As the cost of living steadily rises and inflation is at a 40-year high of 9.1%, most families are feeling the pinch and may struggle to afford foreign holidays, or even a summer staycation. But, you still need to entertain the children. The good news is that there are a host of cheap days out with the family you can enjoy.
Paul Leitch, creator of Kids Days Out, says “people haven’t got much money at the moment, and visitor attractions are finding it tough. But in spite of the pressure on the cost of living, there are still lots of things to do with kids around the country, especially in the great outdoors, such as visiting parks, canal walks, fossil hunting on beaches, rock pooling, museums and much more. So, you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a good time with your kids.
“Quite honestly, stopping on a hillside with a picnic – and then looking for wildflowers and butterflies – would give kids just as much enjoyment as an expensive day out – my kids would much rather build sandcastles than have a ride on a go-cart.”
Cheap days out with the family
Here are a few cheap or free ways to keep the kids busy this summer…
1. Go on a nature scavenger hunt
For this simple activity, all you have to do is create a list of seasonal plants and insects for kids to spot – think bees, dandelions, ants, flowers, pine cones and trees. Your kids will love the challenge of finding them all and talking about the things they find. You can do this in your garden, your local park or anywhere there is some greenery.
2. Look for meal deals
Meals out with the family can be expensive, but there are plenty of meal deals around that can substantially reduce the price and make the family feel like they’re getting a real treat. Many offer free kids’ meals when adults pay. Examples include Asda cafes, where one child can eat free if an adult spends £4 more after 3pm, Monday to Friday; Morrisons cafes, where one child can eat free if an adult spends £4.50 or more after 3pm; Bella Italia, where kids eat for £1 with the purchase of every adult main course between 4pm–6pm Monday to Thursday; and Sizzling Pubs, where kids can enjoy a meal for £1 when an adult main meal is ordered between 3pm-7pm, Monday to Friday.
3. Cheap days out by rail
If the kids are clamouring to go to an expensive attraction, travelling there by train might actually make it more affordable, as National Rail runs a two for one promotion all year round. You buy a train ticket and get two entry tickets for the price of one at a huge number of attractions around the UK, such as Madame Tussauds London and Blackpool, Legoland Windsor, and SEA LIFE centres.
4. Watch cut-price movies
If the summer weather’s rubbish, a trip to the cinema with the kids could be a great way to keep them happy – but if the cost of a cinema visit is a problem, there are cheaper showings available. Cineworld’s Movies for Juniors costs £2.50 for a child; at Odeon Kids, adults pay the same price as a child, during the school holidays; and Vue’s Mini Mornings run from 10am during school holidays, and both adult and child tickets cost just £2.49 each.
5. Paint rocks
Go to the park or a local nature reserve to find rocks to paint on. It is a great way to get their imagination going and is a change from the usual painting on paper. Decorate them just how you like them and then use them as decorations round your house.
These are all cheap days out with the family this summer which will help the six weeks fly by without the fear of the credit card bill plopping onto the doormat in September.