Free Days Out With The Kids

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 – 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!

Creative Commons License photo credit: mkm photography

What Would You Do With £100?

Tell Enterprise Nation how you would spend £100 to boost your business and they might just give you the money! Each month from July to November they will be giving £100 each to the 20 people with the best ideas. All you have to do to enter the competition is to tell them how you’d spend £100 to start or develop your business online.

It might not sound much, but us mumpreneurs are very resourceful. It’s amazing what we can do with £100! All the details are on the Enterprise Nation website.

Amelia’s Grant for Creative Women

If a £100 grant would  help you with your creative project, then take a look at Amelia Critchlow’s 101 Bird Tales blog.

Amelia, artist and workshop leader, says

“‘Gift Grants 2010’ was an idea that came to me early this year. It is a personal initiative I wish to start, assisting creative self-starters in an arts/creative project. I am willing to give as a ‘gift’ – hence the name – £100 to an individual who has started an initiative related to creativity/the arts, but may be experiencing financial difficulties, or simply needs some money toward materials, a space, paid help, or whatever else might be needed to get a creative project up and flying.

I found it an incredible struggle trying to single parent, earn money, and find something for me, but when I did (art) and with the help I was given, I feel it has been the difference between sanity and insanity for me. Now it’s time I’d like to give back.”

To find out how to apply and if you’re eligible, check out 101 Bird Tales.

And Amelia will be guest blogging here at Business Plus Baby very soon…

Win a Home Business

Yes, you did read that right!

Following on from the post five tips for entering awards a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd have a nose around for awards I could enter. As I've not actually launched my new business yet (but watch this space!) I was looking for awards I could enter next year. But it turns out that you can actually win a business at the BT Remote Worker Awards.

If you're not currenly working from home, you could win a franchise to run local magazine 'The Snippet' worth £10,000 and runners up will win business start up kits from Kleeneze and Phoenix trading. These are the prizes for the Arise Be Your Own Boss Award.

Fancy running a drama school for children? A £15,000 Helen O'Grady Drama Academy franchise is the prize for the Helen O'Grady Special Award. There are a couple of other wards that you could enter if you're already running a businesss (Parentpreneur Award, Home Business Award, maybe the Freelance Consultant Award). I'll definitely be getting my entry in next year!

It's a bit late for me now I've finally decided which business I'm going to run, but could this could be a great opportunity for you?

Photo: The-Lane-Team