Savvy summer fun: Cost-saving activities to keep kids entertained

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Kids playing in sea

Save money during the school summer holidays with these cost-effective kids’ activities – made even cheaper with a Boundless membership

As school bells around the UK signalled the end of term, you could almost taste the excitement as kids looked forward to the summer holidays.

For parents, though, the long break from school presents a significant challenge – namely, how to keep the kids entertained for several weeks; and, more specifically, how to do it in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. According to new research commissioned by Boundless, 73 per cent of British parents were dreading the cost of the summer holidays more this year than ever before.

However, parents are nothing if not resourceful, and a massive 82 per cent of the 1,000 people we questioned said they were planning savvier ways of keeping their kids engaged this summer. The number-one cost-saving activity mentioned in the survey was going on picnics, with 56 percent of parents stating that they would be getting their hampers out over the holidays. Playing board games was the second most popular choice (45 per cent), while other activities included having a movie marathon (34 per cent), looking for shells on the beach (35 per cent) and camping in the garden (27 per cent).

To help you navigate the summer without breaking the bank, we’ve put together the following list of cost-saving activities. We’ve also included some Boundless member discounts you can access to help you cut costs even more during the holidays.

Boundless members can save up to 50% off days out and attractions with a free 12-month membership with Kids Pass. Kids Pass members save an average of £400 per year. To find out how to join Boundless, visit our membership page.

1. Go on a picnic

Family having a picnic

Can’t afford to splash out on a pub or restaurant meal? Picnics offer a great budget alternative ­– if the weather’s good. All you need to do is pack some tasty snacks (remember to use a cool bag if you’re going to be out and about for a long period of time), find a nice location with plenty of space for the kids to play, and lay out your blanket. It’s the ideal opportunity to spend time in natural surroundings, and – weather permitting – you can stay as long as you like. Find out how to prepare the perfect picnic here.  

Boundless member deals

As a Boundless member, you can save money on picnic food at selected supermarket chains, helping you to enjoy your al fresco lunch for less.

2. Have a movie marathon

Family having a movie night

Whether it's a Disney musical or a Marvel action flick, nothing captures young imaginations like a good film. So, why not turn your living room into a cinema for the afternoon? With movie streaming services enabling us to watch hundreds of great movies on our own TV sets, you’re sure to find something that’ll suit everyone’s tastes. To complete the authentic cinema experience, why not serve up some tasty snacks and drinks for the kids to enjoy while they watch.

Boundless member deal

Movie streaming platform CHILI is giving Boundless members 29% off the price of its e-vouchers, meaning you can catch a movie for £2.50 instead of £3.50. 

3. Look for shells on the beach

Grandmother and child collecting sea shells

Don’t worry if you can’t afford a holiday abroad this year, as there are some fabulous seaside resorts right here in the UK, meaning you can enjoy some sea and sand without spending a fortune. Once you get there, you’ll find lots of free things to do with the kids, from finding unusual shells and pebbles, to playing beach volleyball. Whatever you decide to do, we guarantee your little ones won’t want to leave at the end of the day!

Boundless member deals

Want to turn your day trip into a short break? As a Boundless member, you can access loads of amazing deals on hotel stays and holiday accommodation.

4. Go wildlife spotting

Father and kids birdwatching

It doesn’t matter if you’re a primary school pupil or a pensioner – watching animals and birds in their natural habitats never gets boring. Well, no matter where you live in the UK, you’re not far away from a WWT reserve, so why not grab some binoculars and drive to your nearest one. Once you arrive, you and the kids could have a competition to see who can spot one of these rare birds first. On your marks…   

Boundless member deal

As a Boundless member, you can enjoy unlimited free visits to all 10 of the WWT’s sites across the UK, and also bring up to six kids with you at no extra cost.

5. Camp out in the garden

Family camping in garden

For most kids, it’s the novelty of sleeping under a canvas roof that makes camping so alluring. So, don’t fret if you can’t get away to a proper campsite – pitch the tent in your back garden, fill it with your bedding, and leave the rest to your imagination. To make the experience more authentic, why not cook some food on the barbecue, have a game of cards on the camp table and do some stargazing. It’ll feel just like the real thing. 

Boundless member deal

With a Boundless membership, you can get 12.5% off the price of camping gear and much more at Cotswold Outdoor.

6. Go wild swimming

Kids splashing in the sea

There are numerous reasons why wild swimming is becoming so popular with people of all ages. Not only does it bring you closer to nature, it can also benefit your physical and mental health. It’s also likely to be cheaper than taking the kids to your local swimming baths. To find out more about this exciting pastime, read our complete guide to wild swimming.

Boundless member deal

Need some new gear for your wild swimming adventures? Boundless members can get great discounts on swimwear at both Cotswold Outdoor and Decathlon.

7. Bake something tasty

Mother and kids baking

If your kids enjoy watching programmes like The Great British Bake Off and Junior MasterChef, why not give them the chance to make their own cakes or biscuits at home. As well as being fun and educational, you’ll end up with some (hopefully) delicious treats that cost much less than they would if you bought them ready-made at your local supermarket. Just remember that younger children shouldn’t be left unaccompanied in the kitchen, especially when the oven is on.

Boundless member deals

If you’re a member of Boundless, you can get price reductions at selected supermarket chains, enabling you to buy your baking ingredients for less.

Do more with Boundless

As well as the deals mentioned on this page, Boundless members get free entry to top attractions, discounts on restaurants, plus dozens of other deals on holidays, experiences and more! If you're working or retired from the public sector or civil service and not yet a member, discover more about Boundless membership here.

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