I don’t know about you but I am always a little bit surprised by just how much the summer holidays cost, even when you don’t plan on going away for a real holiday. The cost of keeping your kids entertained 24 hours a day and more importantly fed ( I mean seriously …snack after snack after snack) can be a bit much when you are on an already tight budget. I decided that as much as I wanted to give the girls the best summer holidays I could manage that I realistically couldn’t afford to do paid activities all the time. And that is ok. Kids need some days where they are allowed to be slightly bored, to create their own entertainment and to just play in the house. Don’t let the world of Pinterest and Facebook tell you otherwise. We have chill out days where I catch up on household bits whilst the girls play or craft or colour..or you know what sometimes they just watch telly. We normally end up curled up watching a film with popcorn and having a real lazy day. However I and they would go stir crazy if we did that all the time. Here are some of my favourite and simple budget friendly ideas to keep your little ones busy during the holidays:
Camping in the garden – we have done this quite a lot this year. There are so many benefits to camping by your back door. You have access to a fridge, a bath and of course wifi! There is something so exciting for kids to sleep outdoors, yes you may not get them to sleep super early but in the holidays thats not such a big deal.
Exploring with a checklist – make a list or even just verbally give them 5 items they need to find. We do it with things like funny leaves, a particular colour flower ( we don’t pick them, just have a look and maybe take a photo ) or a cool rock.
Picnic in the park. We probably do this about once a week where we will take some sandwiches and maybe a tub of strawberries and just spend a few hours playing in the park. Often with cousins, sometimes school friends or just us. Our local park is especially lovely at this time of year as there are so many wildflowers.
Kids club at the cinema – most cinemas do kids club screenings every single day of the school holidays from approximately £2.50 per person. If you pick up your own snacks in the supermarket this is really cheap morning out and perfect for the occasional rainy day.
Toy sort out day – now this may not sound much fun but pulling out all of the toys to clean and sort is actually a good way to pass time and also declutter. We look through our books and soft toys regularly. It usually ends up with a handful being donated to charity or younger family members and the kids end up in a corner with forgotten toys for a few hours.
Cooking/baking – if it’s rainy we may bake some banana bread or fairy cakes. If it’s warm we may make chocolate covered strawberries or cornflake cakes so we don’t have to turn the oven on.
Gardening – it is surprising how much of an interest kids can take if you encourage it. We have planted tomatoes, cucumbers and squash amongst other things this year and the kids have helped weed and water most days. They are really excited now that we are almost ready to taste our produce…as am I!
Check your local authority website. There are generally lots of free activities throughout the holidays, including outdoor film screenings and craft days. We recently spent the day at Cardiff Bay’s fake beach. The beach and splash pool were free, we did end up spending out on rides etc but you could do it quite cheaply if you wished. We also discovered these rather incredible lego sculptures.
What are your top tips for keeping kids busy without spending a fortune?