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Fed up of looking for 'free' activities for my dc - skint :-(

(26 Posts)
Openup41 Tue 19-Aug-14 14:39:38

Just over two weeks left of the holidays. So far we have been to parks, summer fetes, the beach. We have taken a packed lunch everywhere. No fish and chips on the beach, take away dinner on the way home.

I am desparately calling libraries, Sure Start centres for details on any sessions they may have.

I am tired of doing things on the cheap and want to take my dc to Chessington/Thorpe Park/London Zoo/restaurants for lunch and dinner etc. I want to see excitement on their faces sad

Feeling like a crap mum although they are not complaining.

Zippidydoodah Tue 19-Aug-14 14:42:25

Is there a "mums in the know" site local to you? Every day they give you a list of activities you can do with your kids, if you like them on FB.

Zippidydoodah Tue 19-Aug-14 14:43:12

Ps if they're not complaining then I'm sure they're fine! How about inviting friends over to play? How old are they?

MyCrazyLife Tue 19-Aug-14 14:43:14

Hey, we are skint too. I did save for the holidays, but we've done loads of free stuff.

We went to The Deep last weekend, and yes the kids loved it, but all the way home they moaned/whinged/screamed.

My parents never did things with us like going to the park, or having a picnic. Trust me, your kids will have great memories.

Openup41 Tue 19-Aug-14 14:43:49

I will have a look.


Openup41 Tue 19-Aug-14 14:44:39

5 and 7.

MissVanDyke Tue 19-Aug-14 14:44:57

I feel for you but just wanted to say that I think you're doing really well. When I look back on my Summer holidays as a child I only remember the playing, be it in the garden, out with friends, or elaborate games in the house. I am fairly sure that we did go out on trips but those aren't what made Summer holidays great.

I actually think that children need this sort of play the most (although I know it can drive you crazy being stuck in and surrounded by the mess).

We can't go out much at the moment as I am unwell and I am feeling very guilty about that too, even if I do keep telling myself all that I've told you!

How old are your DC by the way?

MissVanDyke Tue 19-Aug-14 14:46:13

Oops, cross post. I really think that at that age they will love the picnics and just playing. Will try and think of some more ideas though.

naturalbaby Tue 19-Aug-14 14:49:24

Even when my dc's were babies we only went to local toddler groups for £1 or £2, not much changed as they grew older. As soon as they started school then we did a few playdates over the summer but missed out on the big days out and holidays. All my dc's friends could swim by September because they spent the summer in a villa with a pool. My dc's still can't swim. The worst part was having to drag them along to do all my boring errands that I usually do while they're in school.

Bustermqc Tue 19-Aug-14 14:52:57

Places like Chessington are hell any way!

But agree it is grim having to always pack lunches or panic about being home for lunch as you know you any afford to get something out. Makes everything so much less relaxed And holiday feeling.

Everyone is right though. They won't look bck and think tch we never had big expensive days out. Also we're all in the same boat! I'm sure the other kids at school will have done jut the same in the holidays!

lucysmam Tue 19-Aug-14 14:57:34


The only days out we have had, my dad paid for - seaside and flamingo land. We'd never have afforded it sad

Thankfully where we live, there are a lot of other kids & my two have been able to play out front lots. If we still lived in our old house, we'd be skint and stuck in the house all the time which was worse.

Purpleflamingos Tue 19-Aug-14 14:59:51

Don't know where you are but if you book wheelgate online you save 10% pp per ticket. We went last week for £27 ish for a family of 4.

beachyhead Tue 19-Aug-14 15:00:41

If you have Tesco vouchers, you can get cinema tickets now for £2.50 worth of vouchers. Just bought two for tomorrow. They email them to you, so you don't have to wait.

Openup41 Tue 19-Aug-14 15:01:31

They are having fun but in my head it is not enough!

There are so many great days out but they cost ££.

Buster As organised as I am, I grow tired of packing lunches and drinks. The worse thing is having to cook/russle up food after being out all day as we cannot stretch to a take away.

Some of their friends went abroad/holidayed in the UK.

