The summer holidays are upon us once again. Love them or hate them, they always mean one thing – kids that need entertaining. For me, summer is a great opportunity to spend quality time together as a family. The only problem is, 6 weeks of activities and big days out comes at a price. But, there are plenty of free family activities you can do both at home and out and about.
I wanted to share my ideas for frugal and free family activities that you can all enjoy together. I asked fellow parenting bloggers for their suggestions and these are my 50 favourites:
1. Build a den. Grab some old blankets and cushions and build a big den. Perfect for rainy days, or if the weather is nice, why not build your den in the garden!
2. Have a board game marathon. Take it in turns picking your favourite board games and see who wins the most throughout the day.
4. Go for a walk in the woods collecting sticks. Great for everyone to be outside. We take them home and like to paint them and use them as wands Twinderelmo.co.uk
5. Go rock pooling! Fantastic day out for all the family exploring , paddling and hunting for crabs.
6. Visit a local art gallery – pack pads, pencils and try recreating your favourite pieces. Big galleries like the Tate run events for kids all through the Summer www.bettertogetherhome.com
7. Play crazy golf. We just discovered our local golf centre has an 18 hole crazy golf course. It only cost £12 for a family of 4 (toddler got in free) but it entertained us for hours. Plus it doubled up as an exciting adventure obstacle course for the toddler!
8. Create your own crazy golf course. Don’t have a local golf centre? Why not make your own? You can pick a kid’s golf set up for around £5. Use old plastic pipes, bricks, plant pots, boxes….whatever you find to make obstacles around the garden.
9. Make your own Tin Foil River and have a duck race in the garden.
10. Make your own waterslide. If you’ve got a big enough garden, use some plastic and washing up liquid to make your own ‘Slip n Slide’.
11. Make your own pizza. My Mummy’s Pennies says kids in the kitchen doesn’t have to mean baking. Why not save yourself a job and get them to make lunch? My two love getting busy in the kitchen and pizza is one of their favourite things to make, it can be really cheap too!
12. Water fight. Buy lots of waterbombs and have a huge family waterfight! Great for those rare hot and sunny days! www.yorkshirewonders.co.uk
13. Create your own sports day. If your family are as competitive as mine, they’ll love this idea. It’s a great way to spend time together and get some exercise too! If you don’t have a big garden, head to the local park and take part in 3 legged races, homemade hurdles or come up with your own weird and wonderful events.
14. Make a Piñata. Get a few bags of cheap sweets from the pound shop and create a papier-mâché masterpiece together to contain them all. Tie it up, grab a blindfold and whack it until the sweets fall out!
15. Farm Visit. We love a trip to the farm – most cities have a city farm too and ours do great activities in the summer. www.bettertogetherhome.com
16. Play some old school playground games. Relive your childhood with games like British Bulldog, Tag and Duck Duck Goose. Your kids might even teach you some new games that you haven’t played before.
17. Nature art! Go to a wood or even just in the garden and create a masterpiece using things you can find around you. http://www.geegardner.co.uk
18. Visit your local library and sign up for the summer reading challenge. Also, take part in the summer crafts and activities that local libraries are hosting throughout the summer www.boorooandtiggertoo.com
20. Go on a bear hunt. Head out to your local park or forest and search for bears. Make it more interesting by making a list of things to spot along the way.
21. Have a Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Get the kids involved with making lunch and host your own teddy bear’s picnic.
22. Play Hide and Seek. A classic game that the whole family can join in on. Simple, free but lots of fun.
23. Get crafty. Sticker books, colouring and finger paints and always favourites in our house. http://katykicker.com
24. Make paper aeroplanes. If you don’t already know, learn how to make paper aeroplanes and race them against each other. Make it more tricky by blindfolding the ‘maker’ and having everyone else direct them on where and when to fold.
25. Geocaching. I’d not heard of this until recently but it seems to be the latest craze! It’s basically a real life treasure hunt – this fab post from Me and B Make Tea explains exactly what it is and how to do it!
26. Make a time capsule. Grab a box and fill it with things that make you all happy. It could be photos, personal items, music…whatever you like. You could all write letters to each other or your future selves and set a date in a year or two to open it up and see how much has changed.
