Cheap family days out ideas needed

(16 Posts)
Belle15 Sun 14-Jul-13 12:14:23

Hi, me and my OH are both teachers and absolutely skint. We are obviously both off with the kids all summer and not going away as can't afford it.
We have literally no spare cash so looking for some ideas for days out with the kids that won't cost the earth. We have a 4 year old boy and 18 month old girl. All suggestions welcome!

RandomMess Sun 14-Jul-13 12:15:15

Try every single playground in a fairly wide area and take a picnic with you.

jkklpu Sun 14-Jul-13 12:20:32

picnic in the park
picnic at castle/beach/river/country park accessible by bus
take some bottles of [tap} water and balloons to the park and have water balloon games
go to nearest park and go on treasure hunt to collect 10 different kinds of leaf/seed/petal/stone/any item
plan a weekly diary for the 4yo: big piece of paper with 7 squares on it for him to draw a picture of everything you do each day - could be before breakfast about the day before?
look for open-air street activities/festivals in your area
any local bookshops do story-reading for children?
home baking, eg make a pizza/fairy cakes then ice them

neontetra Sun 14-Jul-13 12:21:58

Lots of museums are free, and have kids' activities. Walks in the countryside. We passed a family who had taken their kids out to paddle in a ford yesterday.

Backpaw Sun 14-Jul-13 12:28:06

Look out for special offer, 2-4-1 tickets, discounts, etc. There are sites that do these.

I am a picnic monster so will happily prepare something yummy and hop in the car! Family Railcard gives you good discounts on tickets so maybe days out? Otherwise there are museums, parks etc. Do you have people you can visit for the day?

Home activities for 'home' days. Make a bird house, bake, drawing, build a gang hut inside under the dining table with a sheet... Loads of stuff! Don't try to do too many 'outings' as they are tiring - maybe one day out, one at home/local.

Have you a beach nearby-ish? Even a wet day on the beach is fun!

I'm also a teacher so off for the summer but unfortunately DH is working. We have national trust membership so lots of National Trust properties, local museums. Have saved Tesco clubcard points so am taking DD to Cadbury world. Love taking a picnic to the park and we are big into geocaching.

Belle15 Sun 14-Jul-13 12:32:39

We live in the West Midlands so about as far away from a beach as you can get!!
Thanks for all the great ideas, I especially love the treasure hunt and diary ideas. Need to get my teacher head on I think as plan stuff like this for school on a daily basis!! Thanks all grin

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 14-Jul-13 12:38:14

Contact your local families info service for a programme of local activities.

Lots of libraries do age relevant reading sessions and sing alongs. Country parks often have bug finding etc. Some local councils offer free sporting activities.

For picnics I big batch make/ cook and then freeze in small portions. When the mood takes you you can then just grab a small pack sandwiches, sausage rolls, quiche, cake etc fill a big bottle with squash and you're off. Allow it to defrost in the bag whilst you're out.

Cbeebies have some good activity sheets everything from colouring in to make and do to go out and explore. Spend an evening printing out stuff so you've got a rainy/ bored day box ready.

Start saving all your carboard boxes for make and do and den building.

FoundAChopinLizt Sun 14-Jul-13 12:40:27

Pond dipping.

get some nets and a bowl, and a camera. Find a murky pond/rock pool and see what's in there. Take photos of mystery creatures and look them up after. Make a little display of the pictures.

Leaf hunt
Collect leaves, in park or garden, make rubbings of them with wax crayons, or draw them, photograph them. if you use pale crayons you can paint over to make a wax resist effect. Again look up which tree they're from.

Creepy crawlies

Find some biggish rocks, look under them for interesting insects, worms and so on.

And so on with shells, flowers, leaves etc.

We do a lot of lakeside picnics (well we are in Lake District) with paddling and swimming.

Have other parents for lunch, they can bring food too, or arrange to meet other parents out and about.

Have you any relatives you can stay with for a change of scene?

ChocsAwayInMyGob Sun 14-Jul-13 12:41:45

Check out your Mumsnet Local site. The Local eds have been listing things to do, many of which are free. In my area (not near you sorry) a lot of councils are letting under 17s swim free all through the summer hols, so its worth checking with your leisure centre.

If I take a football and a picnic to our local park, my kids think it's the best day ever.

FoundAChopinLizt Sun 14-Jul-13 12:49:17

The key to cheap family entertainment is to lower expectations when they are little. If they have a full on entertainment plan every day, they will start to expect it. A few days with nothing going on is a chance to learn to play imaginatively on their own, have a think about life and just 'be'. Then when something does happen, they really get excited.

Same with treats, like ice cream or sweets. If they get too frequent they lose the 'wow' factor.

Some dcs get used to theme park days with ice cream, café meal then a toy from the shop at the end. For ours any one of those things would be a proper treat.

CMOTDibbler Sun 14-Jul-13 13:00:29

Look in your counties/cities whats on listing online - for instance. Worcester festival has loads of free or very minimal cost activities for children. Last year ds and I went to a day at the old Infirmary which cost nothing and he had an amazing time.
Also check the country parks - the Waseley hills park has a fantastic play area, you can have a picnic and really let the kids run around, and theres trails to follow that they can walk or cycle. Really fills a whole day, and its a family together sort of thing.
Look for parks with waterplay areas - ds and his friends would spend most of a day happily just running in and out of the one in our local park, having waterfights and making new friends. Quite relaxing as a parent as you don't need to be onto them all the time

tri10 Mon 15-Jul-13 20:38:57

Try looking at horses and donkey sanctuarys they usually have free entrance. Depending on where you are in west mids redwing horse sanctuary is just between Banbury and Stratford.

Cromwell44 Mon 15-Jul-13 23:39:16

Go to your nearest electrical retailer and ask for a couple of large cardboard boxes. These can be 'transformed' into a play houses, a train, a rocket, a castle, anything really. Cut out windows or turrets, decorate with felt tips etc, put a cushion inside, makes a perfect den. Use in the garden or inside if wet.

manyhands Tue 16-Jul-13 16:24:29

Primary times has lots of free/ cheap activities listed in it.

carlnwo Wed 17-Jul-13 10:28:02

Check out the Camping Pods in the Lake District, very cheap and are a cheap option for a weekend away with the family.

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