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Making the school holidays fun but on a very tight budget

(28 Posts)
iruby Sun 10-Jul-11 14:34:09


I am after some practical advice for things to do with my DD who is 8, over the summer holidays. My budget is very tight as I going to be made redundant. We live in Newcastle. Any ideas would be great.

Thank you

jenni75 Sun 10-Jul-11 14:47:55

Bike Rides
Baking (packet mixes, add an egg, type of thing)
Cinema, do they have a kids club - where kids pay about a quid or something and adult goes free (usually films that have been out a bit longer)
Walk and a picnic
Watching DVD's (try charity sfops)
Feeding ducks
will add more smile

ManicMother7777 Sun 10-Jul-11 15:19:09

1. Find a level crossing down a country lane, but on a main line, get a timetable and she can work out when trains are due and what sort of train it will be, then wait for the bells and the barriers to come down. Take a picnic. I've spent many a thrilling day doing this. blush

2. All day bus tickets

3. Library

4. Newcastle airport, park in a side street (no cost) and watch planes for a while

NoCarbsBeforeMarbs Sun 10-Jul-11 15:25:11

ManicMother you are a geek. Like me! I like you. grin

Have no other ideas- some great ones here already, but will come back if I think of any!

Cedise Sun 10-Jul-11 15:37:49

Cheapo paddling pool - you can get them in Poundland, and three bottles of food colouring. Save some old washing up bottles, put an inch of water, a few drops of food colouring, and a squirt of washing up liquid in, and shake till its full of coloured foam. Put a couple of inches of water in the pool and let her go to town. My DD revelled in drowning her Barbies in foam at that age.

On crap days you can put the empty pool on the floor and use it to trap all the 'bits' from crafts. Saves a carpet full of glitter and sequins.

You can buy cheap white canvas shoes from nearly everywhere for about £4, a pack of DVD marker pens from Poundland are basically fine-tipped permanent markers, DD would spend an entire day carefully drawing and colouring her own shoes and then proudly wear them. You can hot-glue sequins etc on too.

DD was into Harry Potter at that age; one of her favourite things was to 'make potions'. She would gather stuff from the garden, crush it and mix it with water and sieve it into egg cups to see how many different coloured 'potions' she could make.

CroissantNeuf Sun 10-Jul-11 15:44:08

Water balloons -99p a pack from the works (the easiest way to fill them up is using an old washing up liquid bottle).

Great fun as they play 'catch' or target practice with them etc.

My 11 and 6 yr olds are in the garden with a friend playing with them now

CroissantNeuf Sun 10-Jul-11 15:46:54

Another idea -using a seed tray of soil get your DD to design and make a mini garden -use stones for a path, pick leaves, flowers etc for the plants and trees, a bottle lid for a fish pond etc.

They can get really creative and imaginative

(just make sure beforehand that she knows what she can and can't pick from your garden to make it)

welliesundermeballgoon Sun 10-Jul-11 15:58:48

Discovery & Hancock are free

Customs House at shields is really cheap for cinema (£16 for family of 4 not sure on individual prices)

Metro day saver is good to do a round trip and include the shields ferry getting back on the metro at the other side this only costs about £3 all in and is a really fun day out (especially if you include fish and chips at the fish quay before getting on the ferry!)

Metro to the beach with a picnic.

Saltwell Park is fab and free

Swimming is quite reasonable at the council run pools West Denton etc.

There is a free train museum at Shildon if you drive?

jam jar with a string handle is great for 'fishing' in rivers and investigating your catch....

Nature trails in woodland parks...loads of them in the area (Newburn, Rowlands Gill etc)

Chalk pictures on the patio? (easily cleaned up afterwards!)

Baltic is free and they generally have craft events over the holidays

Walk along the quayside over the millenium bridge
is lovely on a nice day

Shall try to think of more...

welliesundermeballgoon Sun 10-Jul-11 16:00:42

Bill quay farm is free too - I think you can spend the day volunteering too if your DC is into animals

feckwit Sun 10-Jul-11 16:02:39

Have a treat box with cheapy activities in like bubbles etc, art activities, cheapy pound land bits etc.

Paint with water on the patio.

Free museums.

Themed picnics, eg teddy bear, dinosaur, fairy where you shape the food etc!

