Budget Friendly Activities for Kids this Summer

•Features some gifted items•

There are two weeks left of the summer holidays here in the south of England, and sometimes it can feel a little like the days stretch out ahead, requiring all the money to keep kids occupied and amused.

I am fortunate to not only to have the summer with my children, but to also have both my mum and my husband off work for the duration, as they both work in schools. I have aimed to have something to do almost every day of the summer break, to avoid those meltdowns where the children complain they haven’t got anything to do.

These are some of the things we have been getting up to, and some ideas for things you could do over the next couple of weeks if you are hoping to keep costs down.

Make S’mores

We were recently sent across a Fire Starter Kit from Certainly Wood, filled with pre-cut wood and firestarters, perfect for making a little fire on the beach during our recent mini break to Wales. We toasted marshmallows and made s’mores for the first time – it was such a fun activity and the kids loved it!

Fish & Chips on the Beach

We also treated ourselves to fish and chips on the beach, and enjoyed watching the sun as it set over the water. Despite living right by a beach ourselves, we have never been down to the seaside for fish and chips before, but we will definitely be doing it again. If you are short on money, even ordering a portion of chips to share would still capture the fun, or you could pack some food from home and enjoy it down on the beach.

National Trust/ English Heritage Membership

Ok, this one does involve a cost, but it can be spread out over the year as we have done, making membership around £10 a month for a family of five for the National Trust, which isn’t bad at all when you consider how many attractions around the UK there are, many of which include free parking for members too. We joined during our break away to The Lake District at the beginning of August and have already been to several places across the country.

My mum is a member of English Heritage and has added me to this, so we have also been heading to local attractions with this membership too.

Once you are a member, you can enjoy free days out – perfect when you need to get the kids out of the house, plus many places have free entertainment and activities on for children during the summer holidays.

Woodland Walks

If you live near to a forest or wooded area, head out for a walk with the kids. I love driving out to the New Forest, which is around 20 minutes away from us in Bournemouth. There are plenty of areas to explore, and we always end up feeling amazing after getting some fresh air and exercise.


The children really enjoy crafts, and we have built up a collection of materials plus felt tip pens and colouring pencils (thanks to my brand ambassadorship with STABILO UK), which we get out when the weather is being typically British and miserable over the summer.

Trips to the Beach

Living close to the brilliant Poole & Bournemouth beaches means we can get in the car and be down beside the seaside within minutes, which is so nice. If you are local to a beach, or visiting an area which has one this summer, make sure you take a trip down, even if the weather isn’t 100% sunny as it can be a fantastic, free day out.

Make sure to pack blankets, towels or camping chairs so you have something to sit on, as well as plenty of suncream, a packed lunch and all the buckets and spades, and you can stay down there most of the day.

Make Homemade Pizzas

Fed up of cooking the same thing for the kids as they are too fussy to try new things? Why not get them involved in the kitchen to make mealtimes more interesting for them. I love getting the children in the kitchen with me when I make homemade pizza (you can see the recipe I use in this post), and they also love to help with the food shopping when I let them decide what they would like to cook with me for dinner.

Hunt for Books

I have seen a new initiative that has been set up recently, hiding books to be found by others. I believe there are similar things across the country, but our local one has a Facebook group, and encourages those who hide and find books to post and keep it going. It sounds like a lovely activity to do with your children before the end of the summer, when the weather turning colder and wetter might put the process on hold for a time.

Camping/Caravan Mini Breaks

Although it may still be out of budget for some, we have found booking short, last-minute breaks away at holiday parks in the UK has been an affordable alternative to a week abroad this summer. We have been to both The Lake District and South Wales in August, and have had so much fun making new memories as a family. You can keep costs down in self-catering accommodation by limiting the amount of meals and drinks you have out, and stick to free attractions rather than expensive tourist hot-spots.

Explore the Local Area

If you aren’t able to get away over the summer, why not be a tourist for a day in your own town? Grab a leaflet from Tourist Information and explore places you may not have visited before.

If you’re looking for days out over summer, I’ve also written about family friendly activities in the local area.

We were gifted some items featured, however all words and images are my own.

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