The summer holidays can be expensive. I have six weeks looming ahead with three boys who need constant distraction and amusement. Holiday clubs, days out, extra food and the moanings of ‘I’m bored’, all have financial consequences. Put very simply, we cannot afford to shell out the estimated £133 per week to keep the children amused.
Here’s a list of the best ideas to get you through the school holidays without spending a penny.
1. A countryside walk
I ran up this hill. All the way without stopping even when @musicalmisslove pulled up beside me😂😂. The running bug has bitten again. Today I managed 4.5 miles running from knebworth to woolmer green to rabley heath to old knebworth and home. Ran it in 50 minutes and didn't stop once to walk❤ boom. I wrote a post all about my new year goals including regaining my fitness and weight from earlier this year. And a few business goals too😉 link in bio. #gratitude to hubby for my new run faster trainers for chrimbo. #3positivethings 1) Did lots of blog admin today. I set up social oomph and now have my evergreen posts (there's so many good ones!) Scheduled to share on Twitter. 2) Monday mornings after school drop off is a fab time to go running. Sets you up well for the day. 3) hubby finished work early and took Dylan to footy in the freezing cold♥ . . . . . . . #runningupthathill #running #hillrunning #hertfordshire #countryside #englishcountryside #freezingcoldrun #gettingfit #mondayexercise #blogadmin #scheduling #getfit #newyearsresolution #lawofattraction #loa #gratitude #dailygratitude #thankful #positivity #lawofattractionquote #moneysaving #frugal #ukblogger #ukbloggerlife #ukmoneyblogger #bloggingyourwaytoriches #roadtonowhere
We all live close to nature, even if you live in the middle of a city. Go to the woods and create houses from trees and branches or find some green space and explore. My family lives near fields of wheat and corn and I love to walk around the edges of the fields spotting wildlife and flowers, and looking for grass snakes.
I like to write a list of 20 flowers, trees, animals and birds that the children need to search for whilst we’re out for the walk. The winner with the most things ticked gets to choose dinner or a film to watch when they get home.
Before you set off to explore, put a big bottle of water in your rucksack and fruit and energy snacks for when the kids start moaning that they’ve walked too far.
An extension to the country walk is the treasure hunting excitement of Geocaching. Check out this website for a great explanation of what you have to do. I’ve just done a quick search and there are 10 treasure spots within one mile of my house alone! I can see how recently they’ve been visited and how easy they are to find.
You’ll need to take some treasure with you to replace the treasure that you find. I am sure your kids can find a toy or gift that you no longer need to put in the treasure chest.
3. Visit a free museum
This was Taken 2 weeks ago at kings cross (and universal gave me tons of lego for boys including mini 'blue' figures). We went to see the film today. 100% loved it. Yes i cried. I really want to save the dinosaurs. It made me jump 23 times. It was awesome. Best jurassic film so far. Considering its fathers day…ive been okay. Currently lying in bed. Just about to nap to the germany world cup game. #gratitude to @universalpicturesuk For a brilliant film and for the lego😉🦖🦕 #3positivethings 1) big deal proposal sent off. 🙌🙌 2) met an interesting man in cineworld coffee queue. Gave me a few ideas and contacts. 3) cant wait for tomoz Where i get to talk MMP strategy all day with @wintonandrew and Then @thehumblepenny later on. . . . . . . . . . . . . #jurassicworld #jurassicpark #dinosaur #jurassicworldfallenkingdom #dinosaurs #fallenkingdom #cinema #movie #trex #paleontology #prehistoric #dino #jurassic #triceratops #paleoart #fossils #jurassicworldevolution #jurassicpark25 #jurassicpark25thanniversary #legojurassicworld #universalstudios #kingscross
So many museums are free, from the huge Science Museum or Natural History Museum in London to the smaller places more local to you. We love RAF Hendon. Money Saving Expert has a fab list of free museums where you search by location. In Eastern England, particularly Cambridge, we have the choice of around 10 free museums to visit and then another 20 in London. Top of our list to visit this year is the Bank of England museum where you get to learn about money and hold a gold bar.
4. Go to a splash park
We love our new pool!!! Thank you Gem and Matt!!! I have even treated the water with thd chemicals. I also love the slow-mo function on my @samsungmobile S9+. Grateful for some cloud today on jacks school trip. 8 hours at the zoo. He will sleep well tonight. To all the teachers and parent helpers you did a cracking job. #3positivethings 1) Busy morning..lots done💜 2) fab counselling session..bit zonked now though. 3) found out about knebworth twin town thing with france. House swop stylie with a town near St. Rochelle. . . . . . . . #superslowmo #slowmotion #pool #gardenpool #bestway #fastsetpool #hothot #swimmingpool #summerfun #minions #jumpinpool #poolfun #poolparty
We love a splash park in this household. Luckily, we’re surrounded by them in lots of parks, so I’m guessing it’s the same for you as well, wherever you’re reading this post. We have them in St. Albans, Stevenage, Letchworth and Royston. All very near to where we live. Just take a couple of towels and your packed lunch, and you’re good to go.
