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Coping with the school holidays on a tight budget

Posted 07 April 2015

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It can be hard to keep the kids entertained in the school holidays, especially when you don’t have the money to spend on day’s out or activities.

If money is tight, it can be hard to even think about what to do with the kids in the school holidays, never mind actually do them. So, we’ve lots of ideas to give you inspiration, and if you don’t have a penny to spend, we’ve included some free activities too.*

Days out



Spark your child’s love for reading by taking them to your local library. Memberships to libraries are free and there will be hundreds of books for you and your little ones to browse through. Some libraries will put on special activities during the half term break, so if you’re not a member of your local library, sign up here and check out what’s going on near you.


D.I.Y classes


B&Q offer free D.I.Y workshops for children when you sign up to be a part of their B&Q club. The workshops are suitable for children aged 7-11 and the classes will teach basic D.I.Y skills such as drilling, gluing and nailing. Great for older kids, it’s a good way of teaching them some skills they might use later in life. To read more about these classes, click here.


Museums and art galleries … there are thousands of museums and galleries across the UK that you can take your kids along to for free. Most museums or galleries will have something to interest children, whether it’s exhibitions designed for youngsters, or activities they can get involved with. To find a free museum in your area, click here.

Sports classes


If you want to keep your children active in the half term break but don’t have the funds to pay for lessons, then you could sign up to free sports classes. Tennis for Free offers free coaching sessions to children over the age of 3, while FA skills offers free coaching sessions for children between the ages of 5-11.

Activities at home

Staying at home can be extremely cost-effective … and if the weather’s bad, it’s an even better option! If you get organised and arrange the activities beforehand, there’s loads of fun to be had! Here are a few things that you could try:




Getting kids involved in the kitchen from an early age can also be a great way of introducing them to cooking. There are many recipes that you can do cheaply, and one of the easiest is chocolate cornflake nest cakes. You’re likely to already have the ingredients for this simple recipe knocking about in your cupboards … you just need chocolate, butter, golden syrup, chocolate eggs and cornflakes. For the full recipe, click here. Supermarket value items are fine for this recipe, keeping the costs down if you don’t have everything already in the cupboard.




Kids love getting messy … we all know that, so why not let them unleash their artistic side at home? You could lay down some old newspapers on your kitchen table (or even on the floor if you’ve got laminate that’ll easily clean) and get your little one to embrace their inner artist. If you don’t have any paint or paper in the house, you should be able to pick up a pack quite cheaply from your local bargain store.


Use your imaginations


If you have little ones that love to read, then you could sit down with them and write a story together. A fun way to do this is to write a chain story. This involves each person writing a paragraph and showing only the last line to the next writer. They then have to continue the story from just that one line. Once you have finished, you should have some pretty hilarious results!


*All prices and offers correct at time of writing … 16/03/2015.

by Sarah Symons

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