The holidays can be expensive, especially if you are on vacation either home or away. Here financial planning firm Lemonade Money shares 10 money-saving activities which will keep kids of all ages amused over the two-week school break and help keep costs on track.
Last years Easter weekend, ABTA estimated two million Brits jetted away in search of sunnier climes*. Thosekeen to turn eight days’ holiday into a 14 day break from the office, will however pay peak season prices, meaning the cost of a family holiday for four will rarely come in at under £2,000, especially when adding activities and food into the mix.
Even a short ‘staycation’ or day trips out can quickly add up; a Travelodge survey suggests British parents fork out on average £478.25 on a short Easter break and four-day trips and £39.18 on an average day out **.
1. Get egg rolling
Gather friends and family together, hard boil eggs for every competitor, decorate them with your own personal style (or initials) and then head to a steep hill, ideally grassed. Then watch the eggs roll. The egg that gets the furthest without breaking wins. If there’s no nearby hill, roll the eggs using a spoon and race to a finish line.
2. Claim free seeds for kids
Children love watching flowers and veggies sprout up and Easter is a great time to get them out in the garden and growing. Many seed companies offer easy- to- grow herbs, flowers or vegetables, free of charge or check out the Big Sunflower Project, a community initiativethat distributes free sunflower seeds in an effort to raise awareness of rare neuromuscular conditions.
3. Camp out and star gaze
Providing it’s warm enough and your garden is secure, take the little ones on their first micro-adventure. Host an outdoor sleepover, look out for shooting stars, light a fire and toast marshmallows.
4. Link up the letters
For younger children learning to spell and read, set up an Easter egg hunt with a twist, using sticky post-its with a letter to spell out a hidden message – like ‘Some Bunny Loves You’. To help them solve the Easter message team older children up with younger ones and earn a shared Easter prize.
5. Check out local ‘what’s on’ activities
From feeding newborn lambs and quacky duck racing to survival skills, crafty fun and historic re-enactments, the National Trust, English Heritage and others offer a range of family friendly events.
6. Make an Easter centre-piece
Get out the glitter and paper and transform a plastic fruit basket or jam jar. Attach a ribbon and fill with clean twigs and moss before topping up with colourful foiled eggs and other Easter gifts.
7. Design a scavenger hunt
Make your children work harder for their treats. Instead of a traditional Easter egg hunt, create a checklist of objects that can be found around the house and garden. You can even draw up a map and place with the checklist and pencil in the Easter centre-piece (see tip 6).
8. Rekindle your childhood games
On a dreary day, roll out your favourite games, from hopscotch and marbles to pick-up sticks and snakes & ladders. It will trigger some happy memories and kids love watching you getnostalgic!
9. Get arty outdoors
Pack paper, wax crayons and a picnic and head for the park or forest to do the oldest form of print making – tree and leaf rubbings. Once home, cut out their creations and let the kids go wild making a collage. Hours of fun!
10. Play make-believe games
Sailing seas, conquering kingdoms, rescuing princesses and making treasure maps on tea-stained paper. There’s nothing more magical than creating an imaginary world or den out of sheets, pegs, chairs, cushion stacks or a big cardboard box.
Lemonade Money managingpartner, David Pugh, says: “If you are planning to treat the family to a day out, use sites such as Group On, Wowcher and Voucher Cloud to secure great savings and sign up to weekly alerts to get the latest deals.
“For a limited time only, you can also buy a 100 day Kids Pass for just £1 – usually £7.50 a month – giving you free child meals at certain restaurants, up to 40% off cinema tickets and more. National Rail offers are also good for discounted entry to some of the bigger attractions. These deals can save you a small fortune and if you take your own drink and food, you’ll spend even less.”
Lemonade Money has a free financial health check on its website which enables you to assess how you’re doing in six important areas, including debt planning/budgeting, saving and protection. And if you require additional support it offers the services of a Lemonade Hero – a financial fitness mentor, whose sole purpose is to get your finances on track.