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Let ASDA know your summer budget tips and have a chance to win £200 to spend at ASDA Groceries NOW CLOSED

(174 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 02-Aug-13 14:59:23

ASDA have asked us to find out what Mumsnetters top tips are for saving money while still having lots of fun in the sun this summer.

Here's what ASDA say: "We've just launched #SaveSummer, our answer to keeping the kids entertained this summer, without spending a fortune. Every week for the remainder of the summer we will be releasing a series of ideas and activities online with which you can keep the family entertained on a budget. We would love to hear what your top tips are to enjoying the summer on a budget, whether they be games, trips or arts and crafts!"

So how do you keep the little ones entertained in the summer? What are your top tips for family fun on a budget?

However you and your family enjoy summer whilst keeping costs down, please let us know. Everyone who adds their thoughts, comments and tips to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive £200 to spend at ASDA's online grocery shopping site*.

Please note that any comments posted on this thread may appear in an email Mumsnet will be sending out, and potentially elsewhere.


*The £200 evoucher will be uploaded into the winner's account. This will be in the format of 8x £25 evouchers that can be used within 1 transaction or against multiple, but the evouchers will expire after 3 months. If you are not already registered with Asda Groceries, you will need to register in order to obtain the prize. eVouchers are only redeemable online within the Asda Groceries site.

daisychicken Fri 02-Aug-13 15:21:11

Look for the free activities in your area such as the library reading challenge, play in the park (council run sessions), local heritage centres often do workshops, leisure centres sometimes do free sessions.

Explore the different parks - some are in walking distance but others need a car or bus - make cost go further by taking picnics and spending the day there. Meet with friends if you can - playmates for the kids, someone to chat with for you!

If you have a small budget then see if the leisure centre does swim passes - I got 12 tickets for the price of 10 for one child and a unlimited pass for the other (age dependent).

Get the kids baking for packed lunches or helping to cook a meal.

Get the paddling pool out or chalks to chalk picture on the path/patio

Plan a film "night" - hire from the local library - make your own popcorn or have pizza while watching.

Go to kids am at the cinema - costs about £1.75 per person (so less than £6 for one adult and 2 kids), take your own drinks and nibbles!

bamblolo Fri 02-Aug-13 15:37:47

We like to bake our own cakes and the kids have great fun decorating
them. We make a few sandwiches and take a bottle of lemonade
to our local parks. Whilst we're there we go on a wildlife hunt
and go raspberry/blackberry picking.

purrpurr Fri 02-Aug-13 15:40:23

Is this money that Asda will deduct twice the amount of as 'holding money' and then get all 'confused' when questioned and take an inordinate amount of time to return? Oh, no, wait, it's a voucher. The one and only time it is safe to use Asda's online shopping facility.

We try to make sure we stretch a day's activities to last for longer than that particular day. So a trip to the beach, for example, will also stretch to cleaning shells we have brought home, decorating memory jars and filling them with the shells, painting some of the large stones we brought back with us, printing off photos and making postcards with them, etc.

I want to start scrapbooking too as a continuation of this. I had a real thing about writing diaries when I was younger, and I'd love my DSs to get in the habit (plus it's good for practicing writing!)

The summer reading challenge is a great incentive to get DS1 to read over the holidays. I just wish that the library did other events too.

Our library has some great craft activities which don't cost much, especially when the materials are supplied in with the entry fee (and I don't have to clean up afterwards)

My summer saving tips:

Money saving:

Buy plenty of squash from the supermarket and never leave the house without a made at home bottled drink each.

Ice pops are much cheaper than ice lollies. wink

Stock up on plenty of picnic style food from the supermarket to take on days out, trips to the park, or even for quick meals at home that you can let the kids eat outside.

Younger children love this activity. One bucket of water and one decorating type paintbrush. Get them to "paint" the garden fence or wall with water.

Pitch your camping tent in the garden. Kids have just as much fun, costs nothing, and gets them outdoors.

Buy a roll of lining wallpaper and roll it out in the garden. Put some paint into empty plastic trays that can be thrown away (eg from food packaging). Get the kids to stand in the paint then walk along the rolled out paper. Be ready with a washing up bowl of soapy water and flannels for when they are done.

^ this activity can also be done with toy cars instead of feet.

grin at purrpurr

So how do you keep the little ones entertained in the summer? What are your top tips for family fun on a budget?

There's a few places near us that are free entry or fairly cheap. The Media Museum in Bradford is great because it's not only free but has a picnic room.

My gym membership lets me take the kids swimming at no extra cost so that's good if the weather is bad.

Look for free activities/places to go. Budget for transport costs too. Take picnics to save money rather than buy food in the cafe. Plan in some quiet days at home/in the garden. My kids are pretty happy with a big roll of paper and some paints or chalk. Have friends over/go to friends houses.

manfalou Fri 02-Aug-13 17:08:17

Go to local county parks where the parking is free during the week, take a picnic and a football to keep the kids happy. Or where it's £3 all day.

Get a big cardboard box and some colours... Let the kids decorate their own den, keeps my eldest occupied for hours. Then they can play imaginative games afterwards.

Collect things from the outdoors and make pictures with them.

Organise play dates at your local park.

Set up a room with small world play n have an imagination day

If you still have your baby b tag put custard' jelly, angel delight in it n let the kids have some messy fun! Spend plenty of time in the bath afterwards cleaning n playing smile

Lurleene Fri 02-Aug-13 17:12:28

If you are out in town never get an ice-cream from a kiosk or cafe - pop into the nearest supermarket shop and buy a multi-pack of ice-creams. These usually work out cheaper than buying a single,and if you have any left over give them away and make someone's day!

lougle Fri 02-Aug-13 17:27:52

Make every day experiences more exciting by making up a story. For example, walking over the same bridge we usually walk over. I say "I wonder if the grumpy old troll will get us...." Suddenly, the bridge is fun.

Try to encourage breaks in activity to split the day up.

MrsWeasley Fri 02-Aug-13 17:37:25

*Look around for places doing special offers and deals.
Plan your days out so that the day before you and the children are baking (they will enjoy baking knowing its for a special day out and they will eat it, knowing they made it).

*Film nights with homemade pop corn.

*if you have a tent how about a sleep-out in the garden.

*Buy some cheap flour and make play dough, if you don't want play dough in the house they can play with it in the garden. Who can make a 5 headed creature. Who can make a animal that stands on its own etc. (Older ones will groan at the thought of play dough but usually can't resist it when it on the table)

*Set challenges like a photo challenge(easier with digital), how many insects can u photo in an afternoon or during a walk.

*Take photos of local things at unusual angles and see if they can find what and where it is.

*visit your local library, in UK they do a fun reading challenge where as well as the actual reading of books they often have activities. Older children might want to get involved listening to the participants read for a morning.

*visit the local church. They may have a little holiday club running for part of the holiday. They often have leaflets about the town.

*if you go away and go on day trips, look at getting an annual pass as these are often only a little bit more money and you can either return during that holiday or use it the following year!

MrsWeasley Fri 02-Aug-13 17:38:51

Don't forget Museums (big or small) often have trails to follow or activities.

starlight36 Fri 02-Aug-13 17:47:18

On a rainy day buy a packet cake mix or for older children let them choose a baking recipe and combine a quiet activity and treat (eating the results!).

Put up a tent /sun tent in the garden, set up the paddling pool and lay out a rug for picnics and play.This keeps our toddler occupied for hours.

Making a picnic and taking it along to the park / theme park really saves £s. We've learnt this the hard way paying over the odds for basic food. Even adding in treat snacks this works out so much cheaper - as does always carrying water /drink bottles and little snack packets.

500internalerror Fri 02-Aug-13 17:48:39

Picnics are best, but if you do need to eat out, unlimited salad bars are the best! Harvester, garfunkels, Pizza Hut etc.

Always search for a voucher before you do anything!

Kids Week for theatre is fab - child free per adult. And The Scoop has loads of free stuff, with the trilogies starting with a child friendly one.

If you travel by train, going at odd times can save a small fortune. Try as its really easy to compare prices on there.

asuwere Fri 02-Aug-13 17:53:15

always take picnic when going away for day!
always carry bottle of water/juice!
always avoid gift shop at any attractions!
we tend to look out for 2-4-1 vouchers for places or use tesco clubcard rewards to make it even cheaper (I converted topcashback money to clubcard points to give good boost this year)
library is fab and often have activities
we have a free courtesy bus which goes to local asda - kids have loved a trip on that each week! plus asda have had free events which have gone down well (face painting, modelling, masks etc)
I also took out a free trial for nowtv which has been good for rainy days!
kids £1 screenings at cinema make a cheap treat.

gazzalw Fri 02-Aug-13 17:55:16

Set a weekly budget for out and about activities and intersperse with trips to the park/library/playdates/local free music events etc....

We always have the Kids Club films as a wet-weather back-up for if the going gets tough....

Save up Clubcard and Nectar points throughout the year to spend on trips to places you've never been before - or Legoland/Chessington, where you know the children will have fun but you've effectively had a jolly good day out for free!!!!

There's an awful lot going on that doesn't have to cost a fortune but it takes a bit of forward planning usually!

Also share ideas/free events with friends - if you are generous spirited about such things you will often find the favour returned....just in case you've taken your eye off the ball...

My current favourite for this holiday is the choose and cook the meals for a day challenge....Once a week each DC gets to avidly study the recipe books and choose some new recipes which they then have to cook with one of us, having gone on the hunt for ingredients.....It's fun and it teaches them a new skill too.....

bigreddrum Fri 02-Aug-13 17:59:57

Loads of stuff to do with little ones that are free round here. Blackberry picking, pond dipping, library, park, scooter/bike rides, a free museum

My two love making ice lollies with a bit of fruit juice, or cake baking.

Water play in the garden - painting the patio with water, paddling pool, watering the flowers.

