10 August 2021

Entertaining the children on a budget

We’ve put together some ideas for free or cheap ways to fill the summer holidays and provide activities for you and your children.

The summer holidays can be expensive when you have kids. The cost of holidays, days out and extra childcare all add up.

According to research by Compare the Market, British families will spend more than £1,400 entertaining the kids over the summer holidays.

A study of 1,000 families found that parents plan on taking kids on at least six days out over the summer holidays, but at a cost of an average of £160 for each day out, that will add up to around £960 for the average family.

We’ve put together some links on how you can find inexpensive, fun and often educational activities for your kids. Not every idea will work at every age or with every child, but hopefully you will find a few things that will work for you and your kids.

These ideas also try to tackle the balance between the amount of time you have and the amount of money you have to spend.

PCS Plus has a Things to Do section with discounts on days out, travel and holidays.

The Money Saving Expert website has 22 free (or very cheap) ways to create a magical summer for kids. The site also has a guide to school holiday deals and a public forum for submitting and sharing ideas.

The parenting site Mas and Pas has a list of 18 cheap or free activities including links to discounted cinema tickets. They also have a list of activities for toddlers and ideas for screen-free car games for when you’re travelling.

Many local museums are free to enter and run special events during the holidays. 

Look on your local council’s website. They will have details of summer activities, some of which may be specifically for parents on benefits, and others which will be open to anyone, such as ranger-led sessions in local parks or activities in local libraries.