With the summer holidays drawing near, you might be worrying about how you can keep the children busy for six weeks without breaking the bank. Having school-aged children at home for a month and a half can be an expensive time as you attempt to avoid the familiar complaints of boredom. With that in mind, Dadsnet has produced a guide to help with summer saving tips for entertaining the kids.
MoneySavingExpert calculated that the average child costs £126.27 per week to entertain during the school break, making £757.62 for the whole holiday and around £1,500 if you have two kids to keep busy. As you would expect, London parents fared the worst with an average cost of £172.74 for keeping their children happy, compared with £82.73 per child per week in East Anglia, the cheapest area researched.
But wherever you live, you can take advantage of these ways to entertain the kids for less during the summer holidays.
Summer saving tips
Make pack ups instead of eating out
Yes, making your own food for a day out with the kids can be a pain, but it can save you a significant amount of money too. Eating at cafes, particularly those located in or near popular destinations like museums and theme parks, can be expensive and, let’s face it, the food isn’t always the best quality either. This is why this is one of the most popular summer saving tips.
In addition, it can be more convenient than traipsing around to find a cafe or restaurant that suits each member of the family’s specific needs and you don’t have to try and act like a UN peacekeeper when the hunger strikes and the service is slow because of the summer holiday demand.
You can find lots of great places to eat your picnic with more enticing views than your bog standard junk food concession and you can ensure that your family eats something that is at least a little on the healthy side.
Look for free entertainment
Although you don’t get much for free nowadays, there are still a host of free options available to help you entertain the kids for less during the summer holidays. A large number of museums and art galleries offer free entry, meaning you don’t have to spend anything to enjoy a day of exploration and fun.
Venues such as the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, the Riverside Museum in Glasgow and the Imperial War Museums in London and Manchester do not charge for admission and all offer a huge amount of entertainment depending on what your kids are into. They do, however, ask for voluntary donations, so you can choose to enjoy the facilities for free or pay what you can afford. If you feel guilty about not paying, you could always go back at a less expensive time of year and leave a donation.
In addition, many councils and other local authorities lay on family activities during the school holidays, so make sure you check local websites, Facebook pages and newspapers to keep up to date the latest free days out.
There is also great exploring fun to be had in the park, at libraries and in the countryside, all of which are completely free of charge.
Track down half price vouchers for family days out
In the run up to the summer holidays, many local radio stations and newspapers offer half price vouchers for family tickets at local attractions. Keep an eye on their websites to see if there is any hint of these deals going on sale. They are usually limited to a certain number and dealt with on a first come, first served basis, but are an excellent way to entertain the kids for less during the summer holidays.
You will usually have to buy the voucher on the website, print it out or download it to your phone and then present it at the attraction when you decide to visit. It is important to check the terms and conditions of these vouchers, as there might be days on which you are not permitted to use them or other restrictions in place.