>How to save money in the school summer holidays

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School holidays are often a challenge for parents, how do you keep the children occupied while not breaking the bank? Here are a few quick tips to help you make significant savings:

  • Access the “What’s on” page of your local council’s website for free or reduced cost activities
  • Check websites with what’s on pages for your local area, such as www.visitkent.co.uk for an up to date list of activities in your area
  • Visit parenting sites and check out their what’s on pages, you will often find activities on there that aren’t widely advertised but are just as good as any large events
  • Check you local paper for details of activities in your area
  • Visit moneysavingexpert.com for up to date voucher codes on meals out, shopping, days out and much more
  • Tesco’s run free football skills sessions in association with the FA, for 5 – 11 year olds during school holidays. To find your nearest venue and to book visit http://www.fa-tesco-skills.co.uk/signup/step-1
  • Kids play tennis for free, with free coaching sessions through “Tennis for Free” check online at http://www.tennisforfree.com/courts.php to see if there is a court near you.
  • Kids can play sports for free with Asda’s Sporting Challenge during school holidays, for a variety of activities in your local area click here http://www.asda-sportingchance.co.uk/
  • Under 16’s swim for free. Click the link to check if your local authority is participating in the scheme: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/sport/5810.aspx
  • Search the Enjoy England website for 2 for 1, kids go free and lots of other offers http://www.enjoyengland.com/ideas/special-offers/index.aspx
  • Take a trip to the cinema, both Vue and Cineworld run heavily discounted viewings from 95p to £1 at weekends and on weekdays during school holidays. Check with your local cinema to see which film they are showing.
  • Make the most of your loyalty cards, numerous schemes including Tesco offer a discount on days out when you book through them or present your card
  • Go to the park for a go on the swings or a change of scene
  • If you do decide on a day out make sure you take advantage of any offers for family tickets rather than paying full price for each member of the family and avoid spending on food which is often expensive, take a picnic with you or eat before you arrive, saving your money for an ice cream instead.

Staying in with the children can be equally as expensive over the holidays, especially if the weather lets us down, here’s some tips to make the most of your time at home at very little cost:

  • Print off some colouring in pages for your children to use, simply type “free colouring pages” into google and you will have a wealth of colouring pages to keep your children occupied for hours.
  • Bake some cakes or biscuits, either from scratch or using a kit from the supermarket. You can often get 2 for 1’s or 2 for a £1 on many cake mixes. Even the supermarkets own reduced price range can be jazzed up with a few sprinkles!
  • Using old magazines, birthday cards etc, make a collage.
  • Get the paints out and let the children go wild creating a master piece!
  • Have a picnic, either in the garden, or on a blanket inside.
  • Buy a pizza kit from the supermarket and let the kids get messy making the dough and choosing their toppings.
  • Have a themed day, taking inspiration from another country or a favourite book or film and theme activities around that, for example you could choose Spain and get the children to learn a few very basic words in spanish, do a flamenco dance, look at pictures of the country and draw a flag, have a tapas style picnic for lunch and make paella for dinner. (And mum and dad could have a well deserved Sangria once the kids are in bed) This is a fantastic idea taken from The Diary of a Frugal Family who has regular themed days for her children which they love!
  • Plant some seeds in the garden, whether you fancy some tomato plants, sunflowers or herbs, the children will love getting messy and are more likely to try new foods if they have had a hand in growing them.
  • Have a water fight if the weather is on your side
  • For some great activity ideas on a variety of subjects, take inspiration from the list of things covered in order to get a Brownie badge, see here, you’ll find things such as making a bird feeder, making a book mark, juggling, crafting and much more

Last but not least, have fun!

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