5 Cheap and Easy Ideas to Keep You Sane and Your Children Occupied This Holiday

August 15, 2014 by Georgina El Morshdy

How are you coping with the long school holidays?

Unbelievably, we’re already halfway through! And whilst it’s lovely having the kids at home, the long summer does present its fair share of challenges.

For example, are you finding the additional childcare responsibilities a little tricky? According to a recent study by Travelodge, More than half of parents surveyed admitted they found it stressful trying to look after their kids during the summer, with the average mum or dad booking ten days off work to cope.” (Source: Mirror.co.uk).

But it’s not only extra childcare that can make the summer a tad stressful, according to the same Travelodge study, the cost of the summer holidays quickly mounts up too. In fact, did you know that the average parent will spend an average of £1,461.39 to entertain their kids this summer? (Source: Mirror.co.uk).

That’s a lot of cash, but as a mum you know all too well how much it costs to keep your little ones from getting bored.

But is it really necessary to spend quite so much keeping your kids occupied?

The good news is that there are some sneaky ways to save money and keep your kids busy and enjoying an action-packed summer. Here are 5 tricks that work for me.

1. Virgin Active membership

Thank goodness for my Virgin Active membership!

I recently took out life insurance for my family and myself with PruProtect and as a result of the Vitality scheme I’m entitled to half price Virgin Active membership. My local club is close to my home, and I just love the extra activities they put on over the summer for the kids.

virginactiveBoth my girls can go to V Club for four hours each day. This is included in their monthly membership, meaning they can join their friends (and make new ones) whilst taking part in a host of fun activities. V Club gives me a bit of downtime too, as well as the opportunity to spend quality time with my baby.

There’s also the family swimming pool, which means we always have something we can do together.

2. The cinema

I love a good movie – even kids animations! Fortunately, my kids do too and so we love the free weekly cinema ticket we get as a PruProtect benefit. There are some cracking movies to visit this summer. We’ve already checked out How To Train Your Dragon 2, and I’ve got my eyes on Planes 2 over the next few days.

imagesIf you don’t have PruProtect and you live near Vue cinemas, Kids AM is an affordable way to take your little ones to the big screen. Whilst you won’t be able to see the very latest movies, you can get to see a recent film at a fraction of the price. You’ll find it’s ideal if you want to introduce a little one to the cinema experience or you just want to make seeing a movie that little bit cheaper.

N.B. If you’d like to discover more about the additional benefits (such as half-price Virgin Active membership and free cinema tickets), you can enjoy when you buy life insurance from PruProtect, simply read Sarah’s story.

3. Pack a picnic and get outside!

I’ve found one of the cheapest days out is to take a picnic and head to the beach, the river or the local park – whatever is in your neighbourhood. On days like these, children can have the freedom to run free – and if your kids are happy, you are happy. Sure it’s a cliché, but it’s just so true.

If you want to so something a little different whilst you’re out and about, then this fantastic list from the National Trust is well worth printing off. 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ is chock-full of ideas and activities to get you and your children inspired by the great outdoors. And because you can download a handy tick list, it’s super easy to keep track of all the fun-filled adventures you’ve enjoyed.

4. Grab your Change 4 Life 10 Minute Shake Up – it’s free

Have you seen the latest Change4 Life freebie advertised on TV? change4life-logoOr maybe your child brought home a leaflet at the end of term? If you’re yet to sign up for yours, I think it’s well worth it. We received our pack last week, and my kids have enjoyed having a play. You get 28 activity cards, a Disney themed reward chart and a 10-minute stopwatch. The pack is designed to encourage children (and parents) to get active. Simply grab a card or two and get stuck in with the activity as described.

Whilst I’m sure it won’t keep your kids out of mischief for an entire day, it’s a handy thing to keep them occupied whilst you’re packing for a daytrip or busy doing those necessary chores.

You can sign up and discover more details HERE.

5. Arts and crafts

Come rain or shine you can’t go wrong with arts and crafts.

As well as being an activity you can do together, once you’ve got your kids started on a project you may find you can crack on with those other pressing jobs that have to get done – even if the children are at home.

And if you want to hold your child’s attention that little bit longer, try something a little bit different than drawing or painting. In fact, take a look at these 20 brilliant craft ideas from netmums.com. I fancy trying the alphabet pebbles. That looks like a lot of fun.

What do you think?

What top tips do you have for entertaining your little ones this summer? What ideas can you share with other mums? Please have your say in the comments below.

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