A visit to the train station without actually getting on the train seems to be a big hit with mine also confused

nextphase Fri 02-Aug-13 18:02:38

Kids (well, my smaller ones) don't need massive great big days out.
My two adore a picnic blanket in the garden, or we have one of their teddies birthdays - they wrap up old boxes in pictures I've stashed over the year, but aren't in the long term keep pile. Then we bake a cake, and have party food and music one meal time.

Our local shopping centre has loads of stuff going on. Craft at a hobby store, and yes, ASDA living had a great big poster out today when I walked past. The library is also good.

And how can I leave this thread without saying, look at the local pages on MN for great advice and ideas.

JS06 Fri 02-Aug-13 18:13:00

Get hold of some brown paper sheets or a roll of packing paper and get the kids started on making their own wrapping paper for Christmas gifts - try apple or pear halves dipped in red or green paint and a sprinkling of glitzy glitter - hey presto, you're on to a winner. Doing this in the garden if the weather is fine means the mess is contained too.

How about an indoor tent for poor weather days - use huge duvet cover or sheet held up by 4 chairs - have a biscuit and juice picnic inside - do this with a couple of other children too and hopefully providing some play date time for other families may mean they reciprocate at another time

What about getting the younger children involved in chopping whatever veg you have knocking about the kitchen, fry off slowly with some adult supervision, add stock, blend and there you have a flask of soup for a walk over lunchtime. Theres something special about eating your own homemade food out on an outdoor picnic. Cheap and cheerful.

Maybe you have a neighbour with a friendly dog - try suggesting you'll dog sit for the afternoon and gently groom Rover in the garden - a treat for the dog, the neigbour, a lesson in animal care for the children to boot!

It's a lovely trip down memory lane to read all these wonderful suggestions, oh for some more time with my children before they actually fly the nest ......

We try to do things that are free or cheap with what we already have.

This week we've turned the front room into a cinema, the curtains were drawn and the kids made microwave popcorn. They drew tickets and programmes that we handed in to get into the 'screening' grin

The boys use chalks on the path outside and on the outside of the house, they make registers to ply schools and use it to make a score board for 'Olympics' that they compete in.

They drink Capri suns (or the supermarket equivalent that I stocked up on when on offer) that have been in the freezer to make slushy drinks that keep them cool.

We've also grown a lot of Strawberries, Tomatoes that they snack on straight from the garden (after a wash in a bowl of water out outside then later used to water the plants)

We make the most of local parks with picnics, we bake bread and muffins to munch (and feed to ducks)

Sometimes just running around a field with a football is fun enough and keeps them active.

A trip to the beach with a punned of fruit from a PYO farm is always a winner then what ever is left we mix with yoghurt and stick in the ice cream maker to make Frozen yoghurt.

As for food on a budget, we all look through the supermarket special offers for 1-2 meat dishes a week. Then the rest for veggie options.

We picnic a lot with family and friends and usually everyone rings one thing so we don't all spend ££££.

Allalonenow Fri 02-Aug-13 18:18:18

Explore your local church to find brasses to rub, the paper, tape and crayons need not be expensive. Pick smaller ones, as little hands can get tired, or all work together on a larger one. These can be good presents for grandparents too!

Put on a "show" with each child singing a song or telling jokes etc. a good dressing up box helps for this.

Have breakfast outside, just something a bit different from the usual picnic.

Decorate old/cheap photo frames with shells they have collected, another present for Grandma!

michelleblane Fri 02-Aug-13 18:21:16

Not sure if these are all repeats of what has already been said but here goes......
Baking and helping with meals. My children love making homemade pasta and decorate your own pizzabase.
Visits to local beaches, parks, countryside. Take your own picnic and drinks too.
If going to a restaurant or attraction, google online first and print out money saving vouchers (or check tesco tokens) Many restaurants have kids eat free offers.
When mine were younger, they loved going to the airport (only 15 mins away)to watch the planes flying in and out.
Photography! Many of us have old phones or cameras....pop in a cheap memory card and start taking photos. Children love downloading and printing the results.
Sort out all the old toys and books and pass them down to younger relations.
A train ride using tesco tokens converted to Red Spotted Hanky points can work out very cheap and great fun

directoroflegacy Fri 02-Aug-13 18:26:03

Check for vouchers before you leave the house
Competition between siblings- who can get the most rubbish out of their room/ donate the most to the charity shop (!!)
Pound shop treasure hunt- give £1 to find the best/worst/smallest item in the shop
Always go somewhere with drinks/snacks in yr bag

Labootin Fri 02-Aug-13 18:30:25

Enrol your children in every kids club you can find, it may not be cheap but it will save a fortune on your therapy bills.

MrsWeasley Fri 02-Aug-13 18:31:54

*Another one mine like is growing cress in different shapes using cotton wool or tissues.

*Also I look out for cheap crafts, online or in shops and save them for holidays.

MrsGeologist Fri 02-Aug-13 18:47:00

I've bought my children some cheap waterproofs from ebay, so we can go to the park even if the weather is awful, and I always always always take a packed lunch out with us. Eating out is extortionate.

Structured activities aren't my DC's style, so sometimes only a runabout outside will do.

My friend told me his dad used to draw maps of the house and hide sweets, marking their position on the map, and the kids have to then find them. I did it with DS1 and he loved it.

Chocolateteabag Fri 02-Aug-13 19:10:12

My tips

* Register with Groupon and other deal sites to get cheap offers on local attractions like farm parks and soft play

* Depening on where you live, the Historic Homes Association annual card will give you access to lots of NT, English Heritage and other historic homes - currently £70 for a couple, £21 for additional family members over 5. Link here considering it can be £10-15 per person into most places, this is something which doesn't take long to pay for itself. There are loads of places with big gardens and playgrounds rounds us which accept it.

katiewalters Fri 02-Aug-13 19:18:27

do free activities, such as visit big parks like kingsbury water park, where you can take a picnic and games. making things at home; crafts and cakes. our local library has various fun family events running over the summer, which are free. use coupons to save money, such as the ones which are on the kellogs cereal packets, buy one get one free. most places if you book online, you save money. we have playdates, so my friends come round, bring their children round.

MadMonkeys Fri 02-Aug-13 19:25:20

Look for money off vouchers before going to any attraction.

Take a packed lunch and drinks.

For little ones a paddling pool, trip to the park, swimming etc will be just as much fun, or better than a trip to a venue.

Use Mational Trust membership for great days out.

Garden centres offer great free entertainment - purs has a massive sand pit and play area, pets corner and aquatics department, will easily keep toddlers occupied for hours.

Vajazzler Fri 02-Aug-13 19:27:53

I try to budget our entertainment to one 'paid for' activity every week with free or super cheap activities the rest of the week. That way there's something good to look forward to each week.
Our free activities are found via the l

poppy1973 Fri 02-Aug-13 19:28:38

Budget ways of entertaining the children in the holidays are:

walking to the park.
walking in the local woods
kite flying
making cakes on a wet day
colouring in activities - printing off sheets from the internet to colour
hiring a £1 dvd from the library for the children to watch and eat homemade cakes.
Treasure hunt around the garden
camping in the garden if you can't afford to take the children on holiday
filling a pool with water or using the hose and sprinkler to keep the children cool

Vajazzler Fri 02-Aug-13 19:28:55

Via the local council website. They list all the local activities and what age range they are suitable for.

MollyBerry Fri 02-Aug-13 19:29:56

Find your local free attractions, in London the Science Museum and Natural History Museum are FANTASTIC for those rainy days and as they are in a posh area you can also explore the area

Happiestinwellybobs Fri 02-Aug-13 19:36:55

We do lots of things in our garden, making dens, picnics, chalk drawings and water play. Or go to the local swings & slides then feed the ducks.

We are on the mailing list for the local Surestart centres, which run reasonably priced activities.

We use social media to find out what events are on locally to us, many of which are free.

A trip to the park with a packed lunch can last nearly a whole day.

I always check for vouchers before going to any major attraction.

-Giant chalks, make race tracks or just colour in the paving.
-watch DVDs with the curtains closed, make your own popcorn
-go out on bike rides.
-pick blackberries or other local fruit (ask permission if on private land)
-library reading scheme
-build dens in the house or garden
-make up stories to tell each other.
-fashion show with all the clothes you rarely wear.
-get ridiculously overdressed to do mundane tasks such as post letters/buy vegetables.
-water bomb fight
-use water and paintbrushes to "paint" walls and paving on sunny days
-do mad science experiments
-go for a walk on footpaths
-make scarecrows
-go on a bug hunt
-do backyard archaeology
-make puppets
-make your own books and fill them with imaginative stories
-clean and valet the car
-plant "cress heads"
-decoupage things (bottles, picture frames, furnituregrin)
-do "makeovers" using up ends of bottles of products in the cupboard
-do "ready steady cook" using your own store cupboard ingredients to create culinary masterpieces.
-get DCs to race each other round the block.
-get DCs to bake stuff and sell it to neighbours.
I'm going to run out of summer before I run out of stuff to dogrin.

Snog Fri 02-Aug-13 19:48:52

Den building in the woods/garden
Water play
Making BBQs from dried leaves/twigs instead of firelighters and charcoal
Making a scrapbook
Running your own restaurant from home
Pond dipping

We've been making use of a lot of the free vouchers that you can get with groceries.....

For instance- kids go free at Sea World with a branch of juice cartons, half price entry for theme parks, money off crayola items etc.

We've done lots of things this summer that we didn't think we'd have the money to do- we haven't even changed any of our grocery shopping to benefit from deals, I just don't normally pay that much attention to the packaging etc!

TiredFeet Fri 02-Aug-13 21:21:30

check out your local authority's website, ours is running loads of different free events for children of every age over the summer, from free football coaching to a bouncy castles and a petting zoo.

with younger children - go on a trip to a different park, it doesn't have to be far away at all, my son gets so excited when he goes to a new p ark

Hopefully3 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:28:17

I let them go the library, to borrow books and go on the Internet. I can also find fun activities for them there, from looking at dinosaur bones, to nature walks!

bluebump Fri 02-Aug-13 21:36:47

We tend to do one big thing a week, last week we went to the Mid Devon Show which is in our town but not particularly cheap entry, this week we went to the local theme park but we economised at both by taking a packed lunch etc. Next week we are getting the train to see the Gromits Unleashed in Bristol.

