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Keeping the kids entertained on a budget this summer.

(43 Posts)
mmmmmchocolate Sun 12-Jun-16 17:59:35

Is anyone else starting to get nervous that the summer holidays is getting closer? I thought it would be nice to combine our ideas so I can steal all yours lol a bit like the prepping for winter credit crunch thread.

I'm trying to put a bit of money away each week so I've got a some spare to have some days out and get the train to some different places.

I've checked the cheap kids cinema listings, the ones local to me haven't been published yet but there have been lots of kids films this year so far that are likely to be on kids club this summer. That's £2.50 a ticket but some cinemas do the tickets for £1-£2. Obviously we sneak snacks in ;)

I've asked for a year pass to a local(ish) farm for my birthday, so that will only cost the transport to get there and I can use it all year.

There are lots of different parks near to us, 3 within walking distance. One of them has a museum in the grounds that puts on lots of activities in the holidays. These haven't been published yet but there are bound to be a few that will keep us occupied for a few hours.

I find that as long as I can get the DC out for a good few hours a day they will be happy to chill, watch a movie or read or play for the rest of the day.

So how are you all going to fill 6 whole weeks with not a lot of cash. Thank you! 🙂

Artandco Sun 12-Jun-16 18:11:17

How old are they?

My basics that are free for 6 year olds are:

Water play in garden -bowls with syringes/ tubes/ measuring, or cleaning toy cars or small paddling pool etc

Art in garden - chalk drawing ( can do on pavement also), paper/ clipboard/ watercolours, stick paper to fence as easel.

Park - play parks, take paper/ board/ pencils and draw stuff on walk, crayon surface markings, woodland walks/ beach/ wherever you live. Take picnic/ snacks

Bike rides - take picnic/ rug/ books

National trust membership - costs but membership lasts all year so can use every weekend and holidays if your near some

Invite friends over for playdate


Visit friends/ family

Tummyrumbled Sun 12-Jun-16 18:18:17

trips to free museum, parks (always bring food with you as "picnic")

Woodland walks. Any woodland near you?

mmmmmchocolate Sun 12-Jun-16 18:37:48

Mine are 6 and 8, some fab ideas there for things to do at home.

I looked at the national trust membership but as I don't drive I'd have to rely on DH to take us on his days off. I've got the free weekend in September pencilled into my diary though and plan to take advantage of that by fitting in a few properties ;)

There's no woodland locally but we could probably get to some with a short drive- again, one for when DH is off.

I've just thought than my local council does free swimming for kids in the holiday, so it's just a few pounds for me. Plus this tires them out massively lol.

And we like to go to a PYO farm at least once during the holidays. Everything is really behind due to the cold spring here so strawberries are still a month away and likely to be ready just in time for the holidays. So £4 for a huge basket of strawbs or rasps and then home to cook/jam/eat!

mmmmmchocolate Sun 12-Jun-16 18:40:40

Fab link tummy there's some places on there that I'd forgotten about so they're going on the list!

Ibelieve123 Sun 12-Jun-16 18:42:19

Mine are between 6 & 10.
I'm planning lots of trips to park.
I pay monthly for my national trust membership & my local place as lots of activities on most free to members.
I've just got a little tent I'm planning on putting up in garden over a weekend & having a sleepover in the garden.

Artandco Sun 12-Jun-16 19:50:04

Also a bbq for that age is great. Just a little one. Get a small reusable one for £5. Then can spend early afternoon collecting sticks for it. Then they can cook sausages on sticks over it and marshmallows like campfire. Obv watch them but at 6-8 they aren't babies

CinderellaFant Sun 12-Jun-16 20:17:57

I'm in Northern Ireland and we have 8 long weeks to fill!! I have a 6 yo and an almost 4 yo. Also I'm pregnant and exhausted. My list includes
-play park
-bug hunt
-play in garden with water/bubbles/chalks
-out for a picnic
-cinema cheap days
-baking at home
-gardening days

chanie44 Sun 12-Jun-16 22:15:12

Libraries often have sessions

Boxes - my children love having a big box to play with.

Water balloon fight

IKEA - sell ice cream cones for 50p. We sometimes go for an ice cream.

LadyMetroland Mon 13-Jun-16 00:05:09

We live fairly rurally, so museums etc not so readily available. But my ideas for mine (aged 3-6) are:

1. Bus trips into our nearest big town, take picnic, bus or train home. This excites them no end as we usually travel everywhere by car.

2. National Trust properties. So, so worth the annual family membership

3. Woodland and countryside walks (we do this anyway but this summer I'm going to find some new routes)

4. Loads of playdates. My experience is you need to set them up as early as possible otherwise you find people are away.

5. Will attempt more cooking /baking - although ds (3) is still a bit of a pain in this department

6. Days out at a local special needs school which is open to wider general public in school hols for a small charge. Has fab toys and outdoor areas. Worth checking with your local education authority if there's something similar in your area.

7. Planning to see if Tesco vouchers boost thing will pay for any expensive family days out

8. Well worth joining every local community group on Facebook as free local events often advertised there.

9. Also have a strawberry farm near us, kids love it

Would love to hear more ideas!

