10 free things to do with children this summer

The summer holidays are fast approaching and are a notoriously expensive time for parents. Keeping the children entertained for 6 weeks can really add up! If you want some ideas for free family activities, we’ve put together a list below:

1. Visit a museum. Lots of museums now have free entry and there is bound to be one in your area. A few that we enjoy include the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester, the National Museum in Cardiff, The Natural History Museum in Oxford, and the British Museum in London. A searchable list, by region can be found here:

You just need to avoid the gift shops and take your own food to keep the cost down!

2. Play tennis. Have you been inspired by Wimbledon? Tennis For Free (TFF) is a community sports charity. The charity work with local councils, tennis clubs and coaches to provide FREE weekly coach led family oriented tennis sessions to the local communities throughout the UK. Visit their website for information on free sessions near you.

3. Visit the park. The UK has hundreds of parks in both urban and rural areas. If the weather is nice, all you need is a picnic and some outdoor games and you have a ready-made day to keep the family entertained. For a list of award-winning parks visit: Green Flag Awards

4. Woodland Trust.  You can choose from around 100 free nature-inspired activities on the Woodland Trust website. These include both indoor and outdoor activities and include lots of downloadable guides of things to make and do, depending on the age group of your children. You can also search for woodland that you can visit near to you. See Woodland Trust for more information.

5. English Heritage. If you are a member of English Heritage, you can get unlimited access to over 400 historic places all year. Moreover, you can get free entry for up to six children (up to 18 years and within the family group) accompanied by an adult at these sites. See the website for more details and for a list of places to visit.

6. Free Swim Safe sessions. This summer, Swim Safe is offering free outdoor swimming and water safety sessions for children aged 7-14. Public and school sessions are in 20 coastal and inland locations across the UK. Book a session near you and help children stay safe when swimming outdoors.

7. National Citizen Service. National Citizen Service (NCS) is a 2-4 week programme which takes place outside of term time in the spring, summer and autumn holidays and is aimed at 15-17 year olds. The programme includes activities such as canoeing, climbing and hiking followed by a team project in the community. It’s either free via a bursary or capped at £50 with all meals included.

8. Summer Reading Challenge. The Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer holidays. You can sign your children up at your local library, then they read six library books of their choice to complete the Challenge. There are exclusive rewards to collect along the way, and it’s free to take part!

9. Geocaching. Geocaching (pronounced geo-kash-ing) is a worldwide high tech outdoor treasure hunting game. It combines technology with outdoor adventure, that uses problem and puzzle solving along with map skills. It is free and the whole family can take part. See this website for more details.

10. VisitEngland. Go to their website and search “things to do” using “family” and “free” as filters for lots of inspiration by region. For example, become a butterfly expert at Cumberland House in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Sources: Parents Magazine, MoneySavingExpert

As a P.S.: Netmums has launched a free app called See-Saw that enables you to find things to do with kids, near you, wherever you are in the UK. It might be worth giving a try if you are really stuck for something to do this summer!