How to keep your cool through the School Holidays
School Holidays. As I am sure you are more than aware, the school holidays are nearly here. I have put together a bit of a guide to help you through. So whether you have young children or teenagers, hopefully this will help you out and save you some money in the process. I will show you how to keep your cool through the school holidays.
In a way I do like the school holidays. For me it is less of a rush as my kids sleep in and we don’t need to get up for school. I also don’t need to arrange full time childcare anymore as they are older. They do require entertainment though, and lots of cash if they want to go out with their friends or if we want to take them away. I don’t need to pay for school lunches or give out bus fares during the holidays, so that give me a little extra wiggle room when handing out cash for activities.
Playschemes & Childcare – You can check the government website to see if they run any clubs through your child’s school. It is a handy tool so that you don’t have to do too much ringing around to find something for them to do. Enter your postcode and it will direct you to the right place on your local authority website. Mine had a long list of choices such as playgroups, childminders, after school clubs, toddler classes and loads more. You can even select how far you are willing to travel.
Swap kids – Try swapping kids with friends and family. You can do this on days that are suitable for you and make an agreement with their parents that they will do the same. This may help fill in a few days of free childcare.
Grandparents – Grandparents have proved to be a godsend for busy parents. If they aren’t able to help you out with the kids full time, they try asking for a day here in there or a regular day once a week during the holidays. Hopefully this won’t prove to be too much of strain for the grandparents and helps you out a lot with trustworthy childcare.
Local Leisure centres – check out your local leisure centres for timetables on school holiday activities. Most of them offer some sort of playscheme or childcare facility. This can be pricey though, so you are best to look at this as an occasional arrangement if you want to keep the cost down a little.
Mcdonalds trick – Some people are not aware that there is a trick that you can do at Mcdonalds to ensure that you get a Big Mac and Fries for £1.99. This is perfect if you have teenagers like me, as a quick trip to Mcdonalds doesn’t cost the earth. If you already have a Mcdonalds receipt then this is where we start. You can see from the receipt that there is some dashes where you can enter a code. You can also see details of the website to complete a survey about your visit. You can log on to this and complete the survey which will take approx 1 minute. Once complete, you will see a code that you can write on your receipt. This will act like a voucher to get a big mac & Fries for £1.99. One voucher per customer. You can do this as many times as you like. Just keep using your receipts and completing surveys. T&C’s apply.
Subway card – Subway have frequent offers for Kids to eat free during holidays, offers on kids meals and different meal combinations. They also have a really good loyalty card so you collect points with every visit. Not only is the food a lot better than some other fast food outlets, but they will also give you it FREE. Collect 500 points for a free sandwich or salad and less if you want coffee or a snack. Your points add up quickly and they email with freebies every so often so you can take advantage of those too. Just register for a Subcard, scan at the till and see your points balance on your receipt or on the app. You also get a free cookie for taking the survey (subway cookies are delish). Pick up a card when visiting one of the thousands of subway franchises throughout the UK.
Breakfast at Brewers Fayre – We take our kids to Brewers Fayre for breakfast on a regular basis. This is because kids under the age of 16 eat free with paying adults. The offer is for 2x kids with every paying adult. So even taking a large family is much cheaper. Our local Brewers Fayre is also buffet style so we can eat as much as we like, with lots of healthy options and drinks included.
Family Days Out
I have found a fantastic site that shows you lots of family friendly events in your area. On Fantastic for families you can put in your postcode to see what is going on in your area.
Also, on Day out with the kids, you can see local discounts and suggestions for days out. These include discounts to places such as Chatsworth, trampoline parks and local activity centres.
My fellow blogger Thrifty Mum has some really good tips on things to do with the kids this summer too, so it is well worth a read to get some ideas.
Kidspass – Kidspass are offering 1 month trial for £1 at the moment. This can be a godsend during the school holidays as it comes with lots of perks. These perks include 40% off cinema tickets for the whole family, kids eat free at selected places, discounted holidays and days out. There are a wide variety of days out discounts across the UK to places such as Diggerland, Go Ape, Kidzania, Twin Lakes and Monkey Forest. Please see site for full details as this covers quite a lot.
FREE days out – I asked my Facebook group to suggest some free family days out that they have been on and enjoyed. Take a look at my previous blog post FREE Family Days out to see the results. Hopefully they may be able to suggest somewhere that you haven’t been before.
100+ things to do with your kids – check out Money Saving expert for 100 ideas to do with your kids in the summer holidays. There are so many great ideas here such as strawberry picking, park runs, swimsafe sessions, turn your garden in to a waterpark and much more.
Groupon – have so many deals during the holidays and this is where I tend to get a few of mine from. I have had deals like snowtubing and tobogganing for £9 for two people or £18 for four, Playcentres, uk waterparks, bowling and kids parties. These are all heavily discounted. Just read through the terms and conditions to make sure you know when you can use them. The school holidays can be restricted sometimes but you could land lucky.
Wowcher – Much the same kind of theme as Groupon but there may be different choices so it is worth looking.
Eurocamp – I have stayed with both Eurocamp and Al Fresco for some of my holidays, my personal favourites being in Italy. They offer tents or caravans in perfectly suited areas abroad, depending on where you want to stay. You can book the flight, ferry or Eurotunnel yourself or book through them. They offer extremely competitive prices and have tons of choice of parks. You pick can active and family orientated sites or something quieter if you prefer. Some of them have waterparks and really good facilities for children, such as clubs and a full schedule of activities. Mine worked out on average around £300 per person for accommodation and flights in the August school holidays. If you can also try getting cashback for these by looking on Quidco or Topcashback (you can earn quite a bit back on holidays). These were in the sought after areas of Venice (Lido de Jesolo) and Lake Garda.
Sun Holidays – I have been on many of these holidays and saved a ton of money. We have stayed in caravans and cottages throughout the UK and made so many good memories. To do this you need to look out for THE SUN to start publishing their £9.50 or £15 holidays (depending on the time of year). Collect the codes for each day, there are 10 in total to collect. Once you have the codes then you can book online through The Sun. The choice here is also Huge. You can book throughout the UK and Europe.
Camping – We have had many many camping Holidays over the past few years and really enjoy it. Not only does the tent provide cheap accommodation, it also lets the kids enjoy a bit of an adventure. This year we are going camping in Maidenhead in the school holidays. We have bought an new 8 person tent from Ebay so that we can live happily in it for up to 7 days at a time without being on top of each other. We are using it to make use of our Annual Merlin Passes and visit some theme parks such as Legoland, Thorpe park and Chessington. Once you have bought or borrowed the equipment then you are set to go anywhere you would like. Check out for ideas.
TUI – I booked an absolutely fantastic holiday with TUI earlier this year to go to Florida and paid a tiny price (see link). You can find on site codes for discounts, sometimes up to £300. It is worth having a look as the prices are quite competitive too, without any discounts. You can also try getting cashback through Topcashback (I did and didn’t do too bad)
Get creative with Facebook
You see so many crafty ideas these days on Facebook and over the web, it is hard to remember them all. If I see something that I think will be useful to do with the kids then I click on the save button. This helps me so much when looking through my newsfeed. I just need to remember to check my saved items when looking for something to do.
If you have enjoyed reading this then why not take a look at my blog, FREE family days out.