If you’ve taken small children out for the day, you’ll know how easy it is to spend more than you planned. And that will be exactly what you want to avoid if you’ve got a tight budget while you get your business off the ground. Let me introduce you to my latest guest blogger Tamsin Oxford, writer on Playpennies.com – a UK parenting site about money-saving, with some great ideas for free days out.
We’ve all had it. The feeling that we really should do something with our kids but we’re not entirely sure what, or where, or whether we can afford it. Finding things to do with the children on weekends, or during the week, can be expensive and frustrating, especially if it’s raining or cold. The park may be a fabulous idea for those hot and sunny days but you can’t really rely on the weather doing what you want just because you have a free day.
As the Budget kicks in we’re all going to have to cut corners and stare sadly at empty pockets. It’s time for us all to take advantage of free days out and activities to help us save money.
There are loads of fun and free things for you to do with the kids, I promise! It’s all about looking in the right places and planning everything a little in advance. To start with, make sure that you pack snacks and drinks before you go. These usually cost a fortune at most venues and taking your own will massively cut down on costs.
One of the best ideas given to me by a super mum friend was to freeze a couple of plastic bottles of water the night before. Wrap them in plastic so they don’t sweat all over the nicely wrapped sandwiches and then stick them into your carry bag. They’ll keep fruit and sarnies nice and cool, and as they defrost they are a fabulously refreshing drink. Brilliant!
Silver Cross Prams have just started a new website for parents called Silver Cross Days out that is populated with ideas by parents, for parents. It’s completely free to join and you can search through the listings made by other parents to find activities that suit your tastes and location. One of the nice features of this site is the fact that they encourage parents to point out issues with venues (such as no toilets or food) so you can prepare accordingly.
Another idea is to spend a bit to save in the long term. Places like Sea World, for example, charge only £2 more per person for a year’s free entry into the park. If you hurry, you can get free entry tickets from your local Co-op for your kids (valid until 30th June) so you only have to pay for yourself (once) and your kids will go free.
Invest in a book like 501 Days Out for Kids in the UK and Ireland (you can see our PlayPennies review right here ) that outlines all sorts of activities and has loads of ideas on free things to do across both countries.
If you have older kids then consider merging your day out with something that will support their curriculum or learning. Many museums and art exhibitions are completely free and will likely entertain you all. Although if you’re taking younger kids along be sure to provide them with other entertainment (such as colouring books or toys) so you’re not harassed by the sound of, “I’m boooored.”
Finally, use Google. Just enter “free days out for kids” into the search bar and be amazed by how many sites pop up with brilliant ideas. My personal favourite is Day Out With The Kids as the search function is clever, the listings impressive, and the ability to find different activities in different locations for different age groups is a stroke of genius.
Don’t forget to pack your essentials like sun cream and snacks!