It’s the Easter holidays and the kids are home. They don’t want to sit around all day though, they want to get out and do stuff and have fun! Luckily we have access to loads of free entertainment in our city and we made the most of it last week! If you haven’t already I highly recommend finding out what free facilities your local area has to offer for kids and making use of them. You can save so much money and have lots of free fun!
Parks and playgrounds
There seem to be lots of great playgrounds for kids these days (more so than when I was growing up) and in Brighton and Hove we are really lucky to have such a great choice of really brilliant outdoor play spaces to visit. In fact there are so many there are loads we haven’t explored yet. One thing I really like about them is that they are all so different and although some play equipment is repeated each playground has it’s own original features and interest points. There are also some very cool skate parks and although my heart is often in my mouth watching my kids whizz around them, I’m so impressed about how they have taught themselves to go up and down the ramps and I know they are having a great time. Last week we arranged to meet up with friends at a different park each day for 4 days. We drove to the parks we went to and all but one of them had free parking. The one that didn’t have free parking cost us £6.20 in parking money because it was fairly central to the city. If you don’t know where all the parks are in your area, take a look at your local council website, you might be surprised how many you have to choose from! To find out more about the parks in Brighton and Hove take a look here.
Museums are often free to get into and are great for a rainy day or for a break from the sun after a morning at the park! Lots of them are geared up to cater for young visitors and Brighton and Hove has several museums which are all extremely child friendly. We visited Hove Museum one afternoon. It is free to get into (but we paid £2 to park outside it) and they often have kids activities going on for a small fee. Even without specific kids activities we found they had booklets which encouraged the kids to look in the different rooms of the museum to find certain objects and then draw a picture of it or answer a question about it and so on. They also have bags with postcards, torches and magnifying glasses in them and the idea is the kids look for the things on the postcards around the museum with the aid of the torch and the magnifying glass. At the moment they have a Star Wars memorabilia exhibition going on and there are various toys and figures on display. There is a small dress up area with Star Wars costumes for the kids to try on. It wasn’t very busy when we went and we took our time and we had a really fun and quite relaxing afternoon looking around! If you haven’t already sussed them out, I definitely recommend finding out about what is going on for kids in the museums in your area for a fun free educational couple of hours with the kids! To find out more about Brighton and Hove museums take a look here
Another fantastic source of free entertainment are libraries. In our city we have lots of them and again there are so many that we haven’t visited them all, but we have been to quite a few! I first took my kids to the libraries when they were babies as there are baby boogie sessions around the city. Then I took them to story time in Hove library. Nowadays we go to the library most weeks and we borrow a small fortune in books on a regular basis! We have a couple of libraries that we can walk to from our house and we whiled away one afternoon with a walk to the library and back (and of course we borrowed some books while we were there). Lots of the libraries have dedicated sections for kids with a bit of play equipment, some have computers and most have comfy chairs. I relaxed for a bit on a comfy chair while the kids looked for books they wanted to borrow. I always let them take their cards up to get their books out themselves and they love the freedom of being able to choose and borrow what they like. I’ve been enjoying the books they chose to borrow too as some of them were books that I loved when I was a kid – recently we have been reading the Indian in the Cupboard and the Faraway Tree! It is well worth looking up what is going on in your local libraries as aside from offering books to borrow often activities are free or very cheap and it is a great way to meet people in your local area. Look on your local council website for more info and find out more about Brighton and Hove libraries here.
Food and drink
To keep costs down, as well as to stay sugar free and (mainly) waste free we either ate lunch at home or took packed lunches, snacks (e.g. homemade popcorn and chopped up fruit and veg) and water in reusable bottles with us to the parks, library and museum. The one packaged thing we did eat were crisps – I just can’t give them up!
So in total four days of entertainment cost us £8.20, which I think it is pretty amazing for the amount of fun we had! The kids were happy because they had friends to play with at the parks and I was happy because I had adults to chat to while they were playing. We all got some free exercise, free entertainment and had a really nice few days. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t wonderful all the time, my kids can get into arguments with each other about the most ridiculous things, but they argue a lot less when we are out the house and especially when they are playing with their friends, so it was much more peaceful being out and about.
So why not give it a try – make the most of what your local area has to offer for free instead of visiting expensive out of town attractions and take a packed lunch! You stand to save a lot of money, it is less stressful because you don’t all feel pressured to enjoy the experience (because when you pay for something you feel you aren’t getting your money’s worth if you aren’t all having fun) and your kids are likely to be just as happy playing with their friends in a local park as they are anywhere else.
What’s your area like – would you find enough entertainment locally to spend under £10 on 4 days of activities or do you feel like you have to spend more to keep the kids entertained over the holidays?
For more ideas of how to keep the kids entertained for free in the holidays take a look here