With prices endlessly increasing it’s becoming more and more difficult to entertain kids on a budget. In fact, according to the Parents’ Summer Spending report (2018), summer holiday expenses have soared by 25% in the last five years, while a massive 61% of parents worry about covering the cost of their children’s entertainment. No one wants to be reeling from the shock of what a day out has cost them so at Moneymagpie we’ve put together some great cheap family activities and ways to get the best deals for days out.
Please note that while the UK is still in lockdown several of the following options will not be available. Attractions and shared spaces are expected to open again, as and when the government allows and when it is safe to do so. Please still follow social distancing rules when meeting anyone outside your household.
- Get Creative in Your Home
- Make the Most of Your Local Space and Community
- The Great Outdoors
- Free Museums and Galleries
- Use Discounts and Deals
- The Good Life Game
- More Useful Reading
Keep costs low by making the most of your home space to entertain your kids. There are plenty of activities that will use items you already own so you’re not having to spend more buying new stuff!
Baking with your kids is not only a great activity you can do altogether but you also get the added benefit of being able to eat all your creations! Look at what ingredients you already have and see if you can make something with them – BBC GoodFood is a great website with masses of free recipes that are worth checking out for inspiration.
Why not make a day of it and host Bake Off themed events? You could create competitions with different themes and challenges, or maybe pair your children up in teams with an adult or older sibling to compete against each other if they may need some supervision.
Board games are always an excellent rainy day activity but if you don’t own a few already they can be quite expensive to buy, see if a friend or neighbour could lend you one. Enter our competition to win The Good Life game!
If you want to get a bit crafty why not make your own. You could base it on an old favourite or design a new one completely and get creative with designing and decorating the board too.
If you enjoy a bit of trivia and quizzing then compiling your own pub quizzes with questions suitable for the whole family and taking it in turns to host can be an excellent way to spend an evening.
Create a Scavenger Hunt
A great activity you can play even if you’re limited to your own house, getting more creative if you have a garden or are able to use a public outdoor space. List everyday things for kids to find or get a bit more imaginative and they could hunt for something they think smells nice, or something that makes them laugh.
There’s loads to do on your local doorstep if you know where to look!
Most cities and local organisations will frequently list upcoming events such as movie nights, music and art festivals, and any community celebrations. These events are likely to always be family orientated and children-friendly with the cost of entry either low or free.
A local park or open space is a great place for a picnic, get children involved in making the snacks and then why not go for a walk first and have your picnic as a well-deserved treat afterwards.
Embrace your competitive side and host your own sports day in your back garden or local park. Why not include the egg and spoon race, a DIY hurdle race, and some sprints? You could even have a small prize for the overall winner as another added incentive.
We are lucky in the UK to be surrounded by such vast amounts of beautiful countryside, but not always so lucky with the weather. When we are having days of sunshine it’s best to make the most of it!
Beach days are perfect for embracing when the sun’s out and the bonus you don’t need to spend much either- maybe cash to buy a bucket and spade and a little extra for an ice cream. With plenty of beaches in the UK to choose from you can find the one closest to you or spend some time visiting several and exploring the local towns, too.
National Trust sites are beautiful and perfect places for easy strolls and enjoying the outdoors. Depending how much you visit, a membership may be worth considering or you can buy one off entry and under-5s go free. Bear in mind also that there are several National Trust properties that allow you to walk for free in the grounds even if you are not paying entry into the properties.
There are so many free museums and galleries across the UK which are perfect for a rainy day, and many of them organise fun and educational programs for children and families during the school holidays. Try these for a start!
- British Museum, London
- National Gallery, London
- Science Museum, London
- National History Museum, London
- National Football Museum, Manchester
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
- National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
- V&A Museum of Childhood, London
- St. Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff
- World Museum, Liverpool
- Nottingham Contemporary
- Royal Armouries, Leeds
- National Railway Museum, York
- Ulster Museum, Belfast
The awesome thing is that you can still visit lots of these places even in lockdown! Check out the gallery or museum website for virtual tours and interactive videos or talks about exhibits.
Savvy Magpies use discounts and deals at every opportunity to save lots of cash over the course of the year.
Supermarket Loyalty Points
Using your loyalty points on days out rather than using them in-store does give you a better value for money. In Tesco you earn 1 point for every £1 you spend, and in-store this point is worth a penny. By exchanging points for Clubcard Reward Partner tokens they’re worth three times the value. 500 points is worth £5 in-store, or £15 in vouchers! Sainsbury’s Nectar Partner deals vary but your points can be worth two, or three times the value as well.
Groupon offers up to 70% off and has a whole section dedicated to things to do and days out. You can browse through all their deals or search by location and what offers you can get close to you.
Worth checking out 365Tickets to look for deals on days out. Choices range from cultural and historical sites to theme parks and zoos, depending what you’re looking for. With discounts of up to 50% off, guaranteed low prices, and no additional booking or card fees, it is one of the cheapest options for tickets.
Look out for 2for1 when you go by train deals. Pay one full price ticket to get another free, it includes tourist attractions like St. Paul’s Cathedral and HMS Belfast, but it is available for some restaurants and bars as well.
If you regularly go by train to get to exciting day trips with the kids, consider investing in a railcard. A card is just £30 a year – and offers 30% off adult and 60% off child fares, for up to 4 adults and 4 children travelling together. Whopping savings!
Our competition for one lucky winner to win their own The Good Life Board Game is now live! Recommended by the Good Toy Guide, it’s aged for 7 year olds and over and is a great game for a whole family to play together. You move around the board trying to fill your garden and allotment with fruit, vegetables, and livestock, with the winner being the first to become completely self-sufficient. Find out how to win here.