12:37 30 May 2013
For many, school's out and parents up and down the country will be looking for things to do and places to go to keep the kids entertained.
But, if you're looking for activities that won't break the bank, it will take some research and forward planning.
So, we've done the hard work for you and come up with some great ideas to entertain the kids for less this half term...
Free local events
It's easy to dismiss what's happening on your own doorstep, but many museums, libraries and galleries put on free and low-cost family-friendly activities during the holidays.
For example, the Merseyside Maritime Museum is holding a series of events such as 'Rummage' where children can come and search its ship for signs of smuggling, while Manchester Museum invites kids to drop in to 'nature's library' and make colourful mobiles.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the country, the V&A Museum of Childhood is offering kids the chance to take part in their Spy Kids sessions which run from May 27-31. The sessions will involve making secret agent ID cards, exploring an I-Spy trail, unlocking secret messages and storytelling.
The great outdoors
Recent research by Park Resorts revealed that 87% of parents felt their children were happy, content and full of energy when not interacting with electronic gadgets such as smartphones, games consoles and PCs.
The research also found that the parents saw varied and physical activities, particularly those outdoors, as the best mood and energy boosters.
So, this half term, get out in the fresh air - there's plenty you can do without having to spend a penny, it just takes a bit of imagination.
For example, a humble walk can be turned into a nature treasure hunt by giving the kids a list of things they need to collect, or ask them to find things on their walk that they can use to make a collage with when they get home.
If you're struggling for ideas, the Woodland Trust has downloadable play booklets with numerous ideas for woodland fun such as how to make a mud pie café, set up a play camp, make tree houses for toys and create tiny tea parties for fairies.
Or, why not brush the dust off your bikes and find a new route to try? The National Trust website has a list of family bike rides or for £1 you can get a map of the national cycle network from the Sustrans website which will allow you to find scenic, traffic-free paths and quiet roads and lanes.
Spending a day or two playing sport over the holidays isn't just fun and healthy for the kids - it can also help adults trying to get into shape.
Get a group together and buy a cheap rounders or cricket set and head to your local park. Or do some research to find out whether your local council offers free swimming for kids. For example, Leicester City Council has designated centres and times where under 16s can swim for free, just by registering for its card.
Some councils also offer kids' sports camps for a small daily fee. Oxford City Council, for example, is offering activities at various locations such as Zumba, trampolining, basketball, cricket and swimming for £4 a session or £7 for the whole day.
Alternatively, budding little footballers aged 5-11 can sign up for free FA skills training sessions in the holidays with Tesco. This coaching is designed to help kids who want to develop their ability or just burn off some energy and have fun. To find your nearest session, click here.
If the great British weather stops you from venturing out, there is still plenty you can do indoors. Vue Cinema puts on kids' films every Saturday and Sunday morning for just £1.75 (3D movies will cost £3). The Odeon also puts on kids' films on weekend mornings with costs being between £1 and £3 for both children and adults depending on the location.
Or how about getting crafty and entertaining the kids by spending a day making things? For inspiration, check out Channel 4's website where you can get step-by-step instructions on making things including a papier mache dinosaur, an egg cosy, a yo-yo necklace and even a scarecrow.
Another option that little ones will love is getting messy with a spot of baking. The BBC Good Food channel is packed full of easy recipes for children such as triple chocolate cookies, sugared scones and peppermint candy biscuits. And the best bit is you can munch on your creations at the end!
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside
A good old-fashioned day out at the seaside will provide hours of fun. The kids will love building sandcastles and having donkey rides, finding shells and exploring rock pools. For more inspiration, our video showcases all the great things available to do by the sea.
Grab a voucher
If you do fancy treating the family to a day out but are worried about the cost, always make sure that you look for money-off vouchers and deals - why pay full price if you don't have to?
MoneySupermarket, for example, has a number of great offers available for half term including a three-for-two offeron admission prices at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, 10% off bookings at GoApe where you can enjoy swinging through the trees, 30% off admissions at Pleasure Island in Cleethorpes, 20% off entry to Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire and 20% off admission to Blue Reef Aquariums.
If you don't have any luck finding a voucher for your chosen attraction, take a look at their own site to see if there are any online or early booking discounts available.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.
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