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Summer holiday activities for kids that won’t break the bank!

(As published by My Family Care Vouchers - an online parenting site for users of the market leading childcare voucher scheme.)

  1. If you’re aged 16 and under or 60 and over you can now swim for free as part of a new Government initiative. Almost 300 councils in England are taking part in the free swimming scheme. Call in at your local pool to see if your local authority is taking part, or take a look on the Government’s free swimming website.

  2. Take the kids for some fun in the fresh air at one of Britain’s National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Find out more by visiting www.walkingbritain.co.uk which lists thousands of walks all over the country, all graded by difficulty and distance, so it is easy to find one to suit your children’s ages and abilities.

  3. Visit your local City Farm. These are usually located in urban areas, and most are free to visit. Children can enjoy getting up close to a variety of farm animals, such as goats, pigs, cows, rabbits, chickens, etc. To find out about City Farms in your local area and get information about holiday playschemes visit www.farmgarden.org.uk/ .

  4. Go camping… If you are not brave enough to actually spend the night at a campsite, then simply pitch up your tent in the back garden, grab your sleeping bags and a torch and spend a night in the open air. Children love to sleep outside and it’s a great adventure. If you don’t want to light a campfire then a disposable barbeque is just as good for toasting marshmallows!

  5. Visit a museum or art gallery for free. In London and across the UK, many museums and galleries are now completely free to visit, including London’s Natural History Museum which will be hosting an interactive Butterfly Jungle throughout the summer, the National Gallery and the Science Museum. Many museums will running special workshops and exhibitions during the summer holidays, so you are bound to find something to suit everyone’s tastes and interests.

  6. ASDA is running a community sports initiative called ‘Sporting Chance’ which gives children access to free sports sessions during the school holidays. Activities include martial arts, dance, gymnastics and football, and vary from region to region. To find out more visit ASDA’s Sporting Chance website.

  7. Find your nearest ‘pick your own’ farm and go and fill up some punnets full of local, in season produce. Kids love to be able to pluck fresh fruit straight from the tree, or to dig up fresh carrots and potatoes. Visit www.pickyourown.info to find your nearest ‘pick your own’ farm. August’s best pickings include berries, soft fruits, peas and beans.

  8. Visit your local library and let the children pick out some new books for you to read together. Children can also sign up for this summer’s national reading challenge, ‘Quest Seekers’ which promises to “ transport children into a mysterious and adventurous land where they can discover some great books and collect treasures along the way!”. By reading a series of six books over the summer, children can earn stickers, posters and other goodies, plus those who complete the quest will receive a special medal and certificate. A great incentive to keep kids reading over the summer.

Article published on MyFamilyCareVouchers.co.uk (Subscribers Only Parenting Site), July 2009

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