Whilst you should be looking forward to a summer of fun, the long holidays can be daunting. With higher costs and organising entertainment for the kids. However, there is plenty that you can do without breaking the bank. 

Research from Turn2us reveals that over a third (36%) of parents are worried about the impact of the summer holidays on their ability to pay household bills and expenses, over two-fifths (42%) are concerned about the increased food costs.

Whatever your situation, we have some little or no cost ideas to keep you and the kids busy. Remember to use your local council, newspapers and community social media sites as a source of free events and activities.  


Use your own garden or local green space to get out and about with these nature-loving activities:  

Den building:  Use natural materials such as branches and leaves or household objects such as  clothes horses, chairs and sheets. Kids love to build dens, sparking their imagination, their den could be an intergalactic space camp or a mysterious woodland hideaway. 

Nature detectives:  Visit the Woodland Trusts Nature Detective site for ideas for all ages. Some of our favourite things to do are a colour treasure hunt, make it competitive and see who can find the most yellow, green or red items. We also love searching for items to make our own creations or magical potions.

Craft fun

Getting crafty can give you a much-needed break or provide a rainy-day activity. Crafts don’t need to be expensive, using items from around the house can be loads of fun and really get your child’s creative juices flowing.

Recycle household items: From paper plate dream catchers, cereal box space rockets, yoghurt pot towers and egg carton flowers, there are hundreds of things that can be made from items you have around the house. A visit to a local pound shop means you can stock up on glue, glitter, stickers and other craft items. 

Slime: Make your own slime, this is lots of fun and not as messy as it sounds, this UK recipe uses just three easy to buy ingredients. 

Problem Solving

Why not challenge the kids with these fun, problem-solving activities.

Treasure hunt: You can use written clues, mathematical solutions or your phone/camera to set the trail. Include small prizes along the way such as a sweet or snack or a small prize at the end to add to the excitement. 

Solve a problem: Build a grape tower or move a stuffed toy from one room to another (without touching it), these great problem-solving ideas all use objects from around the home. 

Ice Block: Freeze some of your child’s favourite characters in ice, include a few beads or pebbles, and them get them to set them free. You can do this indoors using the bath, shower or a baking tray to collect the water or outside for messy fun!

Days Out

When everyone just needs to get out of the house, you can still plan a day out on a small budget. 

Free museums: Many national museums are free, but you will need to consider travel costs. Why not look at places nearer to home that are easily accessible, reducing the need for additional spending on travel.  

Adventure trails: From country parks to town centres, there are lots of trails on offer that are free. Check out your local park or town centre to see what they can offer, or if you are feeling creative create your own. For a small cost there are treasure trails up and down the country. 

Hidden Rocks:  A fun craze, check out Facebook to see if you have a local hidden rocks group. 

Splash Parks: When the temperature soars, a splash park can be welcome relief and many are free. 

Library:  Local libraries are a great resource. Many libraries run summer reading challenges and special activities from group stories to arts and crafts.  

Fun with food

Food costs are just one cost that increase over the holidays, so why not combine it with a food focused activity.  

BBC Good Food has some great ideas from making pizza to arts and crafts that are food based.  

Have a picnic: Head to a local green space or beach or set up in your garden or living room. The kid’s will enjoy making the sandwiches and packing up the picnic basket. For an extra bit of fun, why not try some food colouring to paint faces or shapes on your sandwiches! 

The store cupboard challenge: What you can make from items that you have in the cupboard, fridge of freezer. Get the kids to make a list and you can plan a recipe together with your available ingredients.   

Other sources of information: 

Check out the links below for other sources of information for cheap summer holiday ideas and activities, from discount codes to checking on available benefits. 




If you are struggling to afford essential household items and you or your partner work in the caravan industry, you may be eligible for a financial grant. Find out more about our grants.

The National Caravan Council Benevolent Fund is registered in England and Wales under charity number 271625 at Catherine House, Victoria Road, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 1SS. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website.
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