Budget Summer Holiday Activities

As the summer holidays march past we get into a sort of rhythm, and it doesn't matter if you are a parent who works outside the home, or a stay at home parent. There's a sort of mix of more costly treats, and the days that don't cost anything, or at least not very much.

But no matter how well you plan, there's still going to be a chunk of time where your ideas start to run thin. If that is happening to you then I hope you find this feature useful. These are some of the great summer holiday activity ideas I've come across, or had suggested by other PlayPennies parents. Stuff that goes beyond the standard 'spend the day at the beach' suggestions (because of course you couldn't think of that yourself). Hope they help!


If you don't already know about Kids AM at the Vue Cinemas, then it is time you did. Tickets cost just £1.75 each for both grown ups and kids. Viewings are on at around 10:30am every morning in the holidays, sometimes earlier or later depending on the cinema and whether it is showing both the 2D and 3D versions. Plus they do a Kids AM combo deal. This is a small carton of popcorn, and a soft drink or juice, for £1.50.

The Odeon Kids is similar but a bit more expensive with adult and child tickets costing £2.50 each. Cineworld offers selected viewings through its Juniors club, with tickets costing £1 each.

Actually I've found that most cinemas that do children's clubs will also offer a special food deal. But - they won't tell you. I have seen parents sold a small sized popcorn for three times the price, with the staff not mentioning once they could have got the children's version.

You can also sign up for previews and special screenings. This is a lot more hit and miss than the kids clubs run at cinemas, but it is still worth a try. Try See Film First.

London theatre

Just in case you plan on a trip, or day trip, to London as part of your holiday break, check out the Kids Week site.

From 1 -31 August, a child aged 16 or under can experience the magic of London theatre and see a fantastic selection of shows for free, plus two additional children can go at half price (per transaction), as long as they are accompanied by a full paying adult.

Children can also take part in a fantastic range of free activities and events.

National Trust

The National Trust is a treasure trove of free holiday activities if you take a look. They're usually all outside, so it might help to have wet weather gear. Take a look on their website to find out if there's anything hear you.

Hot Wheels tour

Got a little Hot Wheels fan in the house? Or a big one for that matter. Hot Wheels is touring around supermarkets putting on shows. You can find out more HERE. As far as I can see the tour dates in August are all in England.

There's a chance to meet the drivers and get a free goody bag.

Science experiments

How about making the most of the warm weather to do messy science experiments outside? The kind that involve food colouring and lots of foaming stuff so you don't want it in the house?

Stick with some of the favourites, like exploding volcanoes, putting mentos into coca cola, and a good old potato battery. Do a search on YouTube for some great guides.

Also, this is a favourite website in our house. Lots of easy scientific experiments that kids can do at Planet Science.



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