The kids have been off of school for 3 weeks already and i have to say that this year the time has flown by!
Each year we dread the build up to the summer holidays. Being poor, we rarely have money to do the things that society tells our children that we need to do like jet away on holiday or visit every theme park known to man! Because of this we never really plan our summer out, not like christmas or birthdays when we have specific tasks and obligations.
This year however we spent the build up to summer (pretty much every week since they went back to school after christmas) planning, saving and generally shopping about for fun, cheap or free things to do with the kids this summer to make memories for them. And honestly i am pleasantly surprised with that we managed to get away with doing, some of which we didn’t even have to leave the house for!
As you guys know by now our children vary in ages from 4 – 16 and 2 have additional needs which makes things challenging, when we plan for things we often have to take into account things that others would take for granted like crowd size or noise levels. Also activities have to be appropriate for all of them, i.e. no toddler groups etc
My first word of advice would be to decide what you can realistically do within those 6 weeks. Do not go in with the expectation of being able to do something fantastic every day, there will be some days where watching harry potter on the sofa in your pyjamas whilst eating brownies and doughnuts is the best you will do, thats ok – make it fun, get snacks in, build a fort, get the duvets down off of the beds and sit together. We’ve watched Harry potter and a few others so far.
Secondly – Shop around for vouchers. The Sun news paper do “Superdays” which give you free tickets (limited to 2 per person) sporadically through the year. all you pay is £1.50 booking. This makes it accessible to those who would otherwise not visit these places. We have taken advantage of this to go to Thorpe Park, Chessington (i gave these to Jordans dad to take him and he sold them instead), Legoland & on the 22nd we will be visiting alton towers. Others which we missed were Sealife, Shreks adventure in london, warwick castle and a couple of others. They also offer the £9.50 holidays. I have to say at this point that these were all booked months ago so you need to do this well in advance. Also at the end of august the sun will be changing their offer system or the way they book it anyway, so it may be a case of collecting vouchers from the paper which i refuse to buy due to the hateful media printed in it!
I’d like to speak about the £9.50 holidays briefly. If you go in term time and you’re going to go to a caravan park, check direct with the park before you book via the sun, we went back in June, for a 4 night stay which cost us £140 overall. Had we of booked direct with the park it would’ve cost around half of that, even with our upgraded caravan and park passes. Often if you book with the park direct they include passes and linen free of charge. However this scheme is perfect for booking holidays during school breaks! We’d booked to go away during this 6 weeks but because Dylan has broken her arm we decided to put it off to October half term, kids will be super excited. So be careful when booking as its not always the best option
There are HUNDREDS of things to do for free around your local area, or a short car ride away. Wether it is activities put on by the locals, the council or an organisation, there will be something going on mainly these fall on weekends, especially if they’re organised by volunteers.
2 for 1 Vouchers – Cerial packets, sweets, train tickets – all of these comes with 2 for 1 entry into attractions. Be careful with these as well, some of them are insistent that the person entering on the normal price ticket pays on the day and HAS to be an adult price. others offer free adult entry with every child. Good for impromptu days out.
FACEBOOK – facebook in an awesome tool to find out whats going on in your local area, wether its the cinema doing a kids showing of a film for cheap (our local one does all tickets kids price for morning viewings) or just someone advertising a local fair, its a good source of information.
Trish and I are probably the least organised people you will ever meet but meticulous planning and budgeting has meant that this summer holiday the kids can do activities we wouldn’t of been able to afford on our limited income.
Other things on indoor days!
Today we made pizza with stuff i found in the fridge. Cherry tomatoes, tomato puree and some cheese, the kids put them on a wrap and we put them in the oven, sorted!
We’ve also been to the park, and been to explore the local area. We’ve lived here for about 10 years but never really strayed from the usual as we have a park at the end of our road. The kids have really enjoyed exploring the local area and now they know more about where they live.
We’ve also traveled into London, which is where i am from originally and the children have enjoyed experiencing the place where i spent the first part of my life.
The girls have made “dream boards” with things they’d like to do either now or in the future. They made these with the sides of a cardboard box cut down and pictures cut out of old magazines and catalogues we were going to cut out.
We’ve done a spot of gardening. which the kids seem to love (something that i personally hate!)
Overall i would say that so far its been super successful! We’ve even managed to be able to eat out which is awesome!