Keep an online diary.


welliesundermeballgoon Sun 10-Jul-11 16:03:24

The Castle Keep is also free

iruby Sun 10-Jul-11 16:38:41

You lot are all fantastic, thank you so much for brilliant ideas. Think I will run them past DD and see what takes her fancy. I suspect the paddling pool idea will be a favourite. Will let you know what happens.

pugsandseals Mon 11-Jul-11 15:10:15

Ooh, can we keep this thread going please? I also have a DD of the same age who is an only & could very easily get locked into her dsi for the whole holidays if I let her! Our ideas so far are as follows:-

A big bag of pipe cleaners to fiddle make things with,
Giant chalks to make games like hopskotch on the ground,
A photoshoot day where she dresses up & I take digital photos to make an album,
Library once per week,
Free museum once per week,
Membership to local farm centre as a treat,
Coochie catcher making,

Will come back with more as I think of them! smile

chickflit Mon 11-Jul-11 16:50:32

I was like this last year and we ended up having a great summer holidays.

Geocaching - you just need a GPS or a smartphone - we discovered places local to us that we would never have found without geocaching - take a picnic and have a great day out.

I bought stuff for making soya candles, not that expensive to start up and great fun.

Fruit picking then jam making, crumble making, cake making - there were loads of brambles round here last August so we ended up going out a couple of times a week and picking the bushes bare.

Seaside - just need a picnic and some suncream - been a long time since I lived in the North East but I have very fond memories of the Club trip to Whitley Bay - can you not go there.

DS1 has really got into Diary of a Wimpy Kid so he's doing a journal every day and I've set him up with the son of a friend who lives in a different country and they're going to be pen pals.

chickflit Mon 11-Jul-11 16:51:13

What is cootchie catcher making?

CroissantNeuf Mon 11-Jul-11 19:44:00

chickflit -I was about to ask the same especially as I've just googled images of 'coochie' expecting to see some sort of bug or creature....its not!shock.

pugsandseals Tue 12-Jul-11 12:01:38

Sory it's 'cootchie' - it's those paper folding wish granting things we all used to make & play with in the playground! We bought this and it has kept DD busy for months!

pugsandseals Tue 12-Jul-11 12:02:39

Their fairy making kit is good too, but find somewhere that sells cheap silk petals otherwise it can get very expensive!

chickflit Tue 12-Jul-11 13:19:48

My mum used to make those all the time and DS makes them too, but he puts things in like "you are a slug" or "smelly breath".

Rarily Wed 13-Jul-11 12:51:38

Hi there, great ideas on here thanks! I've just been out and bought big blocks of air dry clay (5.99 for a heavy lump which would divide into three or four and keep a child happy for a few afternoons). We did this loads when I was a kid (dad a school teacher and he did it with his classes) You give a big chunk of clay to the child and let them make whatever they want - score any bits you want to join and paint with a bit of water to make them join. Then paint with liquid paint when dry and varnish them. Much cheaper than the crafty packs.

SpiderObsession Tue 26-Jul-11 11:30:57

Beamish musum costs £16 per adult but this one ticket gets you in free for the year. Handy if you're a local. My DSs love the trams, trains and generally messing about.

theheart123 Thu 28-Jul-11 13:59:02

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Selks Thu 28-Jul-11 14:18:09

- Check to see what summer activities are on locally for children e.g. those organised by the local authority, nature reserves, community arts organisations - often they are free
- Get a flower or insect or bird book from the library, head to the local woods or park or countryside and get into a cheap magnifying glass and get into mini-beasts
- Get crafty - lots of craft ideas don't need costly materials e.g paper mache using chicken wire, newspaper strips and wallpaper paste - she could make masks or giant animals or a sculpture or whatever
- Make dens - let her make a 'super den' in her bedroom using sheets and pillows and whatever. Let her invite a friend over to sleep in it in sleeping bags
- Learn a new skill e.g roller skating

pugsandseals Thu 28-Jul-11 16:04:35

Just spent £58 of tesco vouchers online smile

Got cinema tickets,
theme park tickets,
bowling tickets,
and zoo tickets all on their way to us!

pugsandseals Thu 11-Aug-11 21:31:42

Had a fantastic day today so I thought I'd share smile. You need:-

White paint
PVA glue
An old boxfile
Used wrapping paper

DD & I have literally spent hours (after painting the file white) ripping & sticking little bits of paper over the top of each other & I can't even say we got particularly messy! I have never seen a 9 year old so engaged for so long - highly recommended.

And thankyou lovely ladies in Hobby craft for the idea. DD loved the Decopatch horse you let her do for free in the shop last week grin

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