It is almost the start of the summer holidays in the UK and parents everywhere are wondering how to keep their kids busy for such a long time. I have compiled a list of cheap or free activities to keep the kids active and also think back to what we all played as children!
Obviously, some of these ideas will not be appropriate to the age of your children or the area you live in but hopefully will give you a few ideas, most cheap or free!
1. Go Swimming – many local pools have various different sessions during the holidays with inflatables etc. If the kids can’t yet swim then order them some cheap armbands if needed on Amazon for about a fiver!
3. Have a Disco and get dancing.
4. Make your own ten-pin bowling with empty bottles and a ball or buy a cheap set.
5. Play Hopscotch – how many kids nowadays don’t even know what it is! A pack of chalks can be bought for a few pounds and provide hours of fun!
6. Get water guns or clean washing up liquid bottles and have a water fight. Cheap or free activities like this can keep the kids entertained for hours.
7. Go to the beach for a paddle (or even a city beach as many places now have).
8. Roll down grass hills.
9. Have a pillow fight with old pillows.
10. Build a den.
11. Make an obstacle course in the garden.
12. Elastics – who remembers this? A large circle of elastic between two sets of ankles (or chairs if you play alone!) and jumping over and on them to a rhyme. You can even buy a Chinese skipping elastic now!
13. A walk along a river bank.
14. Get them doing some gardening. Perhaps buying a gardening kit for them?
15. Skimming stones at the beach or river.
16. Get a potato gun and a few cheap potatoes.
17. Sign them up for a virtual race (they do it in their own time but email evidence from a free app and get a real medal).
18. Play tag outside.
19. Roller-skating or skateboarding.
20. Get them doing some cleaning, perhaps cleaning their outdoor toys and then having a water fight?
21. Go to a local park.
22. Go to a trampoline centre.
23. Set them on a scavenger hunt. This is one of my favourite cheap or free activities for kids as they encourage exercise, education and even conversation with parents!
24. Go on a bike ride, you could always pimp up their ride first with something like this.
25. Walk a dog – if you don’t have one borrow friends?
26. Explore local footpaths and woods.
27. Walk into town instead of going in the car.
28. Visit a local attraction’s grounds, these are usually cheaper than going inside, somewhere like a castle, stately home or country park etc.
29. Fly a kite. Depending on your budget you can buy a kite for less than £10 up to hundreds of pounds!
30. Get a bucket or pot and try to get a ball into it after bouncing it first etc.
31. Play tennis or badminton with a neighbour with the fence as a net.
32. Buy a cheap fishing net for a couple of pounds and catch fish in a small stream or river.
33. Go on a nature walk and collect things like leaves, sticks and pebbles on the way.
34. Play Ackee 123 (similar to hide and seek but with a base you have to tag those you find or they have to get back to the base unseen!)
35. Set an obstacle course to dribble a football around.
36. Play some trail games like these.
37. Build dams in a stream (not sure there are many nowadays but there may be one near you?)
38. Visit a country park for a picnic or playing large snakes and ladders there.
39. Climb Trees.
40. Go for a walk to find somewhere to have a picnic.
41. Go Strawberry picking.
42. Play Curby by throwing a ball at the opposite curb aiming for it to hit the edge and bounce back (depends on the safety of the area)
43. Go rock pooling at the beach
44. Draw outside on pavements or patios with chalks. I remember being young and chalking the pavements outside my house. Cheap or free activities like this make lots of happy memories!
45. Play piggy in the middle or hot potato with a ball.
46. Go for a walk searching for bugs
47. Try out the nearest climbing centre.
48. Catch a train or bus somewhere and walk back.
49. Go ice-skating.
50. Get the kids helping to paint a fence or gate.
51. Re-enact sports day with egg and spoon etc.
52. Hula hooping.
53. Garden Gymnastics – Cartwheels etc on the grass.
54. Get a pedometer and encourage them to do 10000 steps a day.
55. Go to a local canal and help with the locks when boats come through.
56. Aim to try a new park every week of the holidays.
57. Try Geocaching.
58. Get an Eye Spy book or similar and go for a walk and award points for what they can see.
59. Go to the nearest airport and have a walk nearby watching planes. There is a lovely walk alongside East Midlands Airport we enjoy as a family.
60. Get a small trampoline and challenge them to jump up and catch a ball thrown to them etc.
61. Play football, penalty shootouts, blindfolded penalty shootouts, hands behind back goal-saving etc. it can be more than just kicking a ball around.
62. Play with a Frisbee.
64. Bend over – the one where you have to pick up a cereal box with your mouth that each round gets smaller and smaller.
65. Balloon passes between knees – you must pass the balloon to each other without using your hands between your knees and not drop or pop it.
66. Water balloon catch – don’t let them burst!
67. Speed dressing – how many items can you get on in a minute – can be adults clothes etc.
68. Dare – you can dare anything, run around the block with your sister’s hair band on etc.
69. Try out a new sport at a local leisure centre – many are offering free or cheap taster sessions over the holidays.
70. Check out local play forum play days which usually have lots of activities to join in for free!
I know some of these may be really simple and you may do them anyway but if it helps someone with a few new ideas then that’s good. I really do believe that children should have plenty of physical activity if they can over the holidays to whatever their ability is and if it’s nice weather it has to beat staying indoors doesn’t it!
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