We have the paddling pool up which my DS loves, it is also great for inviting friends over as the kids all get to play and I get to catch up with other parents.

My DS is just as happy visiting friends for a few hours or meeting up at the park etc.

We cut out all the vouchers for local attractions in our Primary Times magazine and the local paper - this also introduces us to some other places to go that we might not have already thought of going to and with good offers that make it cheaper than normal.

scripsi Fri 02-Aug-13 21:43:53

picnics both away from home and in the garden (these often have themes which the DCs invent themselves)
church group events
rediscovering old games from the attic
fancy dress competitions at home (don't ask)
online vouchers
each DC has their own patch of garden to tend/water
flower pressing (and card making)

sharond101 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:51:18

We keep costs down by packing our own lunch, snacks and drinks which saves so much money. We also spend alot of time doing free things like walking in the park, admiring the plants, watering our garden, playing in paddling pool, playing in the sand, going to the library, going to the play park etc.
we look out for local events and managed to get tickets to the opening evening of a new restaurant in our area which gave us 50% off and free drinks. We are signed up to seefilmfirst which offers us invites to screenings of new movies for free.

CMOTDibbler Fri 02-Aug-13 21:52:33

Pick up those free magazines like Primary times in your local library for the whats on - for instance my little town has a festival all August with free events most weekends, nearest city has a festival with loads of free events from face painting to music all month, and theres lots of farm open days etc which are free.

mamamidwife Fri 02-Aug-13 22:06:36

Make a treasure hunt using a local map, pack a picnic (supplies from your local Asda of course) and off you jolly well go!

Scrap book the summer hols, so bits and pieces are picked up along the way to make memories, tickets, photos, leaves, or whatever

Theme a day, jungle adventure, tents up, dress up, tropical fruit etc

To be honest my kids happiest memories are the ones I've usually spent little money but we are on an adventure all together smile

GetKnitted Fri 02-Aug-13 22:08:24

Nottingham Contemporary art gallery run free activities for kids, they are just brilliant. They are every day in the summer and weekends all year round with a different theme every season to complement the proper art. this season is aqua topia with an enormous projection of an aquarium on one wall, and another projected on the floor, with fishing nets for the kids to go fishing, dress up like a pirate and have your picture taken, make fish to line the walls, or just play in tents, pretend a sandcastle and read books.

I don't know which other places are good as this, but sure that some museums in London run similar.

delegate203 Fri 02-Aug-13 22:10:59

Our current one is to get a handful of DCs friends together, who all play different instruments, and give them the challenge of writing and performing some songs together which they can then download onto youtube. They're not very advanced (grade 2-3) but play keyboards, sax, guitar, trumpet and drums, so with all those combined, they can make a really original sounding racket - all for free. They are surprisingly keen on it so far. Then come hours of designing band logos and the band's 'look'. Keeps them occupied for hours.

Outdoor fun: we bought half a dozen car sponges and cut them up, then filled a huge trug with water. Seems they are never too old to have a water fight. Finish off with cheap ice pops and big jugs of iced squash or juice and sparkling water mixed, to cool them down.

Turnipvontrapp Fri 02-Aug-13 23:41:29

Picnics, walks in the woods, up hills.
Buy ice creams and ice lollies to keep in the freezer.
Playing out on their bikes, scooter rides.
Kids a.m films at Vue.

Good weather helps.

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Fri 02-Aug-13 23:51:26

Our indoor/bad weather summer budget tip:

We write/draw letters to send to gran, cousins and friends. When the weather is better or the next day they love to go to the real post box to post it. But in the mean time we make our own post box - either a cardboard box with back door and letter slot cut into it and let them paint/decorate it or a mini letter box which is a decorated tissue box (the opening makes for a realistic letter box slot and involves no cutting - easy/lazy), if you don't have any stampers about we have made stampers to stamp the letters out of potatoes (potato printing) just cut a square or triangle for simplicity!

Our outdoor summer budget tip:

Bug hunting. I love the fact that it's doable near enough anywhere - we do this in the park or at home in the backyard. They love moving small logs, plant pots, rocks and searching in bushes and plants for all manner of creepy crawlies. And it's as cheap as you want - we use old jam jars to scoop them up (then release them of course!) and if I'm organised I print out some work sheets with pictures of bugs and ticky boxes for them to tally up all the bugs they've seen. Fun and educational without them realising!

melrose Sat 03-Aug-13 00:05:11

Always take a picnic! Amazed how many friend but food and drink at places we go for days out, I always take a picnic lunch, a few snacks, big drinks bottles for he kids and flask for me. Never pay more than the entrance fee and an ice cream.

Also never set foot in a gift shop, my kids have never bought anything from a gift shop at an attraction, at aged 2, 6 and 9 they seem airily unscarred

jojane Sat 03-Aug-13 00:10:33

i try and spread days out over the summer so 1 'expensive' day out, 1 cheap day out and on e free day out, with 1 pjama day, abd a couple of play dates etc. per week.

buy ice lollies and stock the freezer so when the ice cream van comes by (eveey night in our street!!!) you can give them one from the freezer at about a 6th of the price!!

use supermartket points/2-4-1 vouchers etc for days out

search websites such as mumsnet etc for free days out, eg this year i heard about mr blooms roadshow and applied for tickets and got allocated some so a free day out the kids will love

i buy cheap activity and crafts packs and then whip them out on a bored day as something o do.

large cardboard boxes some paint and some gaffa tape can keep kids amused for a long time, the pirate ship we made lasted a couple of weeks.

£ cinema rather than full price showings, normally on everyday in the hilidays so a good rainy day activity

Cluffyflump Sat 03-Aug-13 00:12:16

Is this money that Asda will deduct twice the amount of as 'holding money' and then get all 'confused' when questioned and take an inordinate amount of time to return? Oh, no, wait, it's a voucher. The one and only time it is safe to use Asda's online shopping facility.

If you really do need to make every penny count, I wouldn't gamble with using ASDA for online shopping!

hermancakedestroyer Sat 03-Aug-13 08:29:45

Picnics (weather permitting) are a great way of taking lunch outside and building some walking and exploring into the day. Indoor picnic if necc!
Library book reading challenge is great with little prizes along the way for books read.
Geocaching is a nice idea as well - look it up on the internet. Most smartphones have gps now. You need to take small little trasures ie plastic toy, bracelet, marbles etc to exhange for another treasure in the box that you find. It gets everyone walking with the benefit of exchanging trasure at the end.
Also walks to the local park (if you have one) taking an empty matchbox or small container to collect as many little bits and pieces on the walk as you can. Maybe small prize for the winner.

Punkatheart Sat 03-Aug-13 09:07:48

Locally we have a lovely garden where they have a charity kiosk selling tea, coffee and cakes. When the weather is fine, it's certainly less stuffy and expensive than a cafe.

I had an elderly relative who used to befriend anyone with a swimming pool so that she could drag her grandchildren around to their house in the summer - she was quite a character.

But for me the summer is for encouraging reading and odd as it sounds, sorting out stuff at home. The latter can have unexpected benefits - when you find things that are joyfully rediscovered - we found lots of old photos and some funny old pictures that my daughter wants to frame. It's all about being busy for us and also finding a way to spend time with my quite difficult daughter.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sat 03-Aug-13 09:11:53

use up any past its best fruit by blending with a pot of fruit yoghurt and freezing into lollies, yummy and healthy too.

Dylanlovesbaez Sat 03-Aug-13 09:25:56

Always take water out with you. I'm amazed at how much I've saved by not buying water when out and about.

ataraxia Sat 03-Aug-13 10:56:27

Fun in the sun at low cost? Bubbles - kids can't get enough of them!

gazzalw Sat 03-Aug-13 11:16:46

On a wet day do a DVD/board games swap with friends/family so that you can watch some unseen films and play some untried games!

k8thegr8 Sat 03-Aug-13 11:44:44

Prior to the school holidays I like to collect free booklets from local stores, and visitor information centres.

Then look through and see which are the best value or free.

We have picnics for lunch when out and about and always take our own drinks where ever we go. If its a hot day like it has been recently and the children would like a ice cream, we head to the nearest local store and get a own brand box of corneto style for no more than £1.50 saving all the time!

We have house days this might include:

Spring cleaning ( re designing their rooms)
Movie day- DVDs, pop corn maker, chocolate machine,
Making our own pizza
Junk modelling
Fashion parades.
Camping in the garden
Crafty days ( crafty items from asda throughout the year)
Play days with friends
Sports competitions is a favourite

We head out to the free local activities, local parks, clubs etc and enter all the free competitions to hopefully win days out that we wouldn't normally afford to go to smile

We collect vouchers through out the year as well

Often check online at "" and see if there's anything we fancy doing.

Thatsinteresting Sat 03-Aug-13 12:08:36

Plan, plan, plan! Before the holidays start we make a big calender showing all the days we need to fill. Everyone can name one thing that they really want do. I then look for vouchers, book things in advance, use cashback sites and special offers so all the 'must do's are as cheap as possible. I then arrange playdates and see when relatives are available for a visit. Any outstanding days are filled with trips to the library, baking, picnics, story writing, dvds and just playing in the garden.

Blatherskite Sat 03-Aug-13 15:17:10

I'm always amazed at how many free activities can be found if you look hard enough. Our local council runs Play days with crafts and even bouncy castles that are totally free.

Otherwise, we improvise - a couple of our local garden centres have fish, chickens, ducks and even micro pigs, one even runs a cheap crafty session for £3-ish. Between the craft, looking at the animals and the pretty flowers, we can generally fill enough of the afternoon that they're happy to amuse themselves for the rest.

