Katy Holland: How to keep summer boredom at bay without busting the bank
Are we there yet? School's almost out
Sunday 17 July 2011
It's that time again. Parents are starting to break out in a sweat and it has nothing to do with the weather.
School's almost out, and that means one thing: a hefty bill to keep the kids entertained over the holidays – £2,274 per family, according to a recent poll.
That's the average amount we shell out on our little darlings during the school break according to a survey, carried out by Freesat. Oh, and that doesn't even include actually taking them on holiday.
The research claims that parents spend an extra £379 a week trying to keep the kids happy in the school break, with days out at the seaside, entrance fees, eating out and petrol topping the list of expenses. And we're so determined to give them a good time that more than a quarter of us will go up to £600 into the red to fund it. Yet, despite all our efforts, the vast majority (77 per cent) of the children questioned say they still get bored during the long break, regardless of how much is spent on them.
Time for a rethink, then. If you're going to bore the kids, you might as well do it for free. So, may I suggest that you put your money away and take advantage of some of the complimentary things happening across the country this summer. That way, if the kids complain, at least it hasn't cost you.
I challenge them to mention the "B" word with some of these activities. For a start, there's free cinema – perfect for children who need to be glued to a screen. Take them to one of the open-air screenings around the country, such as the Big Screen at Canary Wharf in London (viewlondon.co.uk/whats-on .aspx) or the brilliant Screenfields events in Manchester (spinningfieldson line.net), both of which have free family-friendly screenings this summer.
Parents of more energetic offspring should visit the brand new website Where2Walk.co.uk, which features hundreds of ideas for exploring the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. For families, there's a "shorter walks for all" section with helpful notes on places to stop and fill up on ice cream en route. And then there are the brand new Big Skies Bike Rides – a series of one-day cycle tours created for families. These self-guided tours have been designed for kids of all ages – you simply download them from visithullandeastyork shire.com and off you go.
For more family freebies across the UK, check out: visitengland.com; visitscotland.com; and visitwales.co.uk. You'll find lots of things guaranteed to keep the boredom, and the bank manager, at bay. Free events and happy kids: that's my idea of a great summer.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...
£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...
£27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...