Sunday, July 31, 2016

Free and Inexpensive Activities in the First Week of the Summer Holiday

Pool, Summer, Child, Dip

I can't believe the first week of the children's summer holiday (in the UK) is over! We've had lots of fun this week and most of our activities have been either free or very cheap. Here's a round-up of what we've done this week.

Summer Reading Challenge at the Library

My 8-year old son signed up for the summer reading challenge at the library. This year, the summer reading challenge is Roald Dahl-themed to celebrate the fact that it's 100 years since he was born in 1916. It's called the Big Friendly Read which has the same initials as Roald Dahl's famous book, The BFG.

My son was keen to sign up for the Reading Challenge because he loves Roald Dahl books, especially Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He's also taken part in the Summer Reading Challenge each year since he was four.

The aim of the Summer Reading Challenge is to read 6 books in 6 weeks. You borrow each book from the library and, once you've read it, you let the library staff know and it's recorded on your progress card.

It's totally free to sign up and there are also other free activities in libraries associated with the challenge. When we visited the library this week, my son signed up for the challenge and then took part in a treasure hunt in the library, during which he made friends with another boy of his age. He also guessed the weight of a jar of sweets, which I hope he doesn't win because it was huge!!

I would highly recommend the Summer Reading Challenge. It helps children to improve their reading skills during the summer and helps keep them away from screens.

Painting Canvases and Colouring at Home

My daughter and I started painting 2 blank canvases that I bought some time ago. We also painted some wooden letters that spell LOVE and a heart shape which we plan to use to make an original wall decoration.

My son's not really into arts and crafts but he did do some colouring today! I'd been colouring butterflies in an adult colouring book and he picked it up and coloured one in. I was pleasantly surprised!

I've decided that I won't buy any new art or craft materials over the summer. We'll use materials we already have so that we don't spend anything on our creative endeavours.

Swimming at the Local Leisure Centre

I took my son and his friend swimming at the local leisure centre. We all had a fun time and it only cost £2.50 per child.

Tennis at the Local Outdoor Tennis Court

I bought a tennis set (2 racquets and 2 balls) in Poundstretchers for £5 and we went to the local council-owned tennis court and played for an hour for £3. It was good fun and great exercise in the fresh air. I'm sure we'll go again during the summer.

Activity Day at a Youth Centre

I took my son to an activity day at a local Youth Centre. He had great fun, going on the buckaroo, boxing with giant gloves, and playing football, table tennis and pool. The activity day was free. All we bought was 2 cakes from the cake stall for a grand total of 40p!

A Day Out in the City

Each week, I budget for one activity that costs more than free or inexpensive! This week, I took my daughter for a day out in the nearest city to us. Even though we spent more than we spent on the other days, we still saved money by:

  • using a Friends and Family railcard to reduce our train fare to about £5 return for both of us
  • having lunch in Greggs bakery - sandwiches and a drink for about £6 total
  • spending gift cards that we'd both received for our birthdays
We've all had a fantastic week on a low budget. How did you spend the first week of the summer holidays?