One of my plans for this summer is to visit a local Pick-Your-Own centre. Not necessarily super cheap but my plan is to pick out a recipe or two beforehand and take the children to pick up the fruits and vegetables that we need to cook a meal meaning that the cost will also feed us for the day as well as teaching the children exactly where their food comes from.

The ultimate cheap/free activity is a play date with friends. Going round to someone else's house always seems like a day out for my kids and if you take it in turns, everyone only has to clean up the aftermath once or twice smile

wibblyjelly Sat 03-Aug-13 15:42:07

Ds is currently only 10 months old so manages to entertain himself by playing with his toys, and lots of stuff he shouldn't. In the future, we will make dens in the living room and garden, DVD and duvet days, and baking days.

hytheliz Sat 03-Aug-13 18:07:23

My two young children love anywhere we go if it involves a picnic! The money we save by going somewhere locally by bike or foot as well as bringing our own food means that we can splurge on ice cream as a treat while we're out. The kids love it and so do we!

SaltySeaBird Sat 03-Aug-13 19:41:31

Lots of walks in the countryside

Freeze bottles of water so when you go out they slowly melt, giving you cold drinks that last a long time (saving a fortune)

Looking for Geocaches

babsmam Sat 03-Aug-13 19:50:31

Take snacks and drinks with you saves a fortune.

Keep it simple a free pic nic in the play park entertains kids for hours. They don't need fancy expensive days out

Hopezibah Sat 03-Aug-13 22:02:56

We make regular trips to our local Pick Your Own farm. Strawberries and raspberries are great fun for little ones to pick and can be either eaten fresh or made into lots of yummy treats. So the kids will stay entertained both picking the fruit and then also making yummy food with it like ice cream, smoothies, fruit kebabs, muffins (white chocolate and raspberry muffins are a favourite!).

A great budget way to entertain the kids and the only cost is for whatever fruit you pick at the PYO farm!

Hopezibah Sat 03-Aug-13 22:05:18

Don't ever underestimate how much fun you can have at the beach! If you pack up a picnic and take plenty of your own drinks, then there is virtually zero cost involved! Yet tons of fun to be had.

My children can just spend hours playing in the sand, finding pebbles, shells and other 'treasures', making beach 'art' using driftwood, seaweed and stones, rockpooling and so much more to explore and enjoy.

A fantastic budget day out!

Hopezibah Sat 03-Aug-13 22:07:14

Here's another tip to keep the costs down on days out... We often stop at our local ASDA to pick up a multipack of ice-creams en-route to our destination for a day out whether that be a park, playground or the beach.

We just make sure we have a cool bag with an ice pack to keep the ice creams or ice lollies cool until we get there.

It saves a fortune compared to the overpriced ice-creams they sell in ice-cream vans and at beach outlets.

aristocat Sat 03-Aug-13 23:11:53

Two words only needed - Planning and Picnic.

Always plan where/how to visit. Discount vouchers may be available and taking your own food/drinks can save so much money.

magentastardust Sat 03-Aug-13 23:22:10

We are making the most of the great weather and doing lots of walks and picnics. We always take snacks and picnics with us now as so expensive to eat out.
We keep an eye out for free events at the library , council and art galleries etc. So far kids have taken part in wii challenges, zorbing and football and basket ball events and crafting events all free.
If we do go to cinema or lunches we go to the early morning cheap kids viewings and look for vouchers for chain restaurants for lunch.
Making Dens in bedrooms and tents in the garden also seems to keep them amused for ages!

Wheresthecoffee Sun 04-Aug-13 06:48:35

Picnics! The weather determines where we go, but we always have a great time rain or shine :-)

JulesJules Sun 04-Aug-13 09:06:48

On days out always take drinks and snacks from home - water bottles filled with tapwater and chilled in the fridge overnight, fruit, homemade flapjack.
Cinema trips on Orange Wednesday or kids viewings when much cheaper
Vouchers/money off vouchers for pizzas out etc.
Buspass which give cheaper travel - in our area all children can apply for a free travelcard which gives cheaper travel and a card which gives cheaper swimming sessions.
Check out local library for free events and summer reading challenge
Tent in the garden and picnic/bbq
Evenings in with DVD and popcorn
Make your own pizza evening - I make the dough in the bread machine and have a selection of toppings
Free museums/art galleries - these also often have free events on in the holidays
Water fight- this is DH's favourite - he's got a super soaker water gun grin
Grow rasps, strawbs, runner beans etc and have picking/podding sessions.

JulesJules Sun 04-Aug-13 09:09:36

Oh and holiday challenges - to learn a new thing - dd1 is learning to knit (she wants to contribute a square to a woolly hug) dd2 wants to learn to draw manga grin

Babycarmen Sun 04-Aug-13 10:12:14

There are lots of websites such as daysoutwiththekids that show you all the local activities and places to visit, there might be things in your local town you don't know about and a lot of them are free.
Swap your Tesco clubcard points in the voucher exchange for days out tokens. We got a £20 voucher for £5 points for somewhere we were planning on going anyway!
Look out for deals on the internet such as groupon, and deals on cereal boxes etc for tokens to attractions in the UK.
The internet is FULL of crafty things to do on rainy days which don't cost a penny. Kids love things like picnics too which might seem boring to you but they will love it.

namechangeforaclue Sun 04-Aug-13 10:29:22

Buy empty plant sprayers. They are cheaper than water pistols, come in a good range of colours and get a good spray on them.
You can also save your cleaning spray bottles, flash, cif etc and use those, once they have been cleaned out sufficiently.
You can get the children to decorate them if you have glue and glittery bits lying around.
Then let the water fight commence.

psynl Sun 04-Aug-13 13:28:19

Have a family sports day in the garden - obstacle race, egg and spoon, 3 legged race etc
Picnic in the garden
Bike rides and walks - just go randomly and see where you end up
Bubble painting - water and paint, make bubbles with a straw and use to create pictures
Film and junk food day
Make dens in the living room with furniture and blankets

Play 'Come Dine with Me' - each family member takes it in turns to create a 3 course meal on a budget. The 'guests' record their comments and their score. This one kept us going for a week with the menu planning, shopping, cooking, planning of entertainment, getting dressed up etc

unquietmind Sun 04-Aug-13 14:07:16

Kids am cinema already mentioned, or vue cheap tuesdays

National trust sometimes have free events and other local attractions

Look in local papers and council what's on websites for events sometimes some good ones. Even looking at the next council's one

Charitable centres can run some interesting groups

Days out website for vouchers or money saving expert for tips

Family and friends railcard plus work out where all the free attractions are

Picnics and prepared drinks etc are a must

Tents/bedsheets over the washing line for Imaginative Play

Entering competitons to win fun things and kids competitions

Grown up (sometimes free) babycinos in starbucks/nero

Free trial days at kids camps (free 16yo camp with ncs for 3 weeks)

majjsu Sun 04-Aug-13 21:01:24

Cheap crafts - paper plates, pebble painting, making fans, chalk pictures...

Cheap activities - library, Sure start playgroups, beach, parks, wood, free museums, sports centres, paddling pool fun, making puddles, growing veg, baking easy things, dancing, treasure hunt, hide and seek ...

My best money saving activity is to go and visit Granny!
Lunch and snacks/cake are always provided and the garden is the best adventure playground.
And I get to sit on the sun while my mum runs around after them.

We always come away knackered and full of fruit that we've picked off the bushes.

VainViolet Mon 05-Aug-13 09:23:02

Like local days out pages. There are lots of free and very cheap things out there not always widely advertised.

lagoonhaze Mon 05-Aug-13 09:30:30

Have a Pj duvet dvd day.

Organise picnics with friends car share if possible to save parking.

Look at annual/locals passes for attractions. Often worth the additional spend for year round fun.

prakattack Mon 05-Aug-13 09:34:24

Baking - kids love helping out... and making a mess of the kitchen! Not only is it a free/ cheap activity, you're also saving money on bought treats/ snacks aswell so it's a double win! We love decorating fairy cakes and gingerbread men, and cutting out animal biscuits.
Then whenever we go out for the day, I always pack some of our home baked treats and it saves on having to buy them treats/ ice creams while we're out.

We're also doing a lot of gardening this summer - watering the plants is the highlight of their day! Especially with the sprinkler... And fingers crossed we should have some veg to pick soon - money-saving all round!

Ensure your freezer is stocked with supermarket lollies so you can cheerfully brush away endless demands for ice cream when out by saying they can have one at home. One pack is usually cheaper than one ice cream.

Bonus: also gets you home without tears when you are utterly fed up of standing in the park.

Glitterfairys Mon 05-Aug-13 10:02:09

My top summer saving tips are:

Plan Ahead- if your local paper has a free activities section then make a note on the calendar so you don't forget . Check out the local library as they quite often have free arts and crafts sessions. I took my three boys to a local pet shop last week where they got to meet the animals and learn more about them . Was free and great fun!
If the weather is looking pretty miserable then we do crafts indoors or another favourite of ours is we play a sort of "Come dine with me/Ready Steady Cook " game where we split into two groups and give each other a bag of ingredients . One team does main and another does dessert - we don't need to spend a lot just use your imagination :-)
Also , a lot of leisure centres in Bham have free swimming /classes/gym at certain times of the day , you just need to register.
When you are out for the day , take packed lunches and plenty of drinks . We usually do this and then find somewhere nice to have an ice cream or a cake later :-)

HorseyGirl1 Mon 05-Aug-13 10:07:01

Buy broken necklaces from charity shops (they sometimes have bags of these for very little) and get the kids to make some of their own. Use elastic thread then you don't need a needle to thread them.

Buy some sticks of chalk - they can play hopscotch, draw pics then simply wash away at the end of the day.

Washing the car or cleaning their bikes can be fun for the kids if they don't usually do this.

Buy some card and glue and cut up the pictures from old cards to create 'new' birthday cards or even Christmas cards.

