Finding fun summer activities for kids during the hols can be especially stressful if you are living on a tight budget.
A family day out at a UK theme park can cost up to £400 and many of us just can’t afford to blow that amount of cash on one day.
Don’t panic, there are loads of free and cheap things you can do with your little adventurers. Everybody knows that you can save on days out using supermarket points and online discounts.
But we have come up with a list of more creative and fun summer activities for kids which will tire them out and give you that magical family time, without costing the earth.
10 Cheap or Free Summer Activities For Kids Which Won’t Break The Bank
Hide some treasure (sweets) somewhere in your garden or home and make a set of clues for each child to follow.
To avoid sibling squabbles, make sure you have a separate set of clues and treasure for each child.
Check out this guide to making a home treasure hunt on wikihow. You can even get the kids dressed up as pirates – pound shops have eye patches and you can draw on a moustache with your eyeliner pencil!
Cost: Max £5 for treasure and eye patches.
2. Free farms
Get back to nature this summer by taking your kids to a farm for free!
Commercial farm parks can cost up to £40 for a family of four but there are free farms up and down the UK where the kids can feed the animals and learn all about farming and the natural world.
Keep any costs even further down by taking your own picnic. Find a Free Farm near you using this handy guide on goodtoknow.
Cost: Max £20 for fuel and picnic.
3. Fancy dress
Scour your cupboards for any clothes, shoes, accessories and makeup you’re happy to see wrecked by sticky hands (or buy a few items from a charity shop).
Put the clothes in a big cardboard box (get the kids to decorate the box) and simply hand it over to them.
Make this activity last the day by getting them to dress up and make up a play to put on for you (and anyone else you can rope in as an audience). They can use your kitchen chairs for the theatre and create tickets to sell for 10p each.
Cost: Free, just make sure the clothes are old!
4. Make a Sock Cat
Sniff out some old socks (the fluffier the better) and set your kids to work on their own adorable sock cat using this video as a guide.
You will need some embroidery needles and thread from a craft shop (normal needles and cotton will be fine for older kids).
You can buy stuffing from craft shops but excess strips of fabric, wool or even toilet roll work just as well! Your kids’ new cuddly friend will give them hours of fun, especially on a rainy day.
Cost: £5 for needles, thread and stuffing or free if you’re using stuff from the man drawer!
5. Water lot of fun
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden and a hosepipe, you can buy a cheap water slide like this one for the rare days of hot weather.
Add a paddling pool if you have one, some cheap beach balls and water pistols (pound shop) and you have a ready-made water park!
Before the splash-fest gets underway, get the kids involved in making some homemade freezer pops to go with their water park. Check out these healthy and cheap ice pop recipes for ideas.
Cost: £20 but remember: they can use the water park over and over again.
6. Visit a Museum
Gone are the days of museums full of stuffed birds and shushing guides. Nowadays museums have plenty of fun activities for kids, including interactive displays, hands on exhibitions and educational workshops.
And the best part is many museums are free for kids across the UK. Check out this familiesonline.co.uk guide to find your nearest and their summer activities for kids.
Pack a picnic and head out with your little history-hunters.
7. Pizza party
Invite the kids’ mates round and get down to some summer tunes. You can buy some supermarket pizzas or get the kids to make their own, which is more fun and works out cheaper.
Crank up the fun with a dance competition (with small prizes) or some party games like musical statues or chairs.
You can even invest in a cheap disco ball like this one if you want to create that party mood. Guaranteed tiredness at the end of this one.
8. Forest fun
Hug a tree, build a den and hunt for wildlife in a wood or forest near you for next to nothing. Woodland Trust have endless free and cheap summer activities for kids going on in woods across the UK.
From outdoor storytelling to elf and fairy hunting, there’s something for everyone through their Nature Detectives initiative. For more info on what’s on visit Woodland Trust.
Cost: Free (depending on activity).
9. Outdoors indoors
Don’t let the ‘great’ British summer put you off camping together. All you need is a space, some chairs and a couple of bedsheets to make a tent worthy of a true explorer.
Find inspiration for your den on Pinterest and get the kids to decorate with signs and LED Christmas lights if you can find them.
Add some hot dogs and ice creams and they won’t want to leave (you can even let them sleep in their den if you have older children). As soon as the sun comes out, move the den outside.
10. Horse play
For the final holiday furlong, take the kids to your local racecourse.
Under 18s go free with a paying adult and there are loads of family race days with free kids’ activities, bouncy castles, magic shows and of course some exciting horse races! The kids can even fill in their own race cards and pick a winner (not with money).
There are 60 participating racecourses around the UK and you can find your nearest family-friendly race days at under18sracefree.com.
Cost: £10-£20 for an adult ticket (kids go free). Just don’t be tempted to have a flutter yourself…
Whatever you get up to this summer holidays, you don’t have to spend a packet. Have you got any ideas for fun summer activities for kids? Share with us here, we’d love to hear from you.
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