We know it can be costly amusing kids so we’ve come up with 10 ideas for you that won’t break the bank. Here are 10 Diverting Days Out with the Kids for Under a Tenner (per person):
#1. Go for a Picnic
Pack up a picnic (here’s our Perfect Picnic Checklist!) and head off for the day with the kids. We love to picnic in different places: the beach, a park, a forest, by a river. (Be safe while near water with kids)
Many attractions also have picnic areas on their grounds so even if you can’t afford to pay to visit them, you can enjoy some of their amenities.
Bring along some outdoor games to play after food, e.g. rounders, a kite, or even a ball to play DONKEY or football. You could also have a Scavenger Hunt planned for extra fun.
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#2. Head to the Beach
Unless the weather is particularly atrocious, we often go to the beach for an outing. In fact, it’s even easier in winter time as you won’t be swimming or paddling, but you can still enjoy the beach.There’s so much to amuse, from beach-combing to making a mermaid in the sand out of stones, shells and seaweed.
Why not finish the day off with an ice-cream on the way back to the car?
Here are ideas for 50 interesting things to do at the beach with kids and our Beach Scavenger Hunt list is fun to try too. Check out our Summer Beach Checklist before you go to save running back into the house a few times!
Top tips: bring towels (even winter beach visits can end up with wet sandy hands), talc for easy removal of sand from feet if it’s warmer weather, and wet wipes are always handy for cleaning up before you climb back in the car.
#3. Go on a Town or City Walking Tour
Rick Steves, the travel writer has free audio tours for many locations while iAudioguide lists city audio guides (many of them free) available online. TourPal is a free app available on iOS that offers free GPS based audio tours for popular cities around the world.
If you can’t find anything for your neck of the woods, then make this a cool activity with the kids by getting them to help create your own walking tour! Use an online map, pick out landmarks and make a loop route. Take a pen and notepad out with you when you first try the loop and see what you can find.
Why not try our fun Alphabet Hunt while you are out and about walking!
#4. Visit a Museum or Art Gallery
Most people have never visited their local museum, would you believe? We tend not to be tourists in our own towns or cities so take a visit and you might be surprised what you found.
One of my friends lives in a small town in England, St Neots, and the local town museum, which ordinarly I might not have considered, turned out to be unbelievably child friendly and interesting with things like the tallest man to live in the area and dressing up clothes for the kids from days gone by.
#5. Books and Babychinos
You might be used to going to your local libary regularly but how about visiting a different one for a change? (Or if you haven’t been to a library for a while, make this the focus of an outing for the kids, you’ll be amazed how excited they will get by going to a library but also to a new one they have never been to before.)
We usually combine a library visit with a visit to a nearby café for kids’ hot chocolates or babychinos afterwards for a very low cost outing.
The great thing about libraries is nowadays they are more child-friendly with separate sections for children and many run workshops and activities that are free or low cost to go to especially during school holidays.
Our local library holds storytelling for preschoolers every Friday so check with the new unfamiliar library that you plan to visit about what they have.
Tip: If you set expectations before you go into the café and plan your timing well so the kids aren’t too hungry, or share a big slice of cake together, you can avoid a big food bill.
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#6. Go Geocaching
If you’ve never heard of it before, Geocaching is a modern day “Treasure Hunt”.
You use a GPS enabled device (Global Positioning System) or an app for your smartphone such as Google Maps will work too and you go hunting to see if you can find caches.
When you log onto the Geocaching website you can search for caches near you and there will be GPS coordinates to use as well as a clue to help you locate the cache.
Take a picnic and choose a cache that is located e.g. along a trail or in a park to make it an outing.
#7. Go for a Forest Walk
We often head out there for the day with a picnic and we can even bring scooters and bikes in the back of the car as there are cycle paths there too.
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#8. Go Swimming
Your local municipal pool will have swimming sessions for families and this can be a low cost outing. Or check online for offers to bigger water play centres, Groupon and LivingSocial often have cut price deals for attractions.
We pack up the swim bag and bring along a separate bag with drinks and snacks for post-swim munchies.
#9. Go to the Movies
If you work for a big company, check with your staff and social club to see if you can buy cinema tickets cheaper through their staff benefit schemes.
Sneaky Tip: Take along a packet of sweets and a water bottle tucked into your handbag to keep the cost of snacks down. We usually buy a small or medium popcorn to share between us, also helping to keep costs down.
#10. Ride on public transport
I don’t know about you but my kids don’t get to ride public transport that often (partly because we live in a fairly rural area without much transport available). So when they get to ride the bus or tram it’s big novelty.
Many transport companies have family day saver tickets aimed at day trips so why not head off for a day of exploring or ride a bus or tram or underground route from end to end?
More tips for saving money:
1) Keep an eye out for 2-for-1 and Kids go Free offers online and in the papers
2) Always look at buying entry tickets online as you often get a discount
3) If you collect Tesco Clubcard or Nectar points from your weekly shop, check out their offers for free or reduced admission to hundreds of attractions across Ireland and the UK.
4) If you’re in the UK or Scotland, consider joining the National Trust/Scottish National Trust or English Heritage because for your annual fee (which can often be paid in monthly instalments) you get free entry and free parking to hundreds of locations around the UK. In Ireland you can get an annual pass to Irish Heritage sites.
5) Make a portable lunch at home to cut down on the cost of food and drinks when you’re out.
6) Give the kids a limit on how much they are allowed to spend that day in shops/gift shops.
Over to you now! Have you got suggestions for day trips that don’t cost the earth? Share them with us in the comments below