The Summer Holidays are wonderful in some aspects but when it comes to entertaining the kids it can become a quite expensive couple of months. On average you could be spending £600 per child over the summer weeks which is just an insane amount. You might have spent money on a big holiday, or like us you are buying a house this summer, maybe you just don’t have the money at all, whatever the reason for money being tight I thought I would list some great FREE and frugal things that you can do, plus if your local to me will be adding places in Bedfordshire.
Go For A Walk/Hike
Going for a walk is Free and it gets you outside with nature. Have a look for local parks, forests and walking routes to find one that will suit you. In Bedfordshire, there are many places such as Harrold and Odell Country Park, The Embankment Gardens and Russell Park, Bedford Park, and Priory Country Park. When driving to get to these places make sure you know where to park for free as some places do tend to have parking charges.
Check out your local museums as some of them may be free entry, The Higgins, John Bunyan Museum, and Panacea Museum in Bedford all have Free Entry, plus what a great day for children to learn about history, literature, and art.
Have A Picnic
You can do this as part of going for a walk or just grab a picnic and go to the local park, river, lake, forest or even stay at home and have it in your back garden. You don’t need to spend money on the picnic, just grab a few items from your cupboards then grab a blanket and off you go.
Watch A Movie
You could have a movie day or movie night where you watch one or even more films. Why not throw in some nibbles from things you have in your cupboards or if you have been hiding that bar of chocolate from the other month, now is the time to get it out and share. Mabel and Martha love Frozen and Lady and The Tramp so it might be nice to get them sat down watching a new film over the summer.
Have a look online for some free games or activities to play on the computer, tablet or smartphone. CBeebies has games and activities for children from 0-6 years old, there are educational games, so have a look and see what you can find. Make sure the children are not glued to a screen for hours on end, but when in need it is a great source of entertainment.
Playing Outside In The Garden
It might be something that happens all the time in your house but it is something that is just so simple to do and that is getting outside in the garden. The weather has been really nice recently, touch wood, so you could always get the paddling pool out for the children to have a splash, or build sandcastles in the sandpit, you could even make up some competitive games for the older children to do.
Do Some Baking
Pick a recipe, grab some ingredients and away you go baking. Children can really get a lot out of this as they learn to make something that they might usually buy in a shop, and what more the taste testing at the end is amazing. I think I will let the girls pick a recipe each which we can all make together, therefore we get double the fun and double the sweet treats.
Use Your Tesco Clubcard Points
If you have a Tesco Clubcard then check to see how many points you have on it as you may be surprised at how much you can convert into days out. Using the points could get you a free day out, a free meal, or a free experience. I have quite a few points added up that I have not used yet so I was thinking about taking the girls, with or without Doug because he works, to go out for a Pizza, head to the Cinema or even see if I could stretch it to take them to go to Woburn Zoo. All of which would be Free depending on the points accumulated.
Use pictures or objects and hide them all over the garden for the children to find. Once they have completed it they get a treat. The girls loved my easter egg hunt so I might do something similar and have a small chocolate bar that we have leftover from Easter as the treat at the end.
Explore English Heritage
You could search on the English Heritage website for historic sites to visit, but check that they are places that are Free. I will be taking the girls along to Houghton House for a run around while I delve into the history behind the mansion.
You might live a distance away from family and friends, or they could be just around the corner, so why not pop over for a visit and a catch up with them. You could always meet halfway for a picnic at a park if you don’t want to travel too far, or you could invite them over to yours. I am thinking of taking a couple of trips to the grandparent’s house who live in the next village and have dogs that can entertain Mabel and Martha.
There are some Free outdoor activities that you can book your children onto which include Tennis, Swimming, or take part in the Junior Park Run. Age restrictions apply to each of the activities but it is a fantastic way to get the children learning and being active during a morning or afternoon. The girls are too young for any of these but it is nice to know of them when they do reach an age that they can take part.
Getting Dirty With Gardening
Children love nothing better than getting their hands dirty so why not put that to good use and get them helping out to plant things, or even get them pulling a few weeds out. We have some flowerbeds that need rescuing so this might be where Mabel and Martha can really help out.
Head To Your Local Library
Local Libraries can really help during the summer because you can borrow books, DVD’s and many run a summer reading challenge for children. There are some libraries in Bedford that are doing a Story and Rhyme Time for under 5’s running throughout the summer as well as a lego club and colouring club.
Geocaching is a digital treasure hunt that uses GPS. It is free, all you need to do is sign up and type in your postcode to find the geocaches near you. Once you have the coordinates go and hunt for the items or containers and make sure to log each find online. I have been online and there are quite a number of geocaches near me so the girls and I will be off on a digital treasure hunt soon.
I hope some of these ideas will come in handy during the summer holidays and if you have an idea for a Free activity then please share it, as I will need all the help I can get.