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Top Free or Cheap Family Activites by YOU!


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In one of our recent competitions, we asked you what ideas and activities you do for free or that cost very little, that keep the kids entertained. We were overwhelmed with the amount of fantastic imaginative ideas you came up with, so here they are, all courtesy of you!

Out and About

‘We go to our local nature reserve with free parking. We take a picnic and go walking round the reserve collecting leaves and twigs etc, and talk about what we can see. Back home, we make pictures using the items we found!’ ~ Christy L Beckett

‘Pond dipping with plastic juice or milk cartons cut in half and some bread’ ~ Abigail Edkins

‘Have a family bikeride’ ~ Jenette Ogborn

‘My local National Trust property gives free entry to people who live within the same postcode area. It’s a lovely house and grounds and we take a picnic’ ~ Catherine McAlinden

‘Go to a museum’ ~ Danielle Heanes

‘Take them to the allotment/garden. Childsize tools are that expensive, it’s fun, they learn where food comes from and are more likely to try eating stuff they grew themselves’ ~ Gill Doomgerbil Colling

‘We go rock hopping, a fantastic outdoor activity for all the family’ ~ Karen Barrett

‘Outdoors water painting – pot of water, paint brush and slabs and once dried they can start all over again’ ~ Leanne Jones, Vivienne WilkesHappy children in tent.

‘Jumping up and down in muddy puddles! Or make banana dolphins or other fun sketches on them!’ ~ Carley Newman

‘Go to the library’ ~ Katy Webster, Nick Hopkins

‘Put a tent up in the garden and pretend we’re away somewhere’ ~ Ifunanya Nat Nwaiwu

‘Kids love any sort of gardening they can get involved in. On nice days, we also visit the local farms (some are free entry). My daughter also likes collecting different types of berries or nuts on our walks’ ~ Farhana Haque

‘Make a list of things to spot and then go for a walk anywhere, it can even be to go and get some milk, then marking off what we spot and counting when we get home’ ~ Kirsty Rogers

Geocaching – a great way to have some outdoor fresh air and treasure hunting with the children’ ~ Suzi Norris

‘Take them to Ashwell Springs (in Hertfordshire) with little fishing nets to catch the tiny fish’ ~ Heather May Cain

‘Make outdoor treasure hunts!’ ~ Tracey Hallmark

‘A dog walk at our local circuit and a picnic stop on the way! Lunch, dog walked and kids amused all in one go!’ ~ Kerry Brown

‘The best free activity I enjoy with my family is at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’ ~ Bryan Clark

‘A local toy shop holds free play sessions on Mondays, our local library does free story time and until a child is 1, most soft plays are free!’ ~ Amy Tidd

‘You cannot beat the park, take a picnic, bat and ball, find a duck pond and feed the ducks – great day out’ ~ Scott Lambert, Claire Samuel, Katherine De Riera, JoJo Young, Gaynor Cross, Stacey Tripconey, Clair Dutton, Stacy Elizabeth Williams, Claire Blaney, Shirley Giles, Paul Everett, Stacey Rutter, Lyndsey Shaw

‘Chalk arrows to lead people around the pavements to hidden treasure’ ~ Philippa Syers

‘Go to the dinosaur park at Crystal Palace’ ~ Chirag Patel

‘My granddaughter has fairies in my garden and we makes things out of leave and twigs for their home’ ~ Trish Ashbridge

At the beach

‘Go to the beach and make a list of things to find – seaweed, shells etc and build sand castles, dig holes, take a picnic, splash in puddles…endless fun’ ~ Hannah Allard, Laura Hughes, Tracey K Nixon

‘Search along the seashore for pebbles to take home and paint, or make pictures like this’ ~ Sheila Boundpebble pic activities

‘We go to the beach and look for rock pools, chase the tide, collect shells and pretty stones for the garden and when we’re tired or cold, we get in the car for a flask of hot chocolate and go get a bag of chips!’ ~ Tara Aspindle

In the Woods

‘New Forest with a picnic!’ ~ Lisa Spittle

‘Do the gruffalo trail in local woods. Free and outdoors!’ ~ Natasha Conley

‘We always go walking as we have some lovely woodlans by us – we can feed the ducks, look for deer and other animals, take photos, go pond dipping, collect sticks etc to make pictures from.’ ~ Maxine Partridge, Cat Marriot

