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I'm a Parenting Coach: Here's 8 ways to cut costs in the summer holidays

Worried about financing your kids' long school break? Fun doesn't need to cost a fortune…


Kids having water fight against dad in garden© istock
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
July 4, 2023
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The summer holidays are nearly upon us and while the long school break is a time for children to unwind and enjoy being with family and friends, it can also be pricey for parents - all those days out and endless snacks really add up.

A new poll by Reassured Life Insurance has revealed that 75% of UK parents are worried about the costs of the school holidays, with 36% of parents taking up extra hours to afford the expense of the summer break.

Below, Parenting Coach Isobel Mary Champion shares her tips for cutting costs during the school holidays:

1. Explore different environments for a day trip

Exploring different places on your doorstep can be a great adventure and create lasting memories, all whilst keeping costs in check. Why not research local rivers, hills, lakes or beaches, where you can pack a picnic and spend the day in the free outdoors. 

Friends enjoying warm sunny day with soap bubbles
Friends enjoying warm sunny day with soap bubbles

MORE:  12 screen-free activities to keep kids busy on plane journeys 

2. Make the most of free local activities

Look for opportunities to visit local museums, art galleries, farmers markets, adventure playgrounds, and 'splash pads' (large communal paddling pools). Also, keep an eye out for any kind of free concerts, events, or fetes happening in your area – there are usually lots going on during the holidays.

3. Get down on your child's level and see the wonder in simple things

Young children are often fascinated by activities such as going to an airport and watching planes take off, going to a railway station and watching trains pass through, or going to a river or canal and looking at the boats. How about taking a bus, train, or riverboat ride?

4. Explore the sensory experiences of nature

Consider camping outdoors overnight, even if it's just in your back garden. Light a bonfire or fire pit for a cozy evening and enjoy s'mores. Cook and eat outdoors, swim or paddle in a natural water source, dig in the earth and look for bugs, or plant seeds. 

You can also visit a local fruit farm, pick your own fruit, vegetables, or herbs, and then bake with them in the kitchen.

Children enjoying an ice cream© Rawpixel
Children enjoying an ice cream

MORE:  What to do if your child gets lost this summer and top prevention tips 

5. Opt for a 'stay-cation' at home

Switch bedrooms for a total refresh and revamp, or clear out your cellar or attic space to create a new cool kid's den. Cook your own version of restaurant favorites instead of eating out. 

Have a movie night with popcorn and make pretend tickets instead of going to the cinema. Make your own no-churn ice cream, fruit-juice lollies, and sorbets to satisfy your summer craving for cold treats. 

Organise play dates with other kids, regardless of age, as all children really need to entertain them is other kids.

6.     Create a ‘fake away’ with the whole family

Food costs considerably impact parents during the school holidays, so instead of forking out for their favourite takeaway, why not create your own ‘fake away’ at home? 

Instead of a takeout pizza, how about making pizzas together and adding your toppings? This is also a way of keeping meals healthy; you could add their favourite veggies to the pizza and have a side salad.

 MORE:  Best swimwear for girls: Top styles for babies and toddlers 

7.     Take part in a car boot sale 

Why not have fun with your kids by having a clear out of their clothes, games, and toys that they no longer use, and sell them at a car boot sale to give your kids some extra pocket money? This is also a great way for educating your kids on finances.

8.     Join local Facebook groups

Join local community Facebook groups so you can keep you updated on what’s going on in your local area during the school holidays. There might be a local fair or play park that you’ve never heard about.

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