Summer break for the kids – without breaking the bank

posted by in Budgeting

Why not take the kids to the park

Why not take the kids to the park (thanks to Fulla T)

As a mum of two children, our guest blogger Emma knows all about having to keep them entertained on a budget. She shares her ideas on how to make the money last for the whole of the summer holidays.

It’s coming up to that time of year again, School holidays. I don’t know about you but I am always struggling to find things to do with my children. I want to find activities that are cheap or free, but I also need something that will keep my children entertained

Children are off school for 13 weeks in a year; yes you did hear me right 13 weeks.  I don’t know about you but I can’t afford to go on holiday,  So for the last 12 months I have been exploring ways that I can entertain my 2 children with no or little expense and here is what I came up with.

I searched on the internet and came across a website called Netmums. This website gave me 101 ideas for free family fun. The ideas were fantastic and with these tips and ideas the summer holidays should be over in a flash.

All the ideas on the website are put forward by mums and dads like me and you. It’s free to join and if you choose you can subscribe to their monthly news letter which gives you top tips and ideas for that month. They try and make things enjoyable for both adults and children. It’s fantastic!

Although Netmums was a good website, I wanted to try and find some local support groups.  Not everyone has access to the internet so I went up to my local council and they were able to give me a list of local support groups and activity centres that I can take my children to.

I went to a centre called just4kids. It was well worth the trip, it cost me £2 for my first child and any other child after that was £1 each.  So for £3 my children got free drinks and snacks and 3 hours of non stop activities, I even got a free cup of tea or coffee for myself!

I was concerned that when I went to the centre that I would feel a little out of place, but I didn’t.  The ladies who ran the centre came and made sure I was okay, and they introduced me to some of the other mums and dads that were there.  I felt really welcome and at ease, it felt like I had been going there for years.

If you don’t fancy taking the children to activity centres there are plenty of other activities that you can do at home, from baking to playing in the garden or going to the park, drawing, painting or even watching a film.

For the 6 week holidays that are coming up for my children, I have completed a wall chart with a list of activities that I and my children are going to do on a day to day basis.

I used a website called ichild for tips and ideas on how to make the chart. This website is free to join and they have a huge range of certificates and educational ideas and tips to help your child grow.

I got my children involved with the making of the chart and they thought it was great, they can see what they are doing each day and I found it a great incentive for them to behave themselves, so why not give it a go!

I've been working for StepChange Debt Charity as a debt advisor for the past seven years. I love doing my job and love talking to people. I am going to be honest - I hate budgeting but I do it because if I didn't I wouldn't have any money at the end of the month! Working for StepChange Debt Charity has helped me in many ways and I want to share my experiences and knowledge with other people.

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  • Nice one, Emma – I’ve not come across ichild before – it’s packed with ideas! I rather like the arts and crafts recipes from Dripak too –
    http://www.dripak.co.uk/ – click on Kids Fun.