The summer term has come to an end, school is finally out and the long summer break begins. It can be a daunting time for parents, worrying about entertaining the children for 6 weeks and it can be costly trying to keep them entertained.
In this article we provide 10 top money-saving tips to stay busy on a budget this summer.
Things to do for free with your kids this summer holiday
1. Check your local council for FREE events
Your local council website should list all the free organised events in the area. Often libraries run events in the summer such as book clubs and toddler groups.
2. Visit a national museum
The majority of museums in London are free, some may ask for a small donation. If you are travelling by train, under 5's travel for free and 5-15 year olds generally travel at 50% of the cost of an adult ticket.
For more information on travelling and days out you can look at the discounts available with National Rail.
3. Explore outside
Go to a local park or camp outside in the garden. The Woodland Trust offers free activity packs for children to explore in the woods, such as spotting trees and insects, as well as mini-games and activities. There's also the option to become a member to receive regular activity packs in the post.
4. Free activities in stores
- The Apple store offers lots of free classes for families, children and adults. Covering topics such as art, photography, music and coding.
- The Lego store offers a free toy mini build for 6-14 year olds on a first come first served basis on the first Thursday of every month between 4pm-6pm. Check with your local store for participation.
- Pets at home offer free animal workshops for children aged 5-11.
- Children between ages 4-10 years old can enjoy a free gardening workshop with the garden centre Dobbies. Workshops run on the first Sunday of every month and last 45 minutes to an hour.
- Take part in arts and crafts at Hobbycraft workshops across its store, or attend the National Gallery for free art exhibitions and workshops.
5. Free sports activities
- Children can learn to play Tennis For Free at local parks across the UK.
- Take part in Junior ParkRuns
- Children aged between 7-14 years old can learn to swim safely in open water
6. Go out for dinner for FREE
Bookatable has listed a selection of restaurants across the country where children can eat free. Alternatively take a look at the app KidsPass, which lists restaurants and codes where children can eat for free.
Check out Hoop. It is a free app that lists lots of free activities for kids in your area.
Things to do on a budget this summer holiday
7. Visit zoo's or theme parks
- Using Tesco Clubcard vouchers can get you cheaper tickets or even get you free entry into some parks across the UK.
- Collect shower gels and soaps from your local supermarket that offer 2 for 1 deals on theme parks and days out across the UK.
- Take advantage of 2 for 1 deals with your National Rail ticket.
8. Go to the cinema
Cinemas are offering movies for children at weekends and over the school holidays for as little as £1-£2.50. The life insurance provider Vitality has a perk that offers free family cinema tickets by getting active with its life insurance policies, as well as lots of other perks.
9. Go to the theatre
You can get a free ticket for children aged 16 and below with a full paying adult in London in August.
10. Summer holiday camps
The National Citizen Service (NCS) runs programmes open to teenagers aged between 15-17 for only £50, including all meals. Teens can stay away for 3-4 weeks and take part in activities designed to character build and work within teams. More information is available on the NCS website.
Check out KidsPass, a website that lets you know about deals at local attractions and restaurants. (You can sign up for a 30 day trial for £1, but beware it renews at £39.99 for an annual membership).
Are you a working parent? You could be entitled to the Tax-free childcare scheme
If you are a working parent the school holidays can be stressful when it comes to organising childcare. Did you know that you could be entitled to tax-free childcare up to £2,000 per child each year?
The Childcare Choices website will notify you if you are eligible almost immediately (providing no extra checks are required) and for every £8 you contribute the government will add an extra £2.
Are you eligible for tax-free childcare?
- Working parents with children under 12 (under 17 for disabled children)
- Must earn at least £131 per week
- You may still be eligible if you or your partner are on maternity, paternity, adoption leave, disabled or have care responsibilities
For more information see the Childcare Choices website.
If you have lots of exciting things planned this summer, consider downloading a free Summer Holiday Planner, provided by 'Day out with the kids'.
Going on holiday this summer?
- Read our pre-departure checklist to ensure you're fully prepared for your holiday this summer.
- Wondering what is the best way to take money on holiday this summer? Read our handy guide.
- Are you taking a staycation this year? Read our article, Do I need travel insurance for a staycation and how to get the best deal.