It’s that time of year again – not quite summer, yet for some reason the kids are off school, the sky is blue and it feels like you should be doing something. If funds are tight, don’t worry – we’ve found several fun family activities that don’t cost a penny.
The great outdoors
Cycling is brilliant aerobic exercise for all ages and a great way to enjoy the outdoors, especially while the weather’s not too hot. If you don’t fancy mixing it with the buses and lorries on the high street, why not do some research first. Bike campaigners sustrans.org.uk have a whole range of specially selected traffic-free recreational bike routes on offer – just choose what you fancy from those nearby, print out a route map, and hop in the saddle.
Or why not go beachcombing on the local natural strand, with collecting competitions and craft projects in mind? Shells can be used to make jewellery or decorate jars and boxes, and pebbles look great painted and can be displayed as decorations in the garden.
Commune with nature
A visit to a city farm can provide the opportunity for kids to learn where their food has come from without their even suspecting it’s a lesson. There are also plenty of community projects taking care of local parks, gardens or woodland sites, and many of these also welcome visitors as well as extra volunteers, and will be holding special events for Easter. Lawrence Weston Community Farm, Bristol, for example, is holding an Easter Egg hunt and mask- and bonnet-making workshops. The Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens has local listings.
Or keep it closer to home – why not look at ways to make your own garden more welcoming to wildlife by creating habitats like bird tables and hedgehog houses? The RSPB has some brilliant ideas for projects.
If your little geeks are feeling faint at the prospect of all this fresh air (or if it’s raining!) why not see if there’s a Coder Dojo nearby? First conceived in Cork in 2011, these free, volunteer-led computer clubs for kids aged 5-17 years are now available internationally, with more than 150 in UK communities alone. Kids get the chance to work with experienced coders, creating their own games and apps.
A museum or art gallery is another great way to spend an afternoon. Interaction is key at many modern museums, with the emphasis on fun. London’s Natural History Museum, for example, features animatronic dinosaurs and an earthquake simulator. Museums across the country offer free entry and actively welcome kids. And it can be surprising how open many youngsters are to all kinds of art. MoneySavingExpert.com’s compiled a helpful list.