Whoever said entertaining their kids during school holidays is a stressful and expensive experience has clearly never read this blog post.
Just kidding, well, sort of — I mean, we definitely aren’t kid experts but we do know ways to save a couple of quid! And the entertainment definitely doesn’t have to be one-sided. We have a few ideas we think you’ll get a kick out of too. So, here’s some of our favourite thrifty things you can do with your children over school holidays that you’ll both enjoy.
1. Attennnn-tion! Reporting for duty!
Turn house cleaning into a fun game by having your kids “report for duty”. Line them up, salute, fire off your commands and discharge them to their duties. After they have each completed their tasks, run a full round of inspections — first by their peers (siblings) and then by you. Get your house cleaned for free while keeping your kids entertained? Um, yes please.
2. Switch it up!
This idea is inspired by one of our favourite movies, Freaky Friday. Spend an entire day switching roles with your little one. You play the carefree child and they play the strict parent.
You’ll be surprised at the little things they remember when they try to act and talk like you. You’ll both learn some valuable lessons and gain a deeper appreciation for each other. Plus, you’ll surely experience some hilarious and heart-touching moments that will remind you just how lucky you are to be a parent.
3. Pieceless games
Board games are so last season – now it’s all about pieceless games! There are loads of games you can play with minimal materials, or nothing at all. Here are some of our favourites:
- Picture consequences – all you need is a pen and paper. Players take turns in drawing a head, a body, and a pair of legs, folding the paper over each time so the other players can’t see. The point of the game is the fun of seeing the resulting pictures. This game is best played with three or more people.
- Last letter first letter – Start the game with any word. The last letter of that word is then used to begin the next word from the next player. So if your word is ‘dog’, the next word must start with a ‘g’ and so on. You can make this harder by assigning categories, for example, ‘the words all have to be types of food’.
- Obstruction – A bit like a slightly more advanced noughts & crosses, this also requires pen and paper. You draw out a square grid and each player takes turns to mark their chosen symbol on a square. The opponent can then only place their’s in a square that’s not directly adjacent to the opponent. The game continues until one player can’t make a move.
For those of you who crave a little tech in your games, check out the app store on your phone. You’d be surprised how many fun “pass and play” games you can download for free – Charades, Noughts & Crosses and Taboo just to name a few!
4. Be tourists in your own town
There are loads of free places to visit for the day throughout the UK. These sites will often hold special events during school holidays, which adds another draw.
Go on a local adventure and take your children somewhere they’ve never been. If you’re stuck for ideas, try going on your local council’s website, where there will usually be a list of local attractions. Good places to look out for are National Trust sites, which are free and often offer good educational experience. For a more active alternative, The Wood Trust maintain beautiful forests throughout the country, which are free to enter and often have activities like nature trails and den building.
Also consider that many places that usually charge for entry may offer a discount during the holidays.
5. Throw a disco
Everybody knows that kids love to dance. Throwing a disco is a great way to both engage them creatively and get them off their little bums.
The trick here is to put them in charge. Get them to choose the theme, the playlist, come up with snacks to offer and perhaps even some recipes for some kiddy cocktails. You can really take it as far as you want – get them to decorate the house, choose friends to invite and come up with an itinerary.