With spring just around the corner, parents everywhere are looking forward to getting their kids outdoors, whether it’s taking advantage of the nicer weather by going on a family day trip, or just letting them burn off some energy in the garden. However, it can be hard occupying the kids and pricey to boot. CashLady digs out free things to with kids to get your Spring started.
Moneysavingexpert.com has reported that the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 is estimated at over £200,000. It’s official – children are not cheap! There’s the cost of food, clothing, school trips, and entertainment amongst other things. If you can save money along the way, then you should. After all, you never know when their tastes are going to become even more expensive.
Things to do with kids
In fact, Aviva has reported that the average cost of raising a child from the age of 13 to 19 alone is almost £30,000 with one of the top areas of expenditure being holidays and other recreational travel, more than is reported to be spent on personal tech.
So what things to do with kids can you do for free this spring which will help entertain them while keeping a lid on your family budget?
Take advantage of free kids days out in your area
There are free things to do with kids and to join in with wherever you live – you just have to find out where they are. Here, the internet is your friend. A quick search for ‘free activities in…….’ will find a heap of resources for you to use. A search for free things to do in Yorkshire found us this guide to free kids days out in Yorkshire. Very handy! Can you do the same for the area where you live?
Free family-friendly museums
Museums are a fantastic way of educating yourself and your children while being entertained. There are some amazing free museums around the UK which are worth investigating, and they are some of the best free family attractions around. If you are lucky there will be a free museum or two near you and some really can take a full day to go around and make family memories that will last a lifetime. If you’ve not been to these, then you should! The ones we recommend looking at are…….
- The Science Museum, London
- Natural History Museum, London
- National Portrait Gallery, London
- Victoria & Albert Museum, London
- Tate Modern, London
- The Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
- The National Railway Museum, York
- The National Media Museum, Bradford
- The Royal Armouries, Leeds
Many smaller museums across the UK can be free too, particularly those which are managed by a local authority. Lots of these museums run child-friendly activities during school holidays and it’s worth keeping an eye on the museum’s websites as sometimes these events are not as well publicised as they could be.
Free museums and their free things to do with kids are a fantastic option for a rainy day, of which spring has many!
Our top tip for getting the most from your family budget on free kids days out is to take a picnic where you can. Many free family attractions make money on selling you food and drink while you are there, but if you’re allowed to take your own then you should. Food and drink in family attractions can be extortionate. Even just taking your own drinks and a few snacks will save you some cash.
Make friends with your local library
Not only will your local library be a fantastic free way to borrow books, but you can also take part in family-friendly activities, such as book clubs, craft mornings, playgroups, and computer classes. These free things to do with kids are often ran during the school holidays, and you should look out for information about them on the library’s website or on their noticeboard.
Some libraries also let you rent DVDs for free or for a small fee, making your home movie night budget stretch that bit further, and for younger ones, there may also be a toy library facility so they can try out a new toy that can be swapped for another once they get bored of it.
Get in the garden
Spring is a great time to introduce your children to gardening. Even very young children can help with repotting plants, watering, and a spot of weeding, while older ones can prune or dig over flower and vegetable beds.
Gardening is an excellent way of showing your children the link between the land and what goes on their dinner plate and is an activity which while may not be completely free, can pay for itself in what you produce. You will also find that the child who yesterday would not eat their greens, suddenly finds an appetite for all things vegetable if they’ve helped to grow them themselves.
You can get free seeds and plants from various places. Sign up to newsletters from gardening companies to get news of any deals you can take advantage of, and look out for seed swap groups in your local area – Facebook is a good place to start.
Be a local explorer
Have you heard of Geocaching? It’s a fun family activity particularly for older children, where you use a Geocaching app to seek out anything from a small capsule to a treasure box which others have hidden. It’s a surprisingly exciting activity, in which the joy is finding the Geocache – if there are prizes to be swapped too, then even better! Highly recommended. All you need is a smartphone and some hunting skills.
Nicer weather means it’s a good time to re-acquaint yourself with your local park. More awareness around the benefits of outdoor exercise means that parks especially have seen a lot of investment in recent years, and many now have improved playing fields, better playgrounds, and even outdoor gym equipment you can use for free.
It can be easy to find things to do with kids in your local park. How about feeding the ducks, paddling in the pool, cycling on the paths, or simply kicking a ball around? Why not download a free nature trail checklist and do some nature scavenger hunting?
If you want to do something a bit more energetic, then check out Parkrun – free, timed 5k runs on Saturday mornings in public parks all around the UK. Many of these welcome juniors either in the main 5k run or in their own junior version. Totally free!
If you have any budding tennis players in your family, then you should also check out Tennis for Free, a community-based organisation who run free family tennis sessions throughout parks in the UK.
Get active at home
You don’t have to go far to find things to do with kids this spring. There’s lots of fun to be had for free at home. You could…..
- Grab a blanket and do some stargazing – skies permitting!
- Do some fun science experiments – there are some amazing ideas on The Royal Institution
- Put up your tent in the garden and pretend you’re on a camping holiday
- Get out the teddies and have a teddy bears’ picnic in your garden
- Get your children to make their own pizzas for lunch rather than buy them from a supermarket or from the takeaway
- Make a space rocket with junk
There are lots of free things to do with kids this Spring but some you will need to look for. Free local family events are not always promoted heavily and it’s worth signing up to email alerts or being part of in-the-know local parenting groups on Facebook. A little investigation on the internet or in local media could open up more opportunities for free family activities to keep your children occupied through the spring and the Easter holidays.