The school holidays are almost upon us – are you ready?!
I really look forward to having some much-needed downtime as a family at this time of year; everyone is usually pretty frazzled by the time we get to the end of term! But that doesn’t mean we’re going to sit around getting bored this summer; we’ve got a camping trip planned, and we’ll definitely be heading off on a few family days out.
You probably know from experience that keeping the family entertained in the school holidays can get very expensive, very quickly. If you’re looking for some inspiration on low-cost days out with the kids, here are some ideas to get you started.
An outdoor adventure exploring nature – and probably getting a bit grubby! – is one of our favourite family days out. It requires very little planning, and you can go with the flow on the day, letting nature take the lead. It also has the added bonus of being very low-cost.
Family days out exploring nature can be as simple as a trip to your local park, but do consider finding your nearest nature reserve, as these often run free or low-cost family events in the holidays. We’ve done things like pond dipping, minibeast hunts, den building and journey sticks in the past, all of which have been fantastic for helping the kids to learn about the natural world in a fun way. You can search for nature reserves near you on the RSPB and Wildlife Trusts websites.
We’ve found it’s well worth taking a picnic and lots of snacks, to keep costs down and energy levels up throughout the day. We also pack waterproofs, sun cream and sunhats – don’t forget hats for the grown-ups too, these golf caps from Function 18 are great for dads.
Try a sport together
How about getting the whole family involved in one of your favourite sports? If you enjoy golf, you could all have a go at pitch and putt, or if Wimbledon has given you the tennis bug you could head down to your local courts for a family game. We find badminton is a great option for a mixed-age group, as kids don’t need to be super-strong or very skilled to play an active part in a match.
Go fruit picking
This is a brilliant one for summer, when there are lots of different soft fruits ready to pick. It’s a great way to tempt fussy eaters to try some lovely fresh produce, and you can have a bit of a family competition to see who can pick the most or the fastest. Make sure the kids wear old clothes that can cope with the inevitable fruit stains!
Once you’ve picked your fruit, you can have lots of fun baking or making jam back at home. You can search for pick your own farms near where you live here.
This is a great way to explore your local area and keep the kids busy at the same time. Geocaching is basically a treasure hunt; there are over three million geocaches hidden around the world, and your job is to find them! You need to create a free basic account at geocaching.com or via the free geocaching app, once you’ve done this, you use your phone’s GPS to navigate to nearby geocaches. As you can probably imagine, geocaching is ideal for practising map-reading and observation skills.
Once you’ve found your geocache, you can make a note in the logbook and move onto the next one. Geocaching is completely free, so this is a brilliant way to get the family active and engaged without spending a penny.
Visit a museum
Museums are a fantastic option for bad weather days. Lots of museums offer free entry, and it’s well worth a quick online search to find smaller, more quirky museums close to where you live. This article has a good geographical spread of family-friendly, free museums in the UK.
Will you be doing any of these family days out this summer? What’s your favourite low-cost day out with the kids?