Frugal school holiday activities

in MoneySaving mums
22 replies 4.2K views

I know only just had Easter but as we really need to get debt busting, I'd like to plan the summer holiday activities now. Does anyone have any ideas of things to organise/buy now that would entertain a 5 year old as well as a 2 year old?

I was thinking of having bags by the door for impromptu days out such as park, beach, exploration, etc, which will hopefully mean no unplanned spends :D The Works and Quality Save do a lot of cheap craft activities and I plan on keeping a look out for free events/activities in my local area.

We also have an allotment so I suppose we'll be there quite often and they do actually enjoy it still. Oh and we are in Cheshire so have access to quite a lot of cities for free museums etc.
TOTAL DEBT £12,212.46/£2000 paid off
Debt Free Goal September 2017
#106 Emergency Fund £482.53/£1000


  • Have a look on groupon, some of their activities and day passes can be bought up to three months in advance, so you could grab bargains now before peak season prices hit.

    Are there any local attractions that offer season passes? At that age going to the same place over and over still entertains them.

    A large coolbag and a shed load of tupperware means you can pack all your food and snacks for the day which will save you a fortune on meals out. I even freeze yogurt tubes so we can still have ice cream even if I'm completely penniless!
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  • Mrs_ToastMrs_Toast Forumite
    450 Posts
    Thanks shell_girl. I'd forgotten about groupon deals so thanks for that. We already have lots of cool bags and will be picking up the free 17 piece tupperware set from ikea on Monday :)

    It would be lovely if some of the smaller places do season passes. I know our local history museum has a yearly family pass for £15 & we have volunteered to help them with their explorer bags.

    I think I best get a calendar and plan our weeks out :)
    TOTAL DEBT £12,212.46/£2000 paid off
    Debt Free Goal September 2017
    #106 Emergency Fund £482.53/£1000
  • do you have any forrests or cycle tracks to go on?
  • Mrs_ToastMrs_Toast Forumite
    450 Posts
    Hi KathyBerry.

    We aren't too far from Delamere Forest so plenty of walks and bike rides there. The parking/train tickets are expensive though :( luckily my mum and step dad will be moving just round the corner in the next month (hopefully) so free parking grom then on.

    We also have NT membership which runs out the end of July. We'll have to pay for DS then so I'm planning on putting a bit away each month for that. There are alot of NT properties within an hour of home that always have great kids activities
    TOTAL DEBT £12,212.46/£2000 paid off
    Debt Free Goal September 2017
    #106 Emergency Fund £482.53/£1000
  • LilElvisLilElvis Forumite
    5.8K Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Husband spotted an advert in The Sun the other week for their "perks" promotion - free admittance to Odeon kids movie screenings. They run these films on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10, and every day in school holidays. Up to 5 free tickets for the price of the newspaper to get the code, so 40p! We used it last Sunday to go and see Paddington for free.
  • Kaye1Kaye1 Forumite
    538 Posts
    Our local library always runs lots of activities in the holidays. This Easter is was a free puppet show- my LO's loved it!
  • clairec79clairec79 Forumite
    2.5K Posts
    Have you tried geocaching? my 4 year old loves 'looking for treasure' - ok today he was moaning at the end of the 4.7mile walk I took him on.

    If you have an android phone the c:geo app is free (and IMHO better than the official version)
  • TowserTowser Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    I look on Tripadvisor for our local area or places we visit/stay at. It's great and getting better all the time. Not just for holidays. It has lots of free places to go and visit just look under attractions. When we are treating ourselves we sometimes visit the good budget places such as cafes mentioned. People give lots of tips too.
  • Mrs_ToastMrs_Toast Forumite
    450 Posts
    Clairec79 I would love to take my kids geocaching but the last time we tried the ones we could find didn't have anything in them. Maybe we should try again but somewhere different.

    Towser, thanks for the tip about TripAdvisor that's a brilliant idea :D
    TOTAL DEBT £12,212.46/£2000 paid off
    Debt Free Goal September 2017
    #106 Emergency Fund £482.53/£1000
  • Catalyst Museum in Widnes is great. There is a charge, but you can stay all day and still find more to do. Season tickets are quite cheap. Spike Island is just outside. there is a picnic area and a great play area for children.

    Haigh Hall in Wigan has plenty of activities, some free, most holidays.

    Croxteth Hall is lovely for a day out with a picnic.

    Acorn Farm at Knowlsey is cheap and most children enjoy urban farms.

    Sherdley Park in St. Helens has a pet's corner - do any parks local to you have them?

    Pets At Home often do free workshops in the school holidays.

    Reel Cinema in Widnes have children's films quite cheaply throughout school holidays, not just on weekends. Cost, I think, is £1.35 per person.

    North Wales isn't far and there are beaches where you can go crabbing.

    Staircase House in Stockport is really quite interesting if you like history, and they have some activities based towards children, including dressing up.

    Walton Gardens in Warrington has animals and often holds events for children in school holidays, but you might have to book.

    Local libraries have storytimes and other activities.

    Community centres sometimes have play schemes and other activities during the holidays, but you usually have to book.

    You could make dens in the garden, with sheets over the washing line.
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