Looking for Budget Summer Entertainment?
On the last day of term, an excited young person bounces out of school with visions of a fun summer full of exciting activities and visits to theme parks and zoos. They’re dreaming big, but ‘big’ might not be a word that you’d use to describe your bank balance.
Even if you spent just £5 a day on entertaining your child, you’d be looking at expenses totalling £35 per week (or £210 for the full summer break). And let’s face it, a £5 daily budget can seem very tight. After all, it costs that much to get into one soft play area. Then, there are the additional expenses associated with having two or more children.
The bigger activities – the ones that your kids might have been pinning all of their hopes on – can be hard to save up for. Alton Towers charges £175 for a family of 4 (prices correct as of May 2016), Legoland charges £148 and even the much smaller Blackpool Pleasure Beach charges £84 for a family. You certainly can’t do something like that every day, so how can you keep the kids entertained on a budget?
Enjoy the great outdoors
Perhaps the best thing about the summer holiday is that it happens in the summer, when the weather’s nicer than usual and getting outdoors isn’t quite as difficult. Take advantage. Plan walks, footballs games and bike rides through the forest.
How about a camping trip? The equipment adds to the expense if you’ve never been before, but you might even be able to borrow it or get it second hand. A pitch at a small park won’t cost a lot and will give you a change of scenery.
Use technology to your advantage
You don’t want your children sitting on their iPads all summer, but there are some apps that are worth downloading for summer activities.
A shopping list application, that lets you add photographs of each item, can be used as a handy treasure hunt tool. Take photographs of things to find, or download them from the internet, then let your children loose to tick each item off their list. This is great on a small scale at home, or on a larger scale out and about. You can even get your children more involved in the weekly grocery shop.
Put the kids in control
It can be hard to find inspiration. Have you thought about asking your children? Amongst the extremely expensive suggestions that they’re almost certain to come up with, there will be some impressive ideas that you would never have thought of trying. Best of all, since the kids have suggested them, they’re certain to like what you’re doing.
If you’ve got enough fuel in the car, and SatNav for getting home, you can even go on a mystery drive to see what you discover. Simply ask the children to tell you to turn left or right at each junction. Where will you end up?
Search for free local attractions
You might be surprised how many free activities are available in your town or city.
Libraries often run free groups and story times. Many farms have public access footpaths where you can stop and view the animals, without paying for a ticket to one of the bigger farm attractions. There are even lots of small free museums that you might not have heard of.
Ask around. See if your friends can each tell you what they’d class as their local ‘hidden gem’. You might find that your friends love places that you’ve never heard of!
Most importantly, remember that the holidays are only for a few short weeks in reality. They’ll soon be over, and life will return to normal. Good luck!