Teach the children to knit or crochet. Get them to do simple squares then sew them together to make cushions or even a blanket. Made two this way myself and I promise it is addictive. Even one square is good for a dolly's blanket. You can generally buy cheap but OK wool in pound shops.

Give them some scraps of material and ribbons and get them to make glamorous dresses for their dolls.

Start a scrapbook

Make collage pics using pics from magazines.

Teach your kids to cook or bake. Useful skills to last their whole lives.

Make a recipe book using recipes from old magazines, recipes from friends and Mum.

Join the library - free!

ShatnersBassoon Mon 05-Aug-13 10:29:04

Use public transport to extend a day out that might otherwise be a bit too short eg to a small local museum. Getting there and back becomes part of the day and is more interesting than hopping in the car for younger children.

Definitely buy some decent drinks bottles and take them everywhere with you. Kids' drinks cost a bomb wherever you go.

Give children a lump sum at the start of the holiday (enough to pay for entry to a couple of places they like), and let them decide if they want to spend it on doing those things. A lot of the desperate need to go somewhere for the umpteenth time disappears when it's their own money at stake! My kids usually put a lot of their holiday money in the bank in September <tight>

Spirael Mon 05-Aug-13 10:30:05

Dig out the fake Christmas tree, decorate it, wrap inane household objects in newspaper, break out the carols CD and have a practice Christmas in the middle of summer.

If it's nice weather, you could even use the BBQ and go all Australian!

BeCool Mon 05-Aug-13 10:30:46

Become Queen of the packed lunch - I always take all our food for a day out, but will buy an ice lolly of ice cream while we are out.

On hot days, freezing some drinks will keep drinks cool into the afternoon and act as ice packs for your lunch too.

Make use of seasonal fruits - my 2 DD's cant get enough of juicy peaches, plums and nectarines at the moment. Watermelon too. Make the most of indulging in summer fruits while they are perfectly sweet and ripe and in season.

We love all the wonderful parks and museums that surround us. DD1 loves to make maps and plan out an adventure - and whatever park we go to, there will be special areas to play in and fire their imagination.

It is lovely just to have a day at home too - let the DC loose with coloured paper, paints, sellotape etc. Their imaginations will take care of the rest.

I reckon I can get a good weeks worth of entertainment out of a large cardboard box for my 5 & 2 yo's before it goes into recycling.

I save money by not shopping at asda, where they deduct double the amount of your shopping from your card.

rusmum Mon 05-Aug-13 10:39:40

Local parks, picnics and museums are free!

Join one thing annual and use it ( wheelgate is ours this year!).

Take own food and drinks everywhere!

Garden fun is free too, paddling pool, ice pops, making shady dens.

Check out local offers and activities.

youarewinning Mon 05-Aug-13 10:48:00

Trips to woods - get books from library about local area/ trees/ birds and go and find them.

Indoor picnic - make a den in lounge, get blankets, put on a DVD and enjoy!

Sports day! use old recycling - get the kids to make a game for the sports day and then play. Things such as skittles using bottles, making 'holes' for minigolf with boxes.

Have a cooking day and make lots of things that can be frozen and taken out daily for trips. We make mini quiches, mini sausage rolls, cakes, biscuits, various pastry items.

Make use of the local 'ranger services' or free play activities. So far this holiday we have been to an open day at the leisure centre where DS used go karts, tried trampolining, rowing, javelin and shot put. We have been to parks where the council playrangers are on hand to entertain. It's also a great place to meet other parents and for DS to make new friends.

Mix it up grin If I know a day will be very hot and sunny we'll pack a picnic and head to the beach, make sandcastles, swim, walk, fly the kite. If I know the next day is rain we'll collect shells etc on the beach and spend the next day doing art and craft activities.

Don't be afraid to suggest things with others such as a BYO picnic or BBQ. It's cheaper to provide 50-100 sausage rolls (£1ish) a bag than bring a whole picnic, or buy a bag of 20 sausages for a BBQ. We have always split what we bring and the 'host' is only expected to provide the BBQ if it's at a house or if we go somewhere open we use disposable ones. We have BBQ'd with 8 adults and 11 children at a limit of £5 per family for whatever your providing.

tinypumpkin Mon 05-Aug-13 12:24:30

Library sessions, many things are free or of a small cost. The children like looking a the books and 'reading' even without a specific activity.

Picnics all round here smile

Lots of visits to places we already have membership of. Boredom for adults may set in though!

Baking and making things. Cardboard boxes are always fun for hideouts etc.

SleeplessInBedfordshire Mon 05-Aug-13 13:05:14

Picnics in the park and playdates with other kids out in the garden are cheap and great fun.
The local library may have free rhymetime sessions, and activities for older kids during the summer holidays. Check the library noticeboard and leaflets for other activities in your area.

Family bike rides - these are some of my fondest memories of childhood.

Local papers may have discount vouchers for local attractions.

Speak to other mums about where they go - I've discovered some great places that I just wouldn't have known about otherwise.

lollypopsicle Mon 05-Aug-13 14:19:57

We watch the planes taking off and landing at the local airport. You can sit in the park at the end of the runway and they go right over your head. DS loves it and it's free! You can also get phone apps that tell you where theyre going to/coming from

Look closely to home. My DC always have craft kits and games which they were given for Christmas or birthdays languishing in their rooms - I get them to make a pile and then we choose which one(s) to do. They will even occasionally play a game together without my involvement or prompting shock.

The other one would be to always, obsessively, take water bottles and snacks with you when you go out. Buying drinks and snacks can easily double the cost of a day out.

MissMooMoo Mon 05-Aug-13 14:39:32

-Go on a treasure hunt round a local park or woodland area,if children are old enough try out geocaching
-as above re hunt but make it a pirate theme and bury gold coins in the sand pit.
-cinema night at home
-plant herbs from cheap packets of seeds,once herbs have grown use them to cook and bake things together

Wigeon Mon 05-Aug-13 15:09:10

We have just discovered that through his teaching union, DH gets loads of really good discounts on things like Legoland, so we might well take advantage of that.

We are going to all the local parks and playgrounds in rotation.

DD1 is doing the Summer Reading Challenge at the local library, completely free.

I am always amazed about the amount of time the DDs can spend in the paddling pool.

DH has taken them to "Classics on the Common" - a whole bunch of classic cars, parked on a (large) local village common. Completely free but surprisingly good fun. Think there are several round the country (or maybe just in Herts).

There are also some scarecrow festivals in local villages near us and the DDs would love walking round a village spotting scarecrows! Again, completely free.

We have a couple of really good free museums near us, so always go to them in the holidays.

FreelanceMama Mon 05-Aug-13 15:48:14

Take turns hosting an activity for your children's friends e.g. I made playdough and had friends round.
Join National Trust and then there's always somewhere to go to run around and play and they often run school holiday activities.
Borrow library books about identifying trees or flowers and go on a wildlife scavenger hunt.
Give your children and indoor/garden scavenger hunt e.g. something purple, something you can wear on your head, etc.
At the moment our little one is so young that it doesn't take much to entertain him but it's more about keeping us from being bored doing the same things!

AllSWornOut Mon 05-Aug-13 15:48:36

I throw the toddler out in to the garden with the sprinkler. Hours of fun and the lawn/flower beds get watered at the same time wink

A trampoline picked up from freecycle provides hours of free entertainment for my 3 year old and her pals. They also like to pick daisies and chase butterflies. If its ranting we watch cbeebies but also have discos in the lounge, do baking, drawing, reading.

JulesJules Mon 05-Aug-13 16:22:49

Wigeon makes a good point about her DH having access to special offers through his union at work.

My DH said the other day that he had realised that he could get free theatre/cinema tickets, discounts from some restaurants etc. through his employer.

Worth checking out

TheFutureMrsB Mon 05-Aug-13 16:40:57

There are a lot of free things to do in the summer like going to the local parks and having picnics, the beach is also free and we like to take the train down so it feels like we are doing more than we are as the kids love to go on the train.

We have a lake/pond not far from where we live so we often go for a walk up there and feed the ducks which is also a nice thing to do.

It can be harder when the weather is bad though and that is why we have lots of arty type activities ready for them, they often get these for birthdays or Christmas and are just put away until now!

We also have an youth club which is £5 for the registration and you can then go for free for the rest of the year so this is where my eldest son and his friends go a lot of the time, he take a couple of pound with his for drinks and sweets but they also do food too so it's a good place for them. They also run trips to various places, some are free some do require payment but it is always kept as low as possible and always under £10 or so.

But picnics are a winner for us and it's nice to just pack up some stuff and head off to a nice park for a few hours.

lottytheladybird Mon 05-Aug-13 16:58:34

Take a picnic, which are cost saving and fun to eat, too! Take your own drinks.

If you're planning to go somewhere a lot in the summer, it's sometimes cheaper to get an annual pass.

QueenandKingMum Mon 05-Aug-13 17:05:55

We get a few annual tickets, i.e. Howletts/English Heritage/Wingham Wildlife and go to those a few times over the summer, and then as it's annual, it will be available for all school holidays as well.

We also look for events put on by our council, there was just one for rockpooling and Dragon fly hunting that we went on.

Picnics always, and then small treats like ice cream at the event is affordable.

Just marking place but today I filled a big shallow plastic box with rice and chucked some plastic cups in it. Dds (2 under 4) have played with it all afternoon. Yes it's a big messy grin yes it was raining today!
I love the touring parks idea I might do that soon grin

GwenCooper81 Mon 05-Aug-13 17:35:39

So how do you keep the little ones entertained in the summer? What are your top tips for family fun on a budget?

* Always take picnics ( and freeze the drinks the night before!)

* Annual passes, often purchased using clubcard points ( wrong supermarket sorry!)

*Park trips, bug hunts, cartwheel competitions always go down well.

* Museums are usually free or cheap, our local one has a picnic room.

*Family railcards save a fortune.

