Friday 1 September 2023

Affordable Ways to Make the Most of the Last of the Summer Holidays

cheap activities to do in the school holidays, free summer holiday fun, affordable summer holiday activities, last week of the summer holidays

Welcome back, 

How is it the last week of the school summer holidays already? I know in some places in the UK children have already gone back to school, in Scotland they have, but there is still around a week left here in England with most children returning on Wednesday next week (from research I've done online). 

In today's post, I will share with you some activity ideas to do with your children or children you spend time with that are free or budget-friendly. Some of the ideas are things I did with my children when they were small. We went through years when times were extremely difficult financially and we had nothing, some of the ideas are activities I did with my girls during that time, and have done many times since too and which they loved to do.  

These activities don't have to be done during the school holidays, they can be weekend activities too. 


Look Online

First of all, check out your local Facebook groups and pages and your local council website too, these both usually have activities listed and I have found most are free or very affordable. 

Cloud Pictures

When my girls were small one of the things they loved to do on a dry day, was making cloud pictures, we would all lie on the floor in the garden looking up at the sky and we would spend ages making pictures out of the clouds. I would sometimes make stories up from the pictures we found if I was able to, it's completely free, we don't often have no clouds in our skies in the UK and my girls loved it, so much so when their friends came over they always requested we play cloud pictures. 

Indoor/Outdoor Picnic 

Depending on the weather, have a picnic, you can have an indoor carpet picnic or an outdoor picnic in the garden, in a local park or somewhere local there's somewhere nice to sit. I always found that it was how I delivered the activity to my children, so a "carpet picnic" was just basically eating lunch on the floor on a blanket, but throwing in some paper plates, cutting sandwiches into shapes and putting the snacks into bowls sounds exciting for children and saying "oooh shall we have a picnic today?" makes it seem exciting and because you're making lunch anyway, this is a free activity. 


One of my girl's favourite things to do was to chalk outside on the garden floor, or outside on the front path, or sometimes we would take the chalks to the park, and because they are just chalk and wash away with the rain, you're not permanently defacing anything. Obviously, I would always explain to the girls that they shouldn't ever write on the ground in the park unless I was there and it was using chalk, we don't want any graffiti artists haha. We would draw pictures, and do hopscotch, I used to draw a line and teach the girls all the elastic rhymes and routines I did as a child in the playground, who needs elastic? 

Library Visit

Going to the library was one of my girl's favourite things to do, if your littles aren't a member you can sign them up with a library card (or whatever it is nowadays) and then they can spend time choosing books to take home and read, we would also spend time looking at books and reading stories whilst we were visiting the library. My girls loved to learn so taking out a child friendly encyclopedia was something we did and then we would look at it together and find out lots of interesting facts, this was always good if their new class teacher had them write a "what I did in the holidays" because if you haven't been lucky enough to go away, writing down some of the facts they learned is brilliant and the teacher and their classmates always find it interesting too. 
Libraries often have activities on during the holidays too, which are always free, so whilst you are there, see if there is a leaflet you can pick up. 

My Shop 

Playing shop was always a hit in our house, you can use play money, make some from paper or use real money if you have some change to hand or like me you save up 5,2 and 1 pence in a jar, you can use those. 

Set up a shop with the children, they can have one each if there is more than one child, they can make a shop sign first or the day before. They find things around the house they can "sell" in their shop. My girls took ages over their signs and setting up their shops, making them look nice and making price tags for everything too. 

Playing shop is also good to help with learning about money and how much change to give, it's a good numbers game without them realising. 

Old Wallpaper Painting

If like me you end up saving bits of rolls of wallpaper after decorating, keep them, they come in very handy. If you don't have any wallpaper, you can pick up samples from any DIY store or you can use paper that you have stuck together to make a long length. 

Then use paper plates, disposable serving trays or if you haven't got any disposables, baking trays and pour some children's paint in them, then for the messy bit. 

