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So it’s that time of year again, the summer holidays. If your family is anything like ours, everyone starts with the best of intentions. Children are wildly happy that they’re off school for six weeks and parents plan to make the most of precious family time! However, this enthusiasm can wear off after the first few weeks. Children become bored and parents run out of ideas, and of course, money.

If this sounds familiar, never fear. Our list of fun and money-saving ideas to do as a family over the holidays will help keep that fun summer feeling for the whole six weeks!

1. Bike ride: Find the best and safest bike routes in your area using Map My Ride and get cycling. It might even inspire you to cycle more, great for you and the environment. If you don’t already own bikes, see whether there is a bike sharing scheme operating in your area.

2. Picnic time: Have a rummage through your cupboards and see what you’ve got to eat. Put together a few cheap and cheerful snacks – sausage rolls, jam sandwiches, crisps, fruit and some squash – and have a lovely, relaxing picnic in the park. If you’re feeling social, get some family or neighbours involved and make it a community affair.

3. The library: People often forget what a valuable resource their local library is. If you’ve not visited in a while, get yourself a library card and start using it. Whatever it is you want to learn about or need advice on there’s a book out there that will provide it. Don’t forget that most libraries also have a good stock of DVDs, so get a few out and you can have some completely free family movie nights.

4. Have your own ‘Bake-Off’: Kids love baking and it’s such a fun and cheap activity for the family to do together. Visit the BBC’s cake baking page for great and simple recipes that you can try over the holidays. If you’re feeling confident in your baking skills, invite a few friends over to sample your work or take a few homemade treats with you on that picnic!

5. Look at the stars: Get on the internet, find your nearest stargazing group and join in with this inspirational pastime. It’s natural for children to be fascinated by space and it’s educational to learn about the stars and planets too! It may not be completely free to join, but it will definitely be cheaper to join a group and use their equipment than buying your own telescope.

6. Book club: Now that you have your library card, you might find that reading has become a serious pastime in your family. Consider starting a book club with your kids, they’ll love having the opportunity to talk about their ideas. This can be something that you do just as a family or you could get a few of their friends involved as well. Look at this checklist to make sure that you’ve got all the basics covered before your first meeting and you can tailor the advice for children.

7. Volunteer: You could consider getting the whole family involved in your community by volunteering your time to help others. Whether it’s gardening at the local community centre, reading to the elderly or helping children with arts and crafts, giving up your time is not only free but hugely rewarding as well. Your local council website should have information about what is happening in your area.

8. Learn something new: There are so many online courses available for free now, it’s easy to expand your family’s horizons and learn something new. Why not learn a new language, brush up on your maths skills, learn origami… the world’s your oyster!

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