There’s nothing quite like the summer holidays to remind you how expensive your kids can be. There are plenty of options when it comes to activities and day trips for the little ones, especially at this time of year. However, daily outings to Legoland and Alton Towers are things that very few parents can afford. In fact, one family outing to any sort of theme park or attraction seems to cost a small fortune; the bigger your brood is, the more out of pocket you’re going to be.
There are plenty of affordable alternatives to occupying your little ones over the holidays and weekends; you might just need a helping hand to find an idea. The following are some tips, tricks, and fun ideas for your family to enjoy themselves during their free time, without you having to spend money left, right and centre.
Mini Chefs And Kitchen Fun
Kids love getting stuck into something messy, and if it’s edible too; you’re onto a winner. Take advantage of special offers on fruit and veg in various supermarkets, and get your little ones at the kitchen counter and making some tasty treats to eat over the rest of the summer. Fruit like watermelon and banana can be frozen with a lollipop stick to create homemade ice lollies; they can be dipped in melted chocolate for extra fun and sprinkled with nuts and dried fruit. Along with the time you’ll spend chopping and creating the tasty treats in your kitchen with your little ones; you’ll be saving money on the often expensive branded iced treats found in the shops, not to mention reducing the refined sugar your kids won’t be eating.
Spend a morning creating a garden or park picnic with your mini chefs, before taking a blanket and eating al fresco. You can pretty much create the same lunch food, like sandwiches, chopped carrot sticks, and crisps, that you’d eat normally.However, putting the picnic label on things makes it instantly more of an exciting treat and your kids will relish their involvement in the process. While the weather is good (fingers crossed), you could make picnic day a regular thing, and it won’t cost you any more than a normal lunch. For an extra affordable treat; bake some cupcakes and spend an afternoon with coloured icing, decorating them; the perfect sweet ending to a picnic on any summer meal.
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Family Getaways And Time Together
Unfairly; the price of travel and holiday resorts go up during the school holidays, making family getaways rather expensive. However, if you’ve got little ones under school age; you could take advantage of cheaper deals during July and September, while it’s still term time. If you’re planning a trip with your new baby and the rest of your kids; it’s worth checking over an employer maternity leave guide and planning your holidays well in advance to save cash, and you’ll have the chance to pay things off monthly to spread the cost.
If you don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing the weeks where you go on a family trip; staycations are a great option. Borrow or hire some camping gear and take your little ones on an adventure (in the safety of a campsite) for a while. Country and coastal walks can be finished off with a campfire and stories, before a snug night’s sleep in a sleeping bag. The odd cone of chips and a Mr Whippy will be cheap and cheerful additions to your break, and the kids will make some great memories with you.
See if you have any close friends or family with a mobile or static caravan that they’re not using for a few nights or more; offer to look after it for them and enjoy a classic British, self-catering holiday by the sea. Last minute offers for small B&Bs are another option if you’re happy to pack up quickly and head towards where the best deals are; take full advantage of the included breakfast and fill the family up until at least the afternoon.
Being Crafty And Creating Art
Whether you’re on holiday in the UK or are staying at home for the duration of the summer; there are always going to be rainy days when the kids seem to be climbing the walls. Therefore, it’s a smart idea to start collecting a box of goodies for art and craft days. Encourage the kids to delve into paints, wool, glue, paper, and foil, and get them to express their creative talents at the table. Pop down some newspaper so that they can get as messy as they like, and use up some of the energy they’d usually save for outdoors.
There are always great deals in pound shops and discount book and activities stores; so grab the sticks of glue, sequins, and craft card when you see them on special offer. You can add to the craft box all year round so that there’s a plentiful supply when the weather turns wet. Sunny days can also be crafty ones; set the kids up outside on a blanket or at the outdoor dining table so they can paint what they see, or create art from dried leaves and various things they find in the garden.
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The Sun’s Out, So Should You Be
The fun your kids will have over the summer is when they’re outside, enjoying the novelty of the British sunshine. Games and activities in your garden, your local park, or on the beach if you live coastally (lucky thing) are the ideal way to use up energy and have plenty of fun in the meantime. Visit family and friends, and invite them over to spend time with the kids in the garden too; you’ll be teaching them to appreciate people and not just material, expensive things. Any quality time that you’re able to spend with your little ones as they grow up will be appreciated, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to do so. Simple pleasures like laughter, creativity, and food will all enrich a family’s life, and they cost very little, if not nothing at all.