*Gardening/cress heads/POY etc

*Invest in a sandpit and a paddling pool for the garden, hours of fun for all ages.

BustyDeLaGhetto Mon 05-Aug-13 18:12:31

Feeding ducks, nature walks, swimming in the sea. Not all at the same time!

skyeskyeskye Mon 05-Aug-13 18:42:15

make your own lollies using moulds and a decent strength squash

take the kids to the park with a picnic

if you go to the cinema, take sweets from the supermarket with you (just hide them when you go in)

fill up the paddling pool and then to keep the water usable for a few days, just put a small capful of bleach into it at the end of each day and cover it over

look on places like Yellow Moon for clearance craft sales

look for free events at your local Childrens Centre

FoxPass Mon 05-Aug-13 19:00:01

I always bring food from home, it saves so much money. bake cakes, juice bottles with freezable cores, and buy a selection of plastic tubs for raisins, sandwiches and wraps. chop veg and fruit and use cool pack inserts to keep it fresh. I vary the treats I pack so there is always a novelty smile

We live in a rural area which has advantages like lots of different places to picnic, the seaside is their favourite day out.
Activities wise, our kids love geocaching, den building, playing in the garden and if it's hot using water to paint designs on the patio and watching them evaporate.

afromom Mon 05-Aug-13 19:23:31

Having a plan really helps us to keep the holiday costs down. If I know we are going somewhere for the day I will plan a picnic, so that I don't have to pay for expensive meals out.

We use the net to search for free activities locally and make use of those, or plan play dates, with lots of DS's friends. Sleepovers with a pizza and movie are a great way to enjoy the holiday!

On rainy days we will have a movie day, do some baking, play games and do craft projects that we have found on the net.

I find the best way to get through the holidays,sane, is to plan something fun everyday! It doesn't have to take all day, but gives us something to look forward to!

whattodoo Mon 05-Aug-13 20:18:11

I use voucher/discount sites such as groupon. We've recently got a great deal on a local visitor attraction.
I try to do most activities for free (park and picnic) or playdates etc. But summer is also an ideal opportunity to treat DD to a theme park or two, so I save during the year for a LEGOLAND or Paultons Park trip (also making the most of vouchers available)

Queen0fFeckingEverything Mon 05-Aug-13 20:24:18

YY to picnics. We always make a picnic if going out for the day - home made dip (pea and mint, or houmous, or courgette and cream cheese and herb - all very cheap ingredients but really tasty) features every time.

Keep bottles of water in the freezer to take on day trips so you always have a really cold drink - buying cold drinks adds up so fast, and warm water thats been sat in the car is pretty yucky.

I chop lemons and limes into wedges and freeze them too, then the DC have them in water at home which again works out lots cheaper than juice or squash, as well as better for their teeth.

Look at your local museum! Trips don't have to be to big name attractions to be good fun, and local museums often have some really good holiday events.

And join the local Wildlife Trust - they always have a great programme of events all year round that are really good family fun smile Its £3 a month minimum donation to become members so well worth it IMO.

pussinwellyboots Mon 05-Aug-13 20:37:03

We're national trust members so a visit to one of their properties with a picnic is a nice day out. We also like baking and getting together with others. Bike rides and walks are also good and cheap and we're looking forward to blackberry picking. Pick your own fruit is also good value.

Patchouli Mon 05-Aug-13 20:49:28

Sorry ASDA, I too save my clubcard tokens all year and spend them on days out in the holidays.

missorinoco Mon 05-Aug-13 21:09:14

Lots of picnics. Park trips, feed the ducks. Bake.

Fill up the water table outside. Outdoor chalk. Paint brushes and let them paint the walls (outside).

Paddling pool for if it ever stops raining(again!)

We have a local free museum which have different activities. We are also lucky enough to live near the beach and the New Forest so we are able to get outside for the price of parking or public transport.

For staying at home, baking, junk modelling and a film day are all fun ways to spend a day on a budget.

Making our own ice lollies using cheap moulds is also a fun and easy activity and is considerably cheaper than buying a ice cream from the ice cream van.

CheeryCherry Mon 05-Aug-13 21:48:56

Organise mass picnics by sending out a text to as many DC friend's parents as possible... to meet at a certain park from 11 onwards... sometimes loads will turn up, sometimes just a few.
Invite families over to play, after lunch if keeping the cost down. Hopefully they'll return the date.
Camp out in the garden one night, or even on the trampoline if its wet! Or camp in the lounge, its great fun, if a little bonkers.
Plan a trip out somewhere new each park, seaside resort, new woodland walk etc.
Spend an afternoon chalking on the patio,path or garden walls.

tanfastic Mon 05-Aug-13 22:17:56

Take a picnic wherever we go so we are not tempted to go to the cafe/McDonald's etc.

Give him some pennies for the car boot sale, my ds is 5 and loves hunting round a car boot sale for bargain toys.

choccyp1g Mon 05-Aug-13 22:34:26

Our local sports centre has a great summer holiday scheme where under-16s can do most sports for only £1 each.

longjane Mon 05-Aug-13 22:34:49

I buy a bus explorer ticket and we have adventures .

ldt87 Tue 06-Aug-13 00:48:27

Save vouchers for two for 1 entry on expensive days out such as theme parks

Take picnics to the park on nice days for a change of scenery

Bake with the kids to give them something to do and lots of nice treats as a result

Lots of crafts can be done for free or really cheaply

Write letters to family and friends and ask them to write back, so that they get some letters or postcards while they are off school

Sign up to free kids magazines such as lego

Lots of websites with free printouts and ideas of things to do

Have dancing and singing shows to use up some energy

Close the curtains and have a film afternoon if the weather is rubbish. Get comfy and hang out in pyjamas on the sofa.

Let the kids camp out on the living room floor in sleeping bags and watch films until late one night.

Go to the kids club at the cinema for a really cheap morning out during the holidays

Look for places where kids eat free if you want to treat them to a meal out

Go to the library for new books to read and free or cheap activities

Go swimming, nice and cheap and tires them out for the afternoon

Make your own takeaways such as pizza for a special dinner as well as some fun.

My friends and I (around eight of us with kids the same age) get together at least twice a week. We all met at ante natal classes four years ago.
We go for walks in the woods, do treasure hunts and splash in the streams. We all take an item for the kids group snack/picnic.
Other days we meet at one persons house and all bring food. We have on occasion hired a bouncy castle for £25 between all of us and the kids have played all day on that.
We also go to the beaches around here, parks and gardens and let the kids run about before buying a multi pack of ice creams and sitting in the sun.
We have been to the local football pitch for a giant game of rounders with all the dads and older kids too and taken picnic blankets and a picnic. We took a ball pool for the babies and toys and had a fabulous day.
Summer has been so much more fun this years with the good weather and good company. It's so much easier to entertain the kids when they are all together and the day flies by very cheaply!!

al88 Tue 06-Aug-13 08:32:18

Find as much free stuff to do as possible. Take food and drink with you. Hope the weather is good so you can send them out in the garden!

DoItTooJulia Tue 06-Aug-13 08:32:20

I take the kids to free parks, museums and swimming sessions at the local leisure centre.

I stock up on small bottles of water to take with us, to save buying quite so many drinks out. If we are visiting a new town or similar I will often pop to the local supermarket (preferably an Asda!) to grab a snack or sandwiches.

newbiefrugalgal Tue 06-Aug-13 08:49:56

I would love to budget to buy summer school clothes namely boys school shorts during the summer. A last minute spend late summer won't help the budget

Cambam2010 Tue 06-Aug-13 11:06:28

We look for reduced entry to events. Check websites for promotions. Recently we attended an animal farm where children got in free if they dressed as Superheros. If you already have something kicking about that would pass as an outfit then there is a saving to be made here.

Also the local Childrens Centres often do holiday activites away from teh centre. We have attended picnics in the park, summer chef sessions, craft events. All free and often the Childrens Centre provides a healthy snack.

If we go anywhere we always take a packed lunch with us. This saves so much and guarantees that you have something available for your DC that they will actually eat.

elizaco Tue 06-Aug-13 11:06:29

Take picnics/drinks with you.
Look out for vouchers.
Swap dvds/games with friends.
Have their friends over and have picnics/walks.

fossil971 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:03:23

Rediscover your board games - during yesterday's wet weather we had Battleships and other "championships" going on

Go places on the train such as London, often there are cheap deals and then 2-for-1 vouchers on top. A few weeks ago three of us went from the Midlands to London for the day, including travelcard, for about £30.

Always take packed lunches and drinks

Remember to go back to places that gave you an annual pass with your ticket, like the national Space Centre (taking a picnic of course)

Look out for free or cheap holiday clubs run by local churches as part of their children's ministry (have to say this as we are doing one this week!)

If you bought English Heritage membership last year, flippin' well use it blush

The local off road mountain bike trail centre is a good afternoon out for only the cost of parking

If you are stuck out somewhere - the local Asda cafe is normally great for a cheap lunch grin

CelticPromise Tue 06-Aug-13 14:13:00

Pick your own fruit is a good day out.

Check out the local children's centres- in our borough there are some brilliant free activities going on.

Spread out the good stuff, so one or two big trips a week.

Look at attractions you can visit again without paying- we went to London Transport Museum a few months back but the ticket gets you in for a year, so that's free next time. Look at membership too, we are zoo members which is pricey but means we can go every week in the holidays and see something different every time.

SuedeEffectPochette Tue 06-Aug-13 14:32:09

I got a large cardboard box from Sainsburys (sorry Asda!) (the sort crisps had been in). We have had it for years and every so often I bring it in from the garage and it becomes their tent/shop/rocket/hidey hole. Anything really. It is great. Plus they have decorated it with pens and slowly added lots of detail over the years.

misshoohaa Tue 06-Aug-13 14:34:08

Catch up with friend and make sure you all host a play date during the hols. Going to someone else's else is always fun with a host of new toys and surroundings and rain of shine people with kids will inevitably be best equipped to host a gaggle of children. Coordinate with parents before hand to sort if you are bringing pack lunches or if the host is supplying.