5. Do a park assault course
Fab spot of bargain shopping yesterday. These boys feet grow so quickly. Managed to get 3 pairs of new Nike trainers for £30. In total. £10 each bargain. Love Hatfield galleria for outlet shopping. Have you got any January sales bargains? #gratitude to the wonderful @emmadrewinfo. Met up for a gorg carvery lunch today to plan our blogging years. Exciting things to come. #3positivethings 1) Fab to meet Anita yesterday with our boys for soft play and lunch. 2) My octopus post, link in bio has got Such positive feedback. Love it. 3) first day back at school. I found all their bags, pe kits, books and jumpers. And got to school on time😂😂 . . . . . . . #salesshopping #newtrainers #bargain #savvyshopper #childrenstrainers #nike #niketrainers #healthykids #hatfieldgalleria #nikeoutlet #halfprice #januarysales #lawofattraction #loa #gratitude #dailygratitude #thankful #positivity #lawofattractionquote #moneysaving #frugal #ukblogger #ukbloggerlife #ukmoneyblogger #bloggingyourwaytoriches #carverylunch #blacktrainers #bluetrainers
Check out your local park’s assault course or exercise course. Our most local big park is Fairlands Park in Stevenage, which has a course of apparatus running through the fields and trees. The boys can do pole climbs, monkey bars and chin-ups. They like to compete and have me take videos of their chin-up records!
6. Free community activities
Check out the free classes at your local church, library or children’s centre. All these organisations offer freebie activities. There will be play in the park, messy play and rhyme time. Ask around in local Facebook groups or Google your local children’s centre.
7. Plan your summer with Clubcard vouchers
The boys are very keen to go to Legoland this summer. We’ve been before, and it’s amazing, especially for three boys who all adore Lego. Alas, I’m not paying full or even half price for tickets as it’s so expensive. For one adult and three boys it’s £188 for us to go with advanced booking. Yikes!
I tend to save them up, so I have a bigger chunk of vouchers to use each summer
Instead I will use my Clubcard vouchers and get four tickets from there. The tickets will cost just £63 in Clubcard vouchers. I tend to save them up, so I have a bigger chunk of vouchers to use each summer. I’m going to ensure I bring plenty of drinks, a packed lunch and snacks as we’ll be avoiding the shops! Look at your Clubcard account for lots more days out ideas.
8. Fruit picking
Left it far too late in August to go BlackBerry picking. I managed to pick around 20 and they were a bit low down (fox wee possibility). I might just chuck them😢 Alas I spotted loads of beautiful butterflies and this one stuck around for a picture. #grateful to be honest it's been a bit of a stressful day..no plans but a messy house. So I'm grateful for a glass of wine (at 4pm) #3positivethings 1) Um… wine 2) boys thought Aldi southern fried chicken was Kentucky fried chicken 3) Did PT this morning so a good exercise day. . . . . . . #butterfly #butterflies #blackberrypicking #englishcountryside #englishcountry #hertfordshire #knebworth #lawofattraction #loa #gratitude #dailygratitude #thankful #positivity #lawofattractionquote #moneysaving #frugal #ukblogger #ukbloggerlife #ukmoneyblogger #bloggingyourwaytoriches #blackberry
July-August is a great time to hit the berry farms and go fruit picking. Near me I have them all; strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, even the blackberries are starting to ripen. And, of course, you don’t have to pay for what you eat! I have a few places I know where we can go proper freebie blackberry picking or foraging so we’re going to do that. Make sure you know what a blackberry is and don’t go picking them near a road or below a metre in height (where animals might have had a call of nature).
9. Recycling box creativity
Jack is expressing himself with a blank canvas I just found in garage. I've said it can go on his wall💜😁🤤 . . . . . . #jackism #abstract #brown #daywithmummy #expression #instartist #childartist #blankcanvas #waterpaint #4yearoldart #jackart #brownsplodge #messyplay #cheapentertainment #frugality #moneysaving #creativeminds #artistic #childart
There are loads of things to do in the summer holidays at home too… you don’t have to go out all the time! I always have a craft box suitable for any given moment of inspiration. Whenever I get stuff from goodie bags or packaging it all goes into the craft box. I just let the boys go wild with creativity. There are tons of amazing printables and card models online that you could find. Only today I’ve been printing out Incredibles colouring-in pictures for some amusement whilst mummy gets a bit of work done.
Lynn James is a PensionBee customer and CEO/Founder of Mrs Mummypenny, a personal finance blog and winner of the Best Parenting and Money blog 2017.