27. Visit a Garden Centre. Some have small play areas in them, children love looking around and usually there’s a little cafe to have lunch or a cake. Https://www.talkingmums.com
28. Visit a local museum. We pack a lunch box and we’re sorted – a fun free day out! www.cecelauren.com
29. Pick Your Own. We went fruit and veg picking today. Minimum spend was only £4 per person and we had a brilliant time. http://Www.toaufinityandbeyond.com
30. Get green fingered. Get out in the garden and grow your own flowers, fruit or veg. Even if you don’t have a garden, you could grow herbs or make your own cress egg heads. Decorating the eggs or plant pots will keep the kids entertained and they can live on the windowsill.
31. Visit an animal sanctuary. Most animal sanctuaries are free to visit and just ask for a small donation. It’s nice to see all the different animals and a great chance to teach the kids about animal welfare.
32. Go Mini Beast hunting. The Mum Diaries shared her summer bucket list which has some great suggestions – my favourite is mini beast hunting. You can do it in the garden or head out to your local park. A great way to get out in the fresh air and teach the kids about nature.
33. Go for a bike ride. If you’ve got bikes, head out on a family ride to get some exercise and fresh air. If you don’t, see if your local park rents them out – often they’re not too expensive for an hour or two.
34. Feed the ducks. A walk in the park & feed the ducks is a lovely way to spend an afternoon together for free. www.theamphletts.com
35. Be a balloon chaser! You can reinvent a trip to the park by taking some rocket balloons. Blow them up and when you let them go in open spaces they fly miles into the air and all around. Lots of fun chasing them around! We got some from Amazon or eBay. Www.maidenheadmum.co.uk
36. Wash the Car. Fill up some buckets with soapy water, get the sponges out and dress the kids in appropriate clothes and let them loose on the car. Plus side for you too is to get a free car wash!
37. Volunteer. If you want to teach your children to help others or support their community, spend a day together volunteering your time to those in need. Contact local charities, animal sanctuaries or even come up with your own fundraising idea. You can also find information on where to volunteer on the Gov.Uk website.
38. Make your own kites. You don’t need lots of expensive kit to build your own kites. My Mum and her brother used to make kites from newspaper and sticks they found in the garden. We’ve used old carrier bags before too!
39. Make some street art. My 2 yr old loves creating chalk pictures in the garden on the patio – keeps her occupied for hours! http://www.sophiesnursery.com
40. Set up a home cinema. Choose something new on Netflix or a new DVD at the supermarket. To make it extra special I also make a few fake tickets, get a blackboard sign up with the name of the film, and make pop corn. Then snuggle in and watch the film in the comfort of your home! http://www.wavetomummy.com
41. Bake some buns. Get creative in the kitchen and hold your own bake off. Even if you’re not a skilled baker, cornflake buns are cheap and easy to make.
42. Host a fashion show. You could do fancy dress or get everyone to pick a silly outfit for each other. I particularly love the idea of a shoe fashion shoe suggested by Chilling With Lucas which is perfect for younger kids. I know my toddler is not the only one who is obsessed with shoes!
43. Have a party. If the kids want to play loud music, why not have your own inside boogie. Savings 4 Savvy Mums.
44. Make some music. See what instruments you can make out of household items. It could be a saucepan drumkit or maracas made from rice – just have fun making some music together.
45. Have 15 Minutes Of Fame. Most of us these days own a smartphone or video camera. Pretend you’re celebs and make your own music video or TV show.
46. Make a bird box. You could make your own bird house, feeder or even get creative by making it a challenge for the birds to release the food. You don’t need to be a skilled carpenter either…we’ve made them from shoeboxes and even lego before!
47. Make some money. Gather up your unwanted items and do a car boot sale as a family. Not only is it a great way to free up some space at home and make some extra cash, but it’s a great opportunity to teach the kids about money. You could even make it a competition to see who can sell the most throughout the day!
48. Go Day Camping. I really love this suggestion from Ankle Biters Adventures. Give your kids their first taste of camping without shelling out a ton for camping equipment and pitch fees. All you pay is the cost of food to cook on the camp stove!
49. Do some junk modelling. Save up old cardboard boxes, newspapers and even tin foil and see what you can make out of your rubbish. See who can make the most interesting sculpture or build the biggest tower.
50. Cloud spotting. Grab a blanket and head to the back garden or local park. Lay back, relax and see what shapes you can spot in the clouds.
Do you have any free or frugal activities you love doing as a family? Share your favourites in the comments and inspire others to make the most of the summer holidays!