We look for free activities, children's centres or make up our own such as a walk to the library - read I'm going on a bear hunt - go on a bear hunt!

Take picnics

Make ice lollys

supergreenuk Tue 06-Aug-13 14:58:10

We did baking today and our local council put out a huge sand pit for the first few weeks of the holidays so we make the most of this free activity while its here.

I avoid indoor play centres as they hike the prices and limit the time which isn't very money savvy.

We use Tesco vouchers for days out.

gazzalw Tue 06-Aug-13 15:26:34

Blackberry picking and then making jam/crumble is a very engaging and almost free day out and the blackberries are almost ready to harvest grin

poachedeggs Tue 06-Aug-13 15:37:05

We have membership of the local council leisure scheme. It is incredible value and as well as access to all the swimming pools in the region there is also a huge programme of summer activities for all ages.

We spend loads of time biking in the woods, feeding the ducks and playing in the park.

It is also brilliant to have family time at home, just chilling out. We have enjoyed lots of days in the garden this year, in the paddling pool, having water fights, whatever really. It's called the summer "holidays" for a reason! And it isn't good for anyone to have all their time filled with planned stuff, kids need to learn to entertain themselves a bit too.

We can't really manage a proper holiday on our budget but we have had a night away (travel inn on their room-for-£29 deal) and we had a weekend camping.

dahville Tue 06-Aug-13 17:27:37

We're big on walks and being outside. There are so many places you can go from play parks to nature reserves to cliffs to beaches to city centres. Make each trip a little adventure with things for your little one to discover, e.g. a beach that has a petrified forest at low tide, or a wooded area that has blooming wild garlic or bluebells in spring. A little internet research is all it takes for new discoveries.

Take picnics or snacks on each of your walks so you don't have to buy food on the go. Again, the internet is full of good ideas on how to make food fun and interesting.

Take advantage of free museums (or free days if they are not 100% free in your area); you don't need to spend long, just look at on or two exhibits and go each week.

Plant an outdoor garden and tend to it and harvest it with your little one.

Mostly kids just want to spend time with you.

finlaysmum12 Tue 06-Aug-13 17:34:51

have a tub of ice cream and home-made ice lollies ready in the fridge. just before the ice-cream van is due to visit, present your family with their treat from the freezer.
will save money and moaning!!

Mandy21 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:23:03

Sign up for all the local deals (companies like Groupon, Living Social). Recently got a family voucher for a local attraction for £25 (should have been £99). Sign up to websites that give information about local activities, what's on guides, local events. Get a group on school mums in a Facebook group (or on an email group) and let everyone else know if you've particularly enjoyed something or there is a discount code for something. Get children involved in free activities - nature hunts, treasure hunts round the garden and in the street (my children's absolutely favourite activity), garden games.

Food wise - always take a picnic and have your own drinks. If you're going to eat out, always check online (websites like Money Saving Expert) before you leave to see if there is a discount code or voucher you can use. If you are in a restaurant, get children to share an adult's portion, rather than buy 2 x children's meals, often works out cheaper. Just order water - drinks in a restaurant add a ridiculous amount to the bill.

littlemonkeychops Tue 06-Aug-13 19:05:49

Be prepared in advance. All the little costs add up, so always take a packed lunch, drinks and snacks with you. Try and keep paid for activites to a minimum and if the weather is nice just get outdoors - park, beach, woods etc.

Think of fun activities for the garden, make an obstacle course out of cushions and boxes, use any big cardboard boxes to make dens, go on a bug hunt, fill the paddling pool with loads of tupperware for water play, do messy play with jelly or shaving foam.

Have a picnic in the garden!

Stay in a family friendly youth hostel when taking a break with the kids - much less hassle and at the mercy of the weather than camping is, in some gorgeous locations and most are self catering so all you need to do is a big shop at your local supermarket before you leave to pick up the kids' favourites and you are ready to go!

Elainey1609 Tue 06-Aug-13 23:14:02

Picnics, baking free activities
Lots of parks and visits to library
Getting the crafty box out many many times
Lots of 2 for 1 vouchers

herecomesthsun Wed 07-Aug-13 03:32:24

We have done/ are doing

- few hours at the local beach, we take snacks for the kids with us and get coffee/ icecream there

-Summer Reading challenge at the local library

-Playday in the park, free

-local RNLI fun day, free entry (although we did spend a bit on fun things and to support the RNLI)

- local fun days, free entry at local theatres

- planning to visit a National Trust site on a day with "value added" activities for children

- local carnival (free entry to activities)

- local council run "festivals", free entry

- will be using local tennis court at £2 a session a few times

-if can summon the energy will get out our frame tent, pitch it in the garden and weatherproof it. I would predict a huge potential for den-making and excitement here.

-picnics in the garden

-bike riding (we live in a country road with bike paths)

- getting the 2 kids to paint on their easel in the garden

- story writing about some of the things we've done

-meeting up with school friends at the village pay park

Patilla Wed 07-Aug-13 08:05:37

When the British summer turns to its more normal rain we do a treasure hunt around the house where I place a series of clues which they look for and bring to me to read out until they find the prize which can range from a sweetie to an afternoon film.

We check local press and Magazines for details of free or low cost events.

We've had indoor paddling pool days on bad weather too, put up the paddling pool indoors, get dressed and had a paddling pool equivalent of a teddy bear's picnic.

When the weather is better we have done treasure hunts where I've made a list of things to find, usually with pictures as DS cant read yet.

We've also done a pretend safari and taken our binoculars out to find animals. It's amazing how many bottle top beetles and piece of string snakes there are in suburban England!

Lotstodo Wed 07-Aug-13 09:37:35

Set a budget, it's good for your child to learn the value of money early! Keep a box of ice lollies in the freezer and only buy them when you are out if you really have to.

Have different themes such as, if watching a film or DVD perhaps one day if it is raining or you can't go out, have a cinema theme. Buy or make some popcorn, arrange chairs, turn the lights down and invite friends to join you.

Each week have a theme for a shop. For the baker's you could make some cakes or even bread. Set up a book shop or a library using your child's books. Encourage your child to use their imagination. Act our stories from books - dress up as a fairy, with home made wings or make a knight's armour out of cereal boxes.

Always take a picnic and bottles of water or squash and spend the day at the park or woods. Find out the names of plants and trees. Collect things and then make a collage with them.

stickortwist Wed 07-Aug-13 12:48:56

Always take food snacks and water bottles of drink if going out.
If possible buy multipacks of ice creams from shops rather than individual ice creams.

I give 9 yr old ds1 a budget for dinner.... He then chooses a recipe and cooks it himself. Teaching valuable life skills and i get out of cooking !

flamingtoaster Wed 07-Aug-13 13:20:32

Favourite activities:

"Paint" with water on patio/outdoor walls.
Walks in the woods - draw wild flowers and then identify them when we get home.
Spend the day iiving in the tent in the garden - all meals eaten out there, etc. (visits indoor to the loo are allowed!).
Visit local places of interest as if you are a tourist.
Local free events are always worth a look.

Always take a picnic and snacks to keep the costs of outings down.

RiaBexleyGreenwichLE Wed 07-Aug-13 13:57:11

The best days out always seem to be the impromptu grab-a-football-and-some-sandwiches-and-head-for-the-local-park type days. It's free! You'd be making them sandwiches for lunch anyway so why not head out with a football and eat al fresco? The kids enjoy it and get some exercise too.

If in London, there are always the free museums too - Science Museum, Natural History and not forgetting the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory in Greenwich too.

IncaAztec Thu 08-Aug-13 09:09:06

Summer fun has to equal cheap fun in this house. Picnics (even indoor or teddy bears picnics!), saving up for cheap trips out and taking your lunch with you. I also keep drinks and snacks in the car for when we are finished if the outing is some distance away - save some money that way too!

Fillybuster Thu 08-Aug-13 12:44:14

Lots of little things:

- 'Make your own ice lollies' can fill many hours if done right!
First, a bit of planning: design your lolly. What colours? What flavours? If you're feeling adventurous, what shape? Get the dcs to draw a picture of what they want to make.
You don't need special molds (although the £ shops do sell a range) - we keep old yoghurt pots for this....
- How are you going to make those flavours/colours? Think about which fruits would make those flavours...maybe include a trip to the greengrocer or just look in the fridge/cupboard to see what you can 'make'. Squash, ribena, fruit juice, squashed kiwi, blended melon all make good colours and different flavours. 1 or 2 drops of food flavouring and food colouring can go a long way, too!
- Make up 3 or 4 different colours/flavours in jugs.
- Start to can make great 'layered' lollies by freezing a bit at a only take about 45 mins for each layer to freeze enough to add the next one. Clean up in between....and don't forget to insert a 'stick' (plastic picnic spoons are good).
- Eat...

- Library. Our local library is running a reading challenge with prizes, free of charge, which is keeping the dcs busy.

- Build a den in the garden (or indoors if it is raining)

- Baking biscuits/cakes, then wrapping up to look nice and delivering to an elderly relative or neighbour - combined with the visit, this can take an entire day

- Make a 'film'. Spend a day planning, developing, practising and acting a short story to be filmed, then watched with popcorn and much giggling. Provide props etc. This works really well if you give the dcs 5 or 6 image cards and tell them to make up a story based on that. Film them during the development/practise stages as well as the final 'result' - they will love watching it back afterwards. It works especially well when trying to entertain visiting children and relatives!

