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Top 10 Free and Cheap Activities for Kids

Girl on beach

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As a child the summer holidays were a time to relax, have fun and be occupied by your parents.  As parents the buck stops with you, and this swathe of unstructured child-time can be daunting.  But fear not.  There are a whole raft of fun and inexpensive activities to engage your mini-whirlwinds during the holidays – here are ten of the best:

 1: Visit Free Museums and Galleries

Many of the UK’s biggest and most impressive examples of museums and galleries do not charge an entrance fee.  The Imperial War Museum and The Natural History Museum in London are two fine examples.  Other museums and galleries around the country that also offer free entry include the National Railway Museum in York, and the National Museum of Scotland.

2: Go Outdoors

Visiting National Parks across the country is a fantastic way to get out and about with your children in a fresh, natural environment.  Take a picnic and make your own nature trail.  If you do not want to travel too far, explore some of your local footpaths that criss-cross the British Isles.  Local streams are also a great place to while away an afternoon, with paddling, fishing and dam building all on the agenda.

Girls in park

3: Hit the Beach

Not all beach visits have to be about miles of soft golden sand.  If you are able to get to the coast then there are many other delights to discover.  There are innumerable high coastal paths across windswept cliffs, and abandoned forts and WWII battlements to discover along Britain’s coastlines.  Close to the water you can indulge in the wonders of fossil hunting, rock pooling, and shell hunting.

4: Get Crafty

You may not be the artistic type, but children usually love mucking about with paint, glue and odds and ends that can be transformed into abstract art, kiddie-style.  A great activity for wet-weather days, investing in a few cheap and brightly coloured craft accessories can provide endless hours of fun for your children.  Outings are also a great way to collect items suitable for subsequent craft activities too.  Shells from the beach, and interesting leaves, sticks, and bark can all be used to create a nature picture, or decorate a cardboard box to transform it into a treasure chest.

5: Take Advantage of Local Authority Sports Initiatives

Most local authorities lay on sporting activities at greatly subsidised prices during the summer holidays.  Contact yours, or check online, to see what that have on offer in your area.  If nothing takes your fancy, then a trip to the local swimming pool is relatively inexpensive, and will be sure to wear out your little ones in time for bed.  For older children many local parks have play areas, and also tennis courts, where you can perhaps all learn a new skill and test your competitive mettle at the same time.

Kids holiday football

6: Tickle your Taste Buds

Kids love to cook, and there are simple recipes galore available free on the internet. Biscuits, cakes and even sweets can all be made easily, and blind taste tests are a wonderful and fun way to get children interested in food.

7: Access your Inner BookWorm

Local libraries often host initiatives designed to stimulate children’s interest in books.  Story sessions, reading rooms, and story-themed craft events are all popular with children, and have the added benefit of generating an interest in reading that will serve them well throughout life.

8: Get 50% off Top Attractions Going by Train

Rail companies are always keen to boost sales, and often run offers that encompass both travel to, and admission for, some of the big name attractions across the country.  2 for 1 offers are particularly common.  As a slightly more costly treat this can be something to look forward to if planned ahead.

out of school childcare

9: Kids Go Free

There are initiatives like this for all kinds of activities across the UK.  The basic premise is that a child goes free when accompanied by a paying adult.  This type of outing is ideal for family days out where Mum and Dad are catered for too.

10: Take a Bus

Day Bus Passes are available from most local services.  Allow older children to select the route, stops and changes – within reason! – and see where you end up.  This type of magical mystery tour can feel like a real adventure, and helps teach your kids about independence and decision-making.



About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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