Want to keep your kids out of trouble in the holidays without shelling out the big bucks? We’ve got you covered.
If you’re a parent, the Easter break may make you feel excited, but also nervous (not always in that order). Time spent with family is worth every second. At the same time, it can be hard to keep your kids occupied for two weeks without hitting your bank account where it hurts.
Luckily, there are plenty of fun-filled activities you can do with your kids, without paying an arm and a leg. So put your wallet away, clear out your schedule and get ready to make some memories.
1. Connect with nature
The great outdoors is a go-to choice because it ticks all the right boxes. It’s free. It’s fun. It’s healthy. You’re also almost guaranteed to burn off your kids’ excess energy. The list goes on.
Set up a picnic in one of the UK’s award-winning green spaces and have a kickabout. Or, you could try one of the Woodland Trust’s free nature activities or the Canal & River trust have loads of free resources to download for young explorers.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, look up a hiking or cycling trail nearby. The National Trust even has itineraries designed for little legs.
2. Get social at an activity group
If your children are sporty types, there are several free sports training programs they may enjoy. Health benefits aside, they’ll also get to socialise with others their own age and build lasting friendships while you cheer them on.
If sport isn't on the menu then there are lots of other options for group activities. Local libraries often run reading challenges for local kids and you can search for holiday clubs run by volunteers by searching your postcode here.
3. Soak up some culture
There are free museums and art galleries all over the UK. Aside from interactive exhibits, many museums also hold special children’s events and activities during half term.
Even in places where you usually need tickets, you may still manage to get in for free. For instance, National Trust and English Heritage paid members get free family access for two adults and up to six children to hundreds of castles, heritage sites and other landmarks. Family memberships cost around £100 a year for unlimited visits.
It’s also worth checking out children’s theatre productions and performances. If you don’t mind leaving it to the last minute, you can usually find cheap tickets on lastminute.com, Groupon and other discount websites.
To do this, print a voucher from Days’ Out Guide and present it with your train ticket at the entrance booth. Don’t forget to exit the train station from a manned gate — the electronic ones usually keep your ticket. You’ll also need to show you’ve travelled to a station nearby.
4. What’s on at your local shops?
Museums, art galleries and heritage sites aren’t the only places that host kids’ activities. Many well-known chain stores host free educational children’s events throughout the year, too.
Most of these events have limited availability, so it’s usually a good idea to book in advance. You can find your closest workshop and save your kids a spot online.
5. Staying home can be fun, too
In truth, you don’t need to leave the house to have an action-packed family day.
Crafts can be a great budget friendly activity for kids of all ages. Let your kids get their hands dirty doing crafts, cooking or conducting a science experiment. There's even interactive online coding 'courses' designed especially for children.
But staying home can often be a big expense in itself when the family is around all day. If your food expenses sky-rocket in the holidays, try using the website My Supermarket. It helps you compare prices across the main supermarkets in the UK. There's also an app if you want to check on the go. For recipe inspiration, check out the site Cooking on a Bootstrap. There's hundreds of recipes designed for tight budgets. If the school holidays are a particular struggle there are options out there. The organisation Make Lunch run volunteer kitchens across the country and the Trussel Trust run holiday clubs with free dinners and can provide specialised help and advice.