HannahLI Thu 08-Aug-13 13:57:04

So Summer activities:
-Baking and cooking. My kids love getting involved and they can help pick and take ownership. I always try and tie making cakes and fun things (rather than meals) in with when we are visiting friends for playdates etc.. as I like to take something and it then covers two activities.
-Build things out of Junk! OUr recycling bin is always full of packaging etc, and we always have tons of boxes to build with. It can take hours and days to create something if you make it, then paint it, then play in it!
-Tents in the garden (or indoors). My children love building dens and the great thing is you can build over and over again
-Games in the garden - we forget that our own garden is a resource and that it has hours of playing in it just waiting. Create a goal from a washing basket, mark out a bowls pitch, use outside chalk to draw pictures, make a hopscotch.
-Find local walks and go out with the pushchair/bikes. Look for paths away from the road where the kids are safer and there are styles to climb over!
-Garden centres - they are free and most have got loads of animals to look at, outdoor activity playareas and a cafe. They are perfect for trips out!

mum2eci Thu 08-Aug-13 17:58:07

Picnics at our local park are always enjoyed (if the weather is nice) nothing there to spend money on and kids can run around and let off steam!

Visit to local libraries to renew books or take part in free holiday activities.

Baking session at home always goes down well with my 3 little ones and they get to eat the end product, even better!

Making session using scraps of material etc we've collected.

We hit the £1 shop! Came out with frisbees, balls, skipping rope, foot jumper thing, bat and ball, water toys. Spent about £15, but had enough to keep DD, and toddler DN busy for a fair while.

We also have enrolled n the summer reading challenge at library, and will be taking advantage of the free swim when possible. Orange Wednesday next week, the Smurfs and a kids pack with drink/popcorn/sweet in it at Vue for under £10. A nice treat.

GetStuffezd Thu 08-Aug-13 18:46:42

Me and my brothers were an enterprising bunch - trying to sell passers by mashed up dandelion flowers/sugar/water, calling it dandelion wine. Naturally our mum put a stop to that before we killed anyone!

So, in an attempt to keep us entertained without spending any money AND getting us to tidy our rooms, she helped us set up a yard sale of all our unwanted stuff. It was good fun actually and we made a few quid which mum used to take us to the cinema (to see Fern Gully!)

The following years, we arranged with other families to do it on the same day and it became a regular village event.

Notfootball Thu 08-Aug-13 19:57:05

We are the queens/kings of the picnic and I make sure we always have something in for lunch that can be packed into the cool box and taken to the park.

We are enjoying going to the pick your own farms, surprised at how much fun we get from pulling up potatoes and picking corn & raspberries.

We have 'disco kitchen' where we turn up the radio in the kitchen and dance madly to whatever tunes are playing, the more inventive the moves, the better.

We bake a different cake each week so that we can try something new and take it to the picnic. These are brilliant for Cake Wednesday when we go to different friends's houses to chat, play and eat cake!

We only have one big trip a week - be it the cinema, the theatre or a theme park. All the other days have to be cheap and cost no more than £10 or nothing at all.

Of course, we try to avoid taking the car if we can so even though DC2 rarely travels in the pushchair, I take it anyway as a sort of trolley for the picnic and paraphernalia.

celestialbows Thu 08-Aug-13 21:16:27

My little ones love water, anywhere there is water they are happy, the local park paddling pool, a big bowl in the back garden, a few different sized cups, pots and other receptacles in the kitchen if it's cold outside and bathtime is always a winner, apart from the water bill it's cheap and easy.
For treats out I buy a pack of four icecreams from the supermarket rather than buy one for inflated prices from the street vendors.
Picnics and treasure hunts go down well, spotting landmarks and having small treats as prizes.

janekirk Thu 08-Aug-13 21:45:29

Plan to put money by before the holidays, forget all about it and then borrow and live on a shoestring at times. Encourage the grandparents to take the kids camping and on day trips.

round2 Thu 08-Aug-13 22:14:09

I only know what we have been doing this summer on a limited budget,sor far.
We purchased a Trampoline (from Asda actually, brownie points?grin) this is providing hours of fun.
Baked a cake.
Completing the library reading challenge.
Walked up Snowdon.
Went swimming.
Had friends over.
Had cousins over.
Going to free museums.
One spending activity per week ie zoo/cinema
Writing a journal of the summer holidays.
Maths/science activity books.
Bike rides.
Day at the beach.
Lazy day at home watching television / Xbox / played with toys etc.
created a band/wrote a song/ made a dance routine....,performed to family.
Played magic tricks.
Asked Siri silly things.

The list goes on....

daisybrown Thu 08-Aug-13 22:39:23

Did my homework on all the free activity clubs being run by local schools and by the council education department.
Bought secondhand camping set-up earlier in the year and it is now paying dividends.
Making full use of relatives and friends so we can take turns on having a day to ourselves.

dygranny Fri 09-Aug-13 07:38:56

We are lucky to have a zoo within 15 mins so we bought passes for £132 pounds in May. We visit a couple of times a week and bring a picnic. I converted reward points for tickets to the cinema and days out. We are also taking part in the reading challenge with the local library.

joolzy Fri 09-Aug-13 07:50:44

I stock up during the year on reduced books/toys etc, empty cardboard boxes, crayons, stickers etc. That way i always have something in hand for i'm bored moments.

shutitweirdo Fri 09-Aug-13 08:21:00

Throughout the year I have £120 a week for shopping. I take this out cash and any left over goes into the summer fund. We have one big outing as we don't go away. Then it is little things, especially things sold in the supermarket, footballs, paddling pools, blow up boxing gloves, tents. I put a tent up and change whats in it every day when the kids are in bed. There are lots of ways to transform a garden into a different play theme each week. My kids seem to love it as do their friends.

We have been looking for free council-run activities nearby, and we bought our boys a two man pop-up tent in the sale and they have been having loads of fun in it. They have even set it up in their bedroom and pretended to go camping, sleeping in it.

LentilAsAnything Fri 09-Aug-13 18:36:30

Go to museums, they are free.

Beach, free (excluding petrol where necessary)

Camping, very cheap holiday, nice and back to basics.

Family bike rides.

Win ASDA money and spend that!

Look in the local paper for free days out. We've already been to two family fun days this summer, all free!

Register for sites such as raring2go and download money saving vouchers.

The library is free and we spent an hour or so in there yesterday doing a treasure hunt that had been organized for the hols.

if the weather is good, get to the beach!

VileWoman Sat 10-Aug-13 22:12:16

Yearly membership for your favourite local museum. Membership plus a picnic lunch means lots of cheap visits, the more you go the cheaper it gets. EH membership works well too, especially if you holiday in the UK, we check out all the local properties when we go on holiday for £0.

sabretiggr Sat 10-Aug-13 22:41:22

Some local attractions have really good annual ticket prices - we got some to a local castle and have spent time there every week throughout the summer so it has saved us a fortune in other days out as it has lots to do there.

damppatchnot Sat 10-Aug-13 22:45:09

Use the local library and see what free events are on offer. Join the holiday book scheme for children to encourage them to read.
Days out to parks, halls and swimming pools with free admission

Let the children make their own picnics using things baked by themselves to save on eating out.

Adventures in the woods. Wet days wet weather gear and wellies splash in mud. Collect wildlife make collages

Lazy days in pjs watching old movies

Helping mum clean. Speed test who can tidy up fastest

ENJOY the time together whatever the weather. SEPTEMBER is not far away

VirtuallyThere Sat 10-Aug-13 23:31:10

Holidays focus around one organised activity a day which may be part/all day and free play. For days out my advice is to keep eyes peeled at all times for any suitable offers, always google for discounts and plan ahead. Tesco clubcard (topped up by topcashback) is great for days out and meals. Newspapers such as the sun for days out (we have 2 tickets to warwick castle from their awesome offers, check to see what deals are in the newspapers before purchasing). Also the train companies do some great offers if you travel by train (often worth just buying the ticket even if you're not going on the train).
Local papers also offer a good source of discounts.

For our quieter days at home we may just go to the supermarket cafe for a drink/cake or a local park to feed the ducks/ get an icecream. By mixing these with the treat days we have a nice balance of activities without too much financial hardship.

confusedofengland Sun 11-Aug-13 12:51:35

Playdates, playdates, playdates (& picnics)!

We have had playdates on about 10 of the 15 weekdays so far (3 weeks in to the holidays) & it has been great! We don't go to the same place twice in one week, so the DC don't get bored of any one place. Quite often we take picnics, too. This way, the DC are happy playing with their friends & I am happy chatting to mine over a coffee grin

Most of the places we go to are free - we live in Essex & near us have about 5 large parks within the town, the same again within easy driving distance, a farm with free entry & a duckpond in the local village. At one of the parks, a country park about 15 mins drive from me, they do a free 'Wild Wednesdays' sessions where DC are shown & encouraged to build dens, climb trees, catch bugs, make mud pies etc.

Also something the DC enjoyed was paddling in a ford near my friend's house!

All good, simple fun smile

gazzalw Sun 11-Aug-13 14:02:20

I have to say that activities with older children seem to be a lot more expensive to organise than doing things with under-fives..... The days of being able to totally satisfy them with trips to the park/library/local farm etc...are a by-gone age for sure.....

Visadiva Sun 11-Aug-13 18:21:05

Buy a season pass to the safari park/zoo/ national trust. Take a picnic and off you go whatever the weather. Saves a fortune and you've always got something to do.

weaseleyes Sun 11-Aug-13 19:39:58

Reusable water bottles and picnics.

MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Aug-13 17:14:09

Hi everyone, thanks for adding your thoughts to the thread. Congratulations to celestialbows who has won the prize draw! We'll be in touch shortly.

BoyMeetsWorld Mon 12-Aug-13 19:38:39

I'm quite good at budget shopping - we shop for a family of 3 on £40 per week - not by going short on anything (we love fresh fruit, meat and veg) but by keeping very careful shopping lists, only buying things that we need or need replacing, looking out for special deals (but only on things we want anyway, not being tempted by random offers) & stocking the freezer with reduced meats. Regarding days out, I keep an eye on GroupOn and 02 moments - have had some great cheap family day outs via those. The dog is the best money saving purchase ever too (despite his cost in pet food!) as he gives a great excuse to go for a free trip to take him on a long walk

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