Let your littles put their feet in the paint and then walk/run/dance up and down the rolls of paper, they can use their hands too and any utensils you don't mind them using. Children love making a mess and this would amuse my girls for ages! It is messy and I used to have the baby wipes to hand a bowl of warm soapy water and a towel to clean them off before leaving the area. You can do this outside when it's dry or like me, in the kitchen on washable flooring. 

If you don't want so much mess, crayons, colouring pencils etc is also fun and crawling around on the paper drawing or playing word games is something they'll enjoy too. 

Movie Day & Dens

Perfect for a rainy day, and we've had plenty of those lately, is a movie day, let your children choose a movie from the TV or a DVD you have and put some snacks into bowls and grab some blankets or their duvets. Then make a den out of the blankets, any cushions, pillows and duvets to watch the movie in. Making a den and putting snacks into bowls makes it more exciting and something the littles will love to do. 

Treasure Hunt 

You can do this indoors or outdoors in the garden or any outside area. You can hide items from the house around the house or garden and write clues for the children to find the treasure, the treasure could be some sweeties or their favourite toy or book. 

Alternatively, you can write a list of things for the children to find whilst you go on a walk that they can tick off, like 3 red cars, a big tree, a pink flower or 4 dogs, that kind of thing, the children can then tick the things off as they go and maybe draw the things they saw when they get back home. 


Throughout the year, keep a tub or bag and keep things that might come in for crafting, these can be things from indoors like greeting cards, and they are ideal for crafting. Bits of material, if the children have outgrown clothes or PJs and they aren't really suitable for the charity shop, any buttons you might find or embellishments, you can also find wool in charity shops or craft shops which can be very affordable. 

Then during the holidays, the children can make cards for birthdays and Christmas or gift tags, they can also make collages or they can pictures for people, my family always loved receiving handmade things from the girls. 

One thing my girls adored to make when crafting was peg dollys. You make these from wooden dolly type pegs, you can find wooden Dolly pegs at supermarkets, The Range, and any craft or hardware shop. Then cut up any material scraps you have saved, wool and use felt tip pens to decorate the pegs, making dollys with them. My girls loved doing this, they made seasonal dollys like Santa or angels and even a nativity of sorts, easter-themed dollys, you name it, they made it and they had so much fun doing it too. 

 Summer Project

This is a roundup of all the activities the children have done over the summer, since it's the end of the holidays now, go through any activities you have already done and if you have some activities to do for the next few days til they go back to school you can use those. After each activity or remembering ones you have done over the holidays, ask them to draw pictures and write about their day, what they liked best, what they least liked, and what they would like to do differently next time and rate it out of 5 or 10. You can pick up leaflets or bits and bobs from your activities and if you have a camera phone you can take pictures of them doing each activity too. 

You can have your photographs printed out from your mobile using an online website or via an app, there are some brilliant deals, for example, Snapfish offers 50 free 6x4 prints per month via their app so you can do it all straight from your phone, you just pay the postage which starts at £1.49 and is never more than £3.79 you can find out more from their website HERE

The children can also make a cover or some sort of folder for their holiday project and decorate that too, this can be a big envelope or a plastic wallet, anything at all you have at home or you can find that doesn't cost the earth when you're out and about and you can help with the decorating which they will love too. 

At the end of the holidays, the children can either put their work into the order you did the activity or they can create a big project including bits from each activity. These are great to look back on, especially if you have somewhere to store them and can look back on the ones from previous years from time to time. The children might also like to take their project to school to show their class teacher or once again, it's something they can talk about if they get the "what I did in the holidays" piece of work or chat at school.

That's a wrap
I hope this post has been useful and given you some activity ideas to do with the children in your life. As I said, these aren't necessarily activities just for the summer holidays and can be done during any school holiday or weekend or anytime you like. 

Please let me know if you have found this useful and if you would like more posts like this.  
Zoƫ x

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