With February half-term fast-approaching, families will be looking for ways to keep their children entertained during their week off school.
Many will stay put rather than go abroad in a bid to save money, yet even if you remain in the UK, the cost of day trips, meals out and additional travel expenses can soon leave a hole in already-stretched household budgets.
The good news is, there are plenty of free activities, as well as discounts and deals up for grabs to help you keep the little ones happy during this break – without breaking the bank.
Check out what’s on offer on voucher sites
The cost of visiting several attractions during half term can soon mount up, so swat up on the vouchers on offer.
At Savoo, you can currently get reductions on days out at the likes of Legoland, SeaLife and Alton Towers.
Also remember to cut discounts and vouchers out of newspapers and magazines, and if you’ve got loyalty points stored up on either a Sainsbury’s Nectar card or Tesco Clubcard, remember you can redeem these against the cost of admission on days out.
Think beyond the major attractions
While days out at the major theme parks may sound very appealing, a simple way to keep costs down is by steering clear of these, and looking for cheaper alternatives.
National Trust properties can be a good option, as venues often offer half-term events which will keep the kids entertained for a fraction of the cost; if you plan on visiting a few times a year, annual membership can help keep down the cost.
Wildlife charities also often put on events for little ones, so log on to the website, or give them a call to see what’s happening later this month.
Go to a museum or gallery
If you want to do something cultural without having to reach for your wallet, plan a visit to a museum or art gallery instead this February.
Many of these are free and lots will have interactive exhibits.
Aside from the obvious choices such as the Natural History Museum and Science Museum in London, why not explore the World Museum in Liverpool or the National Football Museum in Manchester?
Visit the library and look at other listings
Libraries and SureStart centres will run a host of free activities for children over half-term. For details of what is on in your area, visit your local council website and go to Gov.uk/find-sure-start-childrens-centre.
Also remember to look at events listings in local newspapers and to scour the “things to do” pages of VisitBritain.com.
By opting for family-friendly activities that are right on your doorstep you can save on travel costs too.
Have fun at home
There are lots of things to do for free with children at home, such as baking and painting.
Look around the house, and you may be surprised at the number of things that can mean a fun afternoon of arts and crafts with the kids, such as egg cartons, bottle tops and bits of felt and card.
Alternatively, why not start a reading club, or spend in the garden planting vegetables or flowers?
For more ideas on activities you can do, pay a visit to the message boards of parenting websites such as Mumsnet.co.uk and Netmums.com, as these will be brimming with ideas for inexpensive ways to keep your children happy this half term.