‘Make fairy houses on a woodland walk. Collect twigs, leaves or whatever we can find on the forest floor, then have a competition to see who can make the best fairy house. It’s amazing how creative little minds can be – we’ve had houses with garden, tree and even a veggie patch – it’s also lovely returning and seeing them still there!’ ~ Danielle Hart

‘Picnic in the woods, playing in a park, going to a free museum, walking along the canal, chalking on the patio, planting the kids’ own flowers, collecting leaves and sticks to make pictures, painting, baking, play dough, paddling pool, crafting with the recyling – the list is endless!’ ~ Nicky Grant

‘Make use of the countryside and woods around you – there are sites such as ‘nature detective’ where you can print free downloads for bug hunts etc’ ~ Rosalind Blight

‘We go ‘bear hunting’ in the forest near us. We sometimes think we might have seen one and quickly run to our car to have a teddy bears picnic’ ~ Becca Townsend

‘We go for walks through the woods, find sticks and then turn them into puppets’ ~ Jade Simone

‘We look up different walking country routes on the internet and then go on a little drive there. There will be arrows and directions to follow which the kids love and it’s a bit of an adventure! ~ Natalies Holland

In the home

‘If the weather isn’t nice, then arts and crafts indoors’ ~ Lyndsey Shaw

‘When the weather is too horrid to be outside, we play the dress up game. Each person puts on a selection of their clothes into a box and then takes turns to pick an item to wear. The little people end up in huge shoes and oversized shirts, while adults have trousers on their heads and tiny t-shirts!’ ~ Amanda Mallows

‘Empty cardboard box = hours of fun!’ ~ Louise Kat Whittaker, Laura Morgans

‘Use pinterest to get arts and craft ideas to make your relatives things’ ~ Suzanne Gambrill

‘If we’re stuck indoors, we stick a mattress on the stairs and all the pillows and duvets at the bottom to soften the landing, then have ridonkulous amounts of fun sliding down and crawling up! Great exercise too!’ ~ Sarah Youngfree activities

‘Water play in the bathroom if we can’t get outside, it keeps my daughter entertained for hours’ ~ Vicki Hutchinson-Collier

‘ Making dens with our sofa and blankets’ ~ Tina Iacurci

‘Print pictures off the internet to colour in or bake cakes’ ~ Rebecca McIntosh

‘Make musical instruments out of rubbish. This weekend we’ll be taking apart some pallets to make toy boxes and maybe a sandpit’ ~ Bernice Snow

‘ Face painting, making stick puppets, make castles with duvets, play chase the bubbles, who can clean their room the fastest and then get a treat!’ ~ Amanda Austin

‘Me and my little man do foot painting or snuggle for me to read to him, we don’t need expensive things, just each other!’ ~ Janeve Clowes

‘Use old sheets to turn the front room into forts’ ~ Sairz Mse Eastham

‘Recycle to make craft activities’ ~ Pippa Saunders

‘My son loves drawing – you can’t beat a huge drawing pad and some crayons’ ~ Keri Jones

‘Turn up the heating, put plastic sheets all over the floor and get the paddling pool out – we have a beach party indoors!’ ~ Julie Walton

In the kitchen

‘On rainy days we bake, usually rice crispie cakes, shortbread and cupcakes’ ~ Lorraine Polley

‘We make cloud dough, similar to moon sand. You need 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of baby oil then get your hands in and start mixing!’ ~ Louisa Baylischildren cooking

‘Freeze a washing up tub full of water. Get pipettes/ straws, mix food colouring in warm water and let them watch as the different colour melt through the ice’ ~ Rebecca Lovesherfamily Merrett

‘Make pictures with cut out potato shapes’ ~ SusanEmily Jones

‘Make rainbow rice/pasta for sensory play, cutting and sticking with old magazines, playdoh, baking…’ ~ Helen Charnley

‘Get kids involved in cooking, stops them getting bored when you’re in the kitchen and promotes healthy eating as they’re more likely to eat it if they help make it’ ~ Laura Pepperday

‘Baking! Messy and fun and you get to eat the spoils in the garden together when you’re finished’ ~ Bree Lees

‘Make Salt dough’ ~ Angela Jay

‘Have friends come over and let them make thier own pizzas’ ~ Nicky Grant



About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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