Fun things to do

Ten summer activities for kids that won’t break the bank

Save your money and your sanity with these simple summer holiday ideas.

Entertaining children for less,

The start of the school summer holidays has officially begun… and it’s left me in somewhat of a blind panic.

Six whole weeks to keep a 5 and a 3 year old entertained.

I could take the easy route and let them spend their holiday on our family tablet or their LeapPad.

I’m pretty sure they’d love playing Angry Birds for 6 weeks, but it’s not something I want them to be doing yet. They’ve got their entire teenage years to play computer games and be unsociable.

But here’s the thing, how can you keep young children entertained without it costing the earth? Activities and meals out can quickly add up to a small fortune.

Summer activities for kids

It’s a dilemma that recognises. It’s compiling a ‘summer survival guide’ for parents and I was invited to an event to find out more.

Olivia, William and I made a day of it, stopping off at the Science Museum before heading to the event at Maggie & Rose Kensington Club.

The club was decked out with a variety of simple and inexpensive activities. We had a ton of fun and the entire day really got me thinking about fun things to do with children that won’t cost the earth.

So here is a quick list of 10 ideas (some of which are mine, some of which are thanks to for simple summer activities for kids that won’t break the bank.

Garden paddling pool or sprinkler

The thing about summer is that the weather is usually warm. It certainly has been this last week!

A paddling pool is a relatively inexpensive item to buy that will stop your children complaining about being hot and bothered. Alternatively, if you have a sprinkler, get that out and watch your children have masses of fun running through it.

Homemade play dough

This is surprisingly easy to make and will provide hours of fun.

homemade play dough, voucher, summer activities for kids

There’s a good recipe for play dough over at The Imagination Tree.


Baking doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. And of course, the messier the better!

VoucherCodes cakes, summer activities for kids
You can check out some of my recipes for inspiration.

Biscuit decorating

Another easy, if messy, idea.

Biscuit Decorating, summer activities for kids

All you need is digestive biscuits, some icing and a whole load of sweeties to top the biscuits with.

A shower curtain canvas

This is such a simple but effective idea.

Shower curtain canvas, summer activities for kids
Take one clear shower curtain, add a handful of felt-tip pens and you’ve got yourself one wipe-clean, reusable canvas.

Arts and crafts

Let your child’s imagination run wild by letting them create fun models out of discarded household items (such as toilet rolls and empty bottles, tins and cereal packets). Olivia and I made some play binoculars very easily.

Arts and crafts, summer activities for kids

You can also buy fun arts and crafts kits from specialists like Baker Ross and these can be relatively inexpensive.

Train travel

It’s amazing how much young children can enjoy riding the train and they can ride for free until the age of 5.

Train Travel, summer activities for kids

Instead of just riding your local train line back and forth, you can get some good 2-for-1 discount deals to a variety of attractions around the country if you travel by train. Check out the National Rail’s Days Out Guide for more information.

Free entry attractions

Lots of museums and galleries are free to enter. When we visited the Science Museum in London it didn’t cost us a penny (apart from a voluntary donation) and we had a great time.

A bear hunt in the woods

This is actually a game I play with my children when I’m walking them to and from school, but doing it during a woodland walk adds to the ‘atmosphere’.

Exploring Nature, summer activities for kids

The game is all about spotting random things around you. We take it in turns to chant out the following rhyme…

“We’re going on a bear hunt. I wonder what we’ll see. I see a [insert object – the wackier the better]. What can you see?”

Give it a try, it can be a lot of fun.


I haven’t tried this personally, but I know that Actually Mummy and The Muminator are big fans. It’s essentially a kind of treasure hunt and involves you downloading an app to your smartphone to help you find the ‘prize’. It’s certainly something I’d like to have a go at with Olivia and William at some point.

Exploring Nature, summer activities for kids

So there are some ideas to keep us going over the next 6 weeks. Have you got any other ideas?


  1. Some great ideas!! We have an arts and crafts box full of bits and bobs that we collect up all the time. How about a bug hunt? Get the kids to draw pictures of different bugs and then take there pictures and lists and see how many you can find, ticking them off as you go! (my little boy is a huge insect fan lol!!). Thanks for some great ideas xx


    1. I was a little worried that it might be a little ‘old’ for my two, but they loved it. We spent practically all of our time in the Space exhibition and The Garden area. We’ll definitely be going back this summer

  2. Some really fun ideas – I know a lot of parents dread the “I’m bored” lines during the long summer holidays! I’m kinda glad I don’t have to worry about that so much anymore with a 15 year old who is happy to do his own thing!!

  3. Great ideas – the summer hols can get super expensive. I hadn’t heard of geocatching till I started blogging, but I think it’s something I’d defo like to try – esp when the kids are sick of the pool and the trampoline 🙂

  4. I’d love to go on the train more with my two but sadly it costs us £5.40 just to get to the train station on the tram! I bought two paddling pools for a £1 each last year and the kids love these and being small they don’t take much water to fill up.

  5. Some great ideas — we go on bug hunts a lot (3yo an 1yo and getting messy with glue and glitter is a favourite of ours!

  6. great ideas, we already do most but the shower curtain one is a new one for me and would be perfect for my little artists. And now we have a car again I’m looking forward to getting back to geocaching.

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