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The summer holidays are imminent and while the kids maybe looking forward to it, for the adults the pressure is on. Obviously everyone loves spending time with their children – and there’s plenty of quality time to enjoy during the summer – but it can be a challenge to work out how to entertain everyone. That’s especially so if you’re on a serious budget. In fact, a recent study found that for low income families the summer holidays often entail poor childcare support, limited access to activities and food worries. Some children may end up feeling isolated if parents are out at work and many kids in low income families end up frustrated and bored. But is it possible to entertain kids over the summer on a limited budget?
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best and the park offers all sorts of benefits on a summer’s day – for no spend at all. From socialising with other kids to joining in games of football and ensuring everyone is thoroughly exhausted by the time they get home, the park has plenty of advantages. If you’re not keen on your local park then jump on a bus or walk a little further to find one that offers something new.
The summer holidays are the perfect time for a little cultural enrichment and exposing growing minds to ideas and art that they might not yet have seen. Museums and galleries all over the UK offer free entry during the summer holiday so your only cost will be lunch and transport. In London, for example, you’ll be able to visit the Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Science Museum, the Museum of London and the British Library, to name just a few.
There’s no reason why the summer holidays should be all about lie ins and lazy days. It’s also a great time for kids to learn a little work ethic – and earn some summer spending money. Depending on where you live (and how old your children are) there could be many opportunities for earning a little extra cash, from a paper round, to fruit picking, working in a shop or walking the neighbour’s dogs.
If you have children who are easily bored then it might be essential to ensure that minds are kept occupied. A creative day means getting all the creative tools – from pens and crayons through to cameras and music making software – and setting your children a creative challenge. That might be to write a story, alone or together with you, to design invitations to a summer BBQ or to create a theme song for the summer. If you don’t have the money to pay for courses and learning days, there is still a lot that you can do with what you have at home.
If Wimbledon fever grips your family this year then get your children out onto the tennis courts hitting a few balls to burn off some extra energy. You’ll find tennis events and days out all over the country and free tennis taster courses in August, as well as open days and competitions. Tennis rackets can easily be purchased second hand or you can rent one for the day instead of buying new.
Often the best entertainment for children is… other children. Play dates, shared picnics, joint bike rides and movie and pizza days with another family offer cheap solutions to ensuring that children have others to interact with during the summer holidays. Sharing time with another family can also help to solve issues of childcare with parents splitting the responsibility of looking after both sets of children and reducing the amount of time off work required.
Children love to camp. There’s something about tents and setting up a little temporary sleeping spot that generates lots of enthusiasm with kids. Camping is a great, way to enjoy a summer holiday with your children that won’t come with a huge price tag – all you need are the tents and the cost of the pitch fee. If you don’t have the time or money to travel to a campsite then camping out in the garden can be equally fun. And if you don’t have a garden, indoor camping is just as good – set up the tent, roast some smores in the microwave and sit around telling ghost stories in the dark.
Amanda Gillam is Solution Loans's General Manager and has been since 2009. She is also a prolific writer on personal finance issues, and has been quoted numerous times in articles published on 3rd party websites and in press releases. Her...Read about Amanda Gillam
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