular installations that will stir kids’ imaginations. The British Museum is also an interesting day our for children, as it houses Egyptian mummies, tombs and hieroglyphics.

Cheap cinema deals

Vue cinemas are offering ‘Mini Mornings’ during the school holidays where both adults and kids pay only £2.49 per ticket. Odeon also offer a similar scheme.

2 for 1 London days out

When you travel by train you can get fantastic 2 for 1 deals on lots of top London attractions. Choose from a long list of great days out including Legoland, the London Eye, London Zoo and Madame Tussauds.

Go camping

Children love camping- even in the garden! Set up a tent, grab some snacks for a midnight feast and you’ve got everything they need for a fun night.

Go rock pooling

Rock pooling is an often-forgotten gem. Check the tide times online for your nearest rocky beach, and then head off with a bucket or fishing net. Kids adore hunting for fish, crabs and starfish amongst the pools and showing off their finds.

Make a miniature garden

Hand kids a seed tray each, line it with dirt and let them choose things from outdoors to create their own mini garden; flowers can be planted, leaves can form trees and sticks can make a tiny den or fence.

Scour the charity shops

Give the kids a couple of pounds each and head off to root through your local charity shops to find low-cost treasures. Charity shops can be great for kids’ books and toys, and allowing them to choose what to spend their money on is a great way to practise budgeting and decision making.

Max out the library card

If your kids don’t have library cards yet, be sure to get them one. In general libraries don’t charge late fees for children’s books, and they can borrow up to 30 books each! Reading is the cornerstone of learning, creating vivid imaginations and teaching kids about the world. Encouraging them to regularly swap books at the library keeps their creative side developing and young minds working.

Grab some chalk

Let kids decorate the patio or even the bricks of your house with their chalk designs. Such a large canvas offers them the chance to let their creativity fly, and the best bit is that it will all wash away when it rains!

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