Openup41 Tue 19-Aug-14 15:03:58

Beachy We shop at Lidl and Aldi but thanks.

SugarMiceInTheRain Tue 19-Aug-14 15:13:58

Trust me, I have been to lots of theme parks and you know what - my boys (8 and 6) have probably preferred the picnics we had out at the local playground or water fights in the garden, because most of the day at any given theme park (or other attraction costing ££s) is spent queueing! My happiest memories from childhood are of things we did that cost nothing, honestly! You are not a crap mum for doing your best for your children, you are fantastic. I know it's not exactly a 'meal out' but on weekdays after 4pm kids eat free at Morrisons when you buy an adult meal. Adult meals are 2 for £8 so a family of 4 can eat fish and chips and have a soft drink at the Morrisons cafe for £8. Costs almost that to make your own fish and chips at home IME.

lucysmam Tue 19-Aug-14 15:19:02

I'm the same -atm dd1 is out on roller skates after a morning of board games and dd2 is watching Ben & Holly upstairs. They've had a perfectly nice day, doing what they wanted but I had a bus ticket for the day so could have gone out - the spare £17 for the week wouldn't even have come close to entry prices anywhere though.

snice Tue 19-Aug-14 15:23:59

I feel for you OP as I know what its like-my children are a bit older now and tend to spend time hanging out with their friends rather than expecting a daily programme of activities but I remember scouring websites for free stuff. I also think when you take packed lunches everywhere its very wearing-I long to be able to say lets go out for lunch to my children but its a once a holiday treat.

Maybe you could try a project of some sort for the last two weeks of the holidays? Collecting something/making something arty for the house/papier mache?

My local sports centre lets you book table tennis or badminton for £1 an hr in the holidays so thats cheap entertainment

Have you got an Odeon/Showcase cinema to do Kids Club film? Tickets are only £1.50 here

I know you dont feel like it now but please believe me that your children are enjoying the free outings and time with you-one of my childrens favourite things when younger was to have the paddling pool filled with warm water and spend the afternoon chucking water about.

lunatuna Tue 19-Aug-14 15:25:08

Course it is enough! My kids like the free stuff the best, always have. Maybe cos I am a cheapskate so I am extra happy that we are not paying!
I splashed out on a very expensive day out a couple of weeks ago and it was rubbish, my eldest ds even complained to the receptionist that it wasn't worth the money!
Kids don't really need money spent on them to have a good time - that is a myth spread by adverts in the media straight into our guilt-ridden parental hearts...
Tomorrow, i've adked them what they'd like to do... We are going to the park, raining or not, their choice.
Swimming is good and cheap though and takes away your guilt...

lunatuna Tue 19-Aug-14 15:28:02

Or could you maybe have a holiday sleepover at a friend's or relative's somewhere not too far away?

snice Tue 19-Aug-14 15:37:04

Just thought of the other cheap thing my children used to like-going to a car boot sale with £1 each to spend.

snice Tue 19-Aug-14 15:37:50

POsted too soon: -.. to see who could get the best bargain

AlexVause82 Tue 19-Aug-14 15:38:07

When I was a nipper we never went on holidays, my parents just couldn't afford it. We would spend the whole summer playing with friends in my grans house in the country and absolutely loved it. Even trips to the beach with no picnic was an adventure.

Stop being so hard on yourself.

Have you considered camping? Cheaper than a caravan and the kids get to meet up with other kids and it doesn't cost an awful lot if you organise food properly.

Or maybe have DVD days, get some pre popped popcorn from Aldo for 39p, fill a bowl and have a film marathon.

Beach days, take the swim suits and they will love it!

Make the most out of your surroundings and stay enthusiastic!

TwiggyHeart Tue 19-Aug-14 16:30:33

Cheap kids cinema is great, £1.75 each near us and on every day, feels like a treat but cheaper than buying/hiring a DVD!

TwiggyHeart Tue 19-Aug-14 16:30:40

Cheap kids cinema is great, £1.75 each near us and on every day, feels like a treat but cheaper than buying/hiring a DVD!

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