Having kids and keeping them entertained can be expensive. From going to the zoo to visiting theme parks, you can sometimes be forgiven for thinking you need a bottomless pit of money when it comes to doing things with your kids. However, when it comes to finding things you can do with the kids this summer, you don’t need to break the bank as there are so many things you can do that don’t cost a penny!
Go to the beach
With over 10,000 miles of coastline around Great Britain, you’re never too far from the beach. Granted being in Britain you can never guarantee the good weather, but taking the kids to the beach is a great way to have a free day out. You can keep them entertained by building sandcastles, finding different kinds of shells, collecting pebbles and of course burying dad in the sand. Of course, the fish and chips generally aren’t free, but they are a relatively cheap meal. Find out about beaches near you here.
Take a trip to the park
Getting the kids out to the park can expend their energy when you need to. Parks are generally a safe environment for kids to ride their bikes, to play football or just to run around being generally crazy – a lot of parks nationally have playgrounds for children, so you can keep the young ones entertained on the swings and the slides. You can discover parks local to you and find out if there are any up-coming events by logging onto the council’s website in your area (if you don’t know it, then you can find it here).
A day out at a museum
Many of Britain’s national museums and art galleries are free to enter and are a great place to take your kids to learn about history and to find out how things work, whether it’s checking out a massive T-Rex skeleton or learning how engines work there is something for everyone at the country’s top free museums. Discover your nearest free museum on the National Museum Directors’ Council website
Find a new book at the library
Reading is a great educational activity for your kids and it is generally free to register with your local library. Find your nearest library here – most will have a dedicated children’s section where kids of all ages will find something that they’ll enjoy. Libraries are a great place for kids to learn and have fun with books.
Go on a nature walk
Getting out into woodland is a useful way to teach your kids about nature. Find some woodland near you and when you’re there, you’ll find many ways to keep the kids busy. Get them to do a scavenger hunt where they can look for different types of leaves, pine cones, acorns etc. and take them home as trophies, look for different animal footprints or take rubbings of leaves and tree bark using some crayons and a piece of paper.
Make a den
Childhood wouldn’t be childhood without making a den. Dens can be indoors or outdoors. Make one indoors with the cushions from the sofa or under the kitchen table with a few blankets, or take it outdoors and grab some bamboo or a few poles if you have them, tie them together with some string and hey presto, you have the structure of your den. It can be adorned with sheets and decorated however the kids want.
Go for a run
If your kids like running around, why not get them involved in a properly organised run. Kids between 4 and 12 can sign up for one of the many Junior Park Runs around the country. Signing up for the 2k runs is totally free for kids and is a great way of having fun when exercising.
Go on a treasure hunt
Kids love finding things. Setting up your very own treasure hunt can be a great way of entertaining the kids, whether it be around your own home (great for rainy days), in the garden or out and about in the local park. You will certainly need to make a map and get some prizes ready for them when they locate the treasure. Write your clues and work out where you’re going to leave them – you can get very creative here. Theme your hunt around your kids’ interests: dinosaurs, cars, Disney or anything else you can think of
Get the paddling pool out
In hot weather, kids love playing in the garden. Get the paddling pool out to keep them cool while they’re running around. Water is not just for cooling down though! Get the water guns, water balloons and anything else you can think of to have lots of fun getting wet on those hot summer days.
Bake a cake
Kids love cakes. Kids love getting messy. Get the kids into baking a cake or some biscuits or cookies. They can weigh out the ingredients, mix things in bowls and decorate the end results in their own style. The BBC Good Food website has a section for cakes that parents can make easily with their kids.
Have a game of I-spy
The old ones are always the best. Kids can keep themselves entertained with I-spy for hours. It’s not only a great way to pass the time in the house, it’s also a good way of keeping them entertained if you’re on a long car journey – it might keep the “Are we there yets” to a minimum.
Play a oard game
Monopoly, Junior Scrabble, Mouse Trap, Operation… There are so many different board games out there to choose from. They are a perfect option for the rainy British summer… and let’s face it, we always have our fair share of rainy days. Just make sure you pick one with the least chance of an argument – although prevention of said argument is never guaranteed. Jigsaws are a superb form of entertainment for kids too… for the older ones, try ones with more pieces to keep them going for longer!
For those of us brought up with Blue Peter, you’ll know that there are endless things that you can make with an egg box, a toilet roll holder, some glue and some googly eyes – not forgetting the pipe-cleaners of course. For tons of ideas of what to make with the kids, check out Activity Village’s list of different craft ideas.
Get arty with paints
If you’re feeling brave, why not let them loose on some painting. All that is required is a bit of paper and some paint (brushes are optional – fingers work just as well. If you can do it outside: great, it’ll save you the cleaning inside! Get them to paint pictures for their grandparents or get them to do one for mum or dad for when they get home from work. For more ideas around painting with kids, check out the Artful Parent’s website
Catch ’em all!
2016’s gaming sensation was Pokemon Go. Although it is played on a Smartphone, the game is based around your local area, and you have to get out and about to take full advantage of it. Take the kids to a safe place, such as a park, where they can walk around attempting to catch new Pokemon. One of the game’s features, Pokestops, helps you to discover places of interests nearby. You may even meet other players on your search.