Worcswoman Mon 13-Jun-16 00:29:17

At that age here's some things we enjoyed:

The usual; parks, swimming, cycling.
Gardening - an on going project that can be revisited e.g.. planting a sunflower or tomatoes, as well as tending the garden. My ds had a toy lawnmower from age 2 and used to shadow me. Great training for when they're 15.
I'd stage a hunt/paper chase with clues. One DC and I setting the clues and the other and their friends (with another mum) chasing. Set it in an area of natural beauty with clear paths and a map. Teach them orienteering. Picnic afterwards.
Dens in the garden. Boxes are good.
Paddling pool in the garden. As they got older this invariably became part of an assault course they'd constructed.
If raining watching a movie then writing a story. They'd read their story out. Always with homemade popcorn.
English Heritage have fun things for children. Usually involving swords and bows and arrows. Lots of practice afterwards so beware of wounds from wooden swords.

recklessgran Mon 13-Jun-16 09:46:01

Something to do at home.
Make a miniature garden. Give each child a seed tray or similar filled with earth. Now make a mini garden from your own garden if you see what I mean,e.g gravel for a little path. Twigs to make a bench perhaps. Sink a shallow plastic pot and fill with water for a pond or you could use a little mirror if you have one. Trim little branches from shrubs in your garden for trees etc. I'm sure you get the gist. My 5 loved doing this and we used to give a little prize for the best one. I used to give each child two votes to decide that one but I appreciate that wouldn't work if you don't have a crowd of children. Kept them amused for hours and they used to help each other too.

BaboonBottom Mon 13-Jun-16 09:53:26

Have a look at your local wildlife trust, they do a lot of events they are free to £5. Really really worthwhile.
Wyvale garden centre do cooking classes in their cafe.
Pick your own is good as a pp says
Download the Geocaching app, i think its about £6/£7 but once you've got it you've got it. It is great fun.
Im going to make mine pick and make dinner each week at least one day.

LizKeen Mon 13-Jun-16 10:14:25

Great thread.

I don't think I have anything to add, but I am watching with interest.

I am in NI and we have NT membership, but there are not that many properties. I am getting weary doing the same stuff all the time.

I will probably try to get to the beach a few times. We love the beach but the sand is such a faff. Our swimming pool is doing BOGOF after 5pm so we will take advantage of that too.

Artandco Mon 13-Jun-16 10:25:40

Also, remember the school holidays are also a chance for them to recharge before the new school year. So don't feel the need to have something scheduled or planned all the time

Some of my favourite memories of school holidays are just reading a book in the garden on a pile of cushions in the summer, and drinking my mothers child friendly summer 'cocktails' ( fruit juice/ water/ lemonade with cucumber and oranges and strawberries floating in it)

I find mine need to just play with toys and chill some days also.

MsWorthington Mon 13-Jun-16 10:39:17

You know those craft projects that always crop up in comics and annuals that DC always want to make, but you only ever have half the stuff needed for them to do it? Get all the stuff together you need before the holidays so on rainy days you're ready to go. Most of it doesn't need buying, just keep hold of boxes and other odds and sods that would normally go in the recycling, then make sure you've got enough glue, tape glitter and poster paint stashed away.

thisw Mon 13-Jun-16 17:00:55

Lovely thread. Another one weary of doing NT. Mine just aren't that interested!

Mine love being able to do gymnastics and dance shows in the garden. Spend ages preparing a routine to 'show'.

Mycatsabastard Mon 13-Jun-16 17:06:25

Put out a plea on freecycle for unwanted craft items. Wool, straws, glue, paper, anything they can just mess about with and create something. Start saving up toilet roll tubes so they can make a family of people.

Buy some wooden pegs and get them to decorate them or wooden spoons. Pound shop!

I tend to go for maybe two or three big days out during the whole holidays. Then maybe two to three very cheap or free places a week. The rest of the time we are mooching at home.

Don't feel the need to entertain them constantly.

I'm lucky, the beach is 10 minutes from us so I only need to pay for parking and we pretty much have a day out on the cost of a picnic. But if you have an open air pool or a paddling pool then take them.

PotteringAlong Mon 13-Jun-16 17:10:49

Do you have something they can film on? Phone/iPad/camcorder? Get them to make their own films. Hold a film festival!

mmmmmchocolate Mon 13-Jun-16 18:20:56

I'd love to be near a beach, unfortunately I think I'm at the furthest point from any beach in the uk 😂

For those bored of the National trust, English Heritage I'm sure is cheaper for a membership. Same sort of thing as NT but it would throw up different properties for a year, depending of course what is in your area.

This came up on my Facebook feed ( disclaimer, it's a netmums link 😂) But there are some good ideas on there for things to do at home, probably is more aimed at younger children though.

If anyone is local to Birmingham, the Thinktank science museum is quite expensive but the outdoor science garden is free between 3-5pm.

I love the campfire idea. That's definitely going on the list. I'd also love to camp in the garden but my garden is concrete and stones so that's a no 😂

We have lots of craft items, tbh the thing that they want to do the most is to paint and to get the playdoh out! I might even get started on the Xmas cards lol.

mmmmmchocolate Mon 13-Jun-16 18:23:57

Pottering- we could make puppets and film a puppet show. It might help DDs writing to write a script for it.

Lagirafe Mon 13-Jun-16 18:31:32

I was thinking the same thing today! 6 weeks is such a long time!

I am planning week by week and probably 3 things per week as I have 4 under 8 and I'm knackered most of the time!

Most weeks will probably include a walk and picnic lunch locally and a trip to the pool (have bought years membership for kids for £10/year).

PotteringAlong Mon 13-Jun-16 18:50:29

If you're the furthest from a beach you're Birmingham way then - look out for cheap cheap train tickets from Wolverhampton (if it's near you) to London. Honestly; you can get them for less than a tenner if you book wisely and in advance and if you take a picnic you don't need to pay when you're there.

Also, if you're not a national trust member you can buy a garden only ticket for shugborough hall that's £3 but they don't advertise it on the website!

PotteringAlong Mon 13-Jun-16 18:54:31

Also, cosford air museum is free

eatingtomuchchocolate Mon 13-Jun-16 20:07:40

If you live in Birmingham look at what your local and central library are doing. They often run free activities and they can take part in the reading challenge. You do need to book onto the activities.

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