8 ways to entertain the kids for less

With the summer holidays about to kick off, it can be difficult to come up with ideas and activities to keep the children entertained.

Child being funny

Save money here

Start a search


And that’s before considering how much damage the summer break will do to our finances.

Recent research by the Post Office shows parents spend an additional £600 entertaining their kids over the summer, and a further £146 on fuel and £101 on childcare. That’s over £800 in the space of a few weeks!

But you can avoid the spiralling cost of the summer holidays by being organised and taking a look at these eight ways to entertain the kids for less.

1. Get sporty with free football and tennis lessons

Keeping the kids active over the holidays needn’t cost an arm and a leg.

The Lawn Tennis Association, for example, is offering free nationwide coaching sessions for families, children and adults over the weekend of August 1-2.

Alternatively, the Football Association (FA) has an FA Skills Academy which offers coaching to 5-11 year olds of all abilities. Enter your postcode on its website to find the nearest session to you.

2. Take advantage of local events

Make the most of outdoor events happening in your town or city.

If you live in Bristol, for example, you might want to hunt out the 70 Shaun the Sheep sculptures that will be placed in different locations to raise money for the Grand Appeal Charity.

Finding all 70 sculptures on the ‘Shaun in the city’ charity art trail will definitely leave ‘ewe’ and the kids tuckered out.

Alternatively, if you are near Blackpool, head to the Blackpool Airshow on August 9 and 10, and watch the breathtaking seafront show completely free of charge!

3. Make your train tickets stretch further

If you’re heading for a family day out, check out some of the 241 deals you can get when you travel by train.

National Rail offers 241 admissions at a range of theme and adventure parks, gardens, theatre shows and restaurants. This includes Madam Tussauds, Chessington World of Adventures, Sea Life Brighton, Sea Life Birmingham and Cadbury World. Find out more on the DaysOutGuide website.

4. Go to the cinema

Vue, Cineworld and Odeon run kids’ film clubs at locations across the UK on weekend mornings and every day during the holidays.

Tickets cost between £1.50 and £2.50 for children under 12 (depending on location) and can be a cost-cutting solution to watching films including ‘Moomins on the Riviera’ and ‘Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave’.

5. Enjoy free theatre tickets

Throughout August, kids under the age of 16 can watch a West End show for free, and two additional children can go at half price, so long as they are accompanied by a full paying adult. Participating shows include Miss Saigon, Adventures in Wonderland and Les Misérables.

Some shows also come with activity packages - some of our top picks are The Lion King and Puppet Workshop, Billy Elliott and Ballet tutorial and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and chocolate making workshop.

It’s best to choose a range of dates to avoid disappointment. Visit the Kids’ Week website for more information on which shows are taking part.

6. Get on yer bike

Halfords is running free bike maintenance workshops over the summer holidays where children will learn how to fix a puncture and adjust a bike chain, as well as take part in general bike safety lessons.

You can find your nearest workshop by entering your postcode on Halford’s booking website.

And once they've done that, you can all head off on a cycle ride!

7. Take part in the Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge is run by the Reading Agency charity and local libraries. Children are encouraged to take a trip to their local library and take out six books to keep them entertained over the course of the summer.

Rewards and prizes can be won on the Summer Reading Challenge website and you won’t have to pay a penny to take part.

8. Take part in '50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾'

The National Trust has organised 50 activities for those under 11 and three-quarters to take part in. So why not challenge your little ones to complete all of them?

Activities include low-key garden adventures such as making a daisy chain to more ambitious pursuits such as building a raft. Find out the other 48 challenges here

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

Did you enjoy that? Why not share this article

Take control of your energy bills

Our handy tips and tools will help make sure you never overpay again

Popular guides