Published on
01 August 2022

Even on a budget, there are ways you can make summer extra special for your kids. Whether they love getting crafty or getting out in nature, here are a few summer activities that they’re sure to enjoy. 

Young girl on swing

Between Universal Credit cuts, soaring energy bills and rising petrol costs, many families are seeing their budgets painfully squeezed.  

Inflation – the measure of how much prices are rising – has reached its highest rate of 40 years. And, unsurprisingly, it’s low-income families who are being hit the hardest.  

It can be hard to keep your little ones entertained during the long summer weeks at the best of times. But it can be even harder when you need to cut back to make ends meet.  

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or carer, we know that you want to make the summer one to remember for your kids. So, here are a few summer holiday activities you can do on a budget.  

Of course, some of these may involve travel costs, so might not be suitable for everyone. But most you can do from the comfort of your own home or adapt to suit your budget. 

Craft activities at home 

If your child is a little Michaelangelo or Frida Kahlo in the making, Tate Kids have plenty of arty activities to keep them busy this summer. So, grab your paintbrushes and scissors and get making! 

Art supplies can be pricey, but you don’t have to splash out to make a masterpiece. If you have glue, scissors and some old magazines, you could make a collage, with a pencil and paper you could make a continuous line drawing or you could challenge your little ones to a photography competition using your phone.  

Science at home 

Science, math and technology aren’t just something for the classroom – they can be found in everything we do. Why not spark your little one’s curiosity with these games and activities from the Science Museum Group

You could create a sturdy dome using straws and geometric shapes, watch inspiring talks about climate change, or make an egg bounce using a simple chemical reaction in your own kitchen.  

Children outside

Get outdoors 

Whilst staying at home is free, getting out can also be a relatively in-expensive aside from the cost of travel.  

So, whether you want to discover the wonders of the coast or explore magical woodlands, going on an adventure outdoors is a low-cost way to spend the day with your little ones.  

Why not see what creepy crawlies, wildflowers or trees you can spot on a nature walk with these identifying tools? Or use colouring pencils and paper to create leaf rubbings. 

Spending time in nature is a great way to boost your mental and physical wellbeing. Plus, it’s inexpensive. And if you’re stuck for ideas, The National Trust has plenty of activities to help you explore the great outdoors. 

Visit a garden  

There’s nothing quite like seeing a garden bloom into life – and it’s even better when your kids are free to roam about.  

From mesmerising flowers and winding mazes, to grand sculpture and peaceful fishponds, there are plenty of free or low-cost gardens for you to visit across the UK. And, who knows, it might just inspire your family to sow their own seeds at home! 

Explore museums and galleries 

British summer time doesn't always mean sun. If it's a rainy day and you want to stay indoors, why not check out your nearest museum or art gallery? From maritime history, transport museums and modern art, a gallery or museum can inspire the whole family. 

Many museums are free or have discounted tickets for children. Check out the best museums for kids in the UK or find your nearest free museum or gallery. 

Young boy in play park

Sports and local libraries 

Getting active is a fun and cost-effective way to keep your children and teenagers busy this summer. If you haven’t got a garden space, why not find your local park and host your very own sports day
Many local authorities also provide free activities during the summer holidays. It is worth searching your local authority or council website to see what activities they may be running during the summer months. From free theatre performances to sports and art activities, there’s likely something going on near you. 

Another free, indoor activity is joining and attending your local library. Hours of fun can be had reading and exploring what your local library has to offer. Many libraries run summer reading challenges to get your littles ones delving into books this summer. 

Farm visits 

Social farms and Gardens are a charity that bring together farms and gardens across the UK, and provide nature-based activities that improve livelihoods. From educational activities and vegetable growing, to building campfires and caring for local wildlife, there are many ways to get stuck in. You can find your local farm or garden using their interactive map

Remember, if you’re feeling stressed about money, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may be entitled to government support, help from local services or you can ask for advice from Citizens Advice.