KEEPING children entertained throughout the summer holidays can be an expensive business.
Here are 10 top tips to help ensure that the summer break doesn't break the bank.
1. Make sure you have other parents’ phone numbers before the children break up from school. A play date is the easiest way to entertain — and if the favour is returned, you might win yourself a quiet day.
2. Remember treasure hunts as a child? Geocaching is the updated version and is suitable for all ages. Download a free app such as c:geo onto your smart phone and away you go. It's like a treasure hunt using GPS, available on almost all modern smartphones.
3. Avoid the ice-cream van by making your own lollies with cheap moulds and squash/fruit juice. Freeze different colours in sessions to make stripes.
4. If you’re going anywhere for the day, take a picnic and you will avoid the expense of cafes when you are out. Refill water bottles with squash, add some crisps, sandwiches and fruit.
5. Get crafty with paper mache and card making. Find someone who knits, paints, does DIY and can share their expertise.
6. Get baking - it doesn’t have to be expensive. Buns, flapjacks and biscuits are all fairly easy and will brighten up a dull afternoon. If you don’t want to put the oven on, try putting “fridge cake” into Google.
7. Visit someone — a relative, friend or neighbour who would like some company. It will make their day and give you all a change of scene.
8. Avoid shopping as a past-time. It is not a good habit and could spell trouble for your children in the future.
9. Become a nature detective. There are lots of free printables, ideas and venues to discover from the Woodland Trust, via nature detectives.org.uk/summer
10. Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to provide a plush holiday for your family. The most valuable thing you can do is to spend time with them, even if it is washing the car together and getting soaked.
Advice is courtesy of Christians Against Poverty.