Summer Campfire

Make the most of summer with the children – on a budget

With a few weeks of the summer holidays left, many of our members with children might be wondering how to spend time with their children or grandchildren without breaking the bank.

We asked some of Healthy Investment’s staff their memories of days out with the family and for tips on how to keep kids happy on a budget.

Sam Williams, one of our Business Development Executives reminisced, ‘One of the best days out I remember was to Llandudno in North Wales where we spent hours catching crabs off the small wooden jetty by the pier. All we had was a bucket and a piece of string with a bit of bacon wrapped around the end and the crabs would virtually jump out of the sea.’

The Society’s Chief Executive, Peter Green explained ‘Finding childcare during the summer holidays for older children can be a real challenge, especially when they’re too old for kids clubs but not old enough to be left. Where our office is located is near to the local leisure centre which often runs reasonably priced sports courses during the holidays and half terms. My youngest learnt high diving one school holiday and when he’d finish it was close enough to walk to the office where he’d be put to work filing, scanning and brewing up. He’ll never be a Tom Daley but it kept him out of trouble without breaking the bank.’

Monique from our policy and membership administration team remembers lots of picnics in the local park when she was growing up. With 8 siblings (a family of 6 girls and 3 boys) visits to the ice cream van never happened. ‘Mum always had a stock of lollies and ice creams in the freezer and even at the seaside she’d nip to the local supermarket and come back armed with boxes of choc-ices.’

Local parks often run children’s activities during the holidays or have outdoor gyms where family members can compete against each other – details can be found online.

Remember, if you’re off to the park to feed the ducks then frozen peas are much healthier for them than bread which can cause ducks and other wildlife serious problems.

Many parents are concerned about their children not getting enough fresh air and spending too much time on their consoles or phones. One solution is to combine the two. Geocaching is one big nationwide treasure hunt, which uses a phone’s GPS signal to find containers (catches) containing small gifts or items of interest. When found, the idea is that you leave something in the container for the next treasure hunter to find. Downloading the Geocach App is free.

Another free tech-based alternative for parents and young people to play together is Pokemon Go. Simply download the App and capture various mythical creatures before sending them into battle.

Furnaz, the Society’s marketing coordinator, remembers trips to her local library where, as well as being able to borrow one of her favourite Roald Dahl books there was always somebody available to read stories to groups of children. Many local libraries arrange a variety of free activities in the school holidays, details of which are usually available from local council’s websites.

As well as libraries many museums and galleries up and down the country are free and have activities for children. If you can find one that links to a topic children have been studying at school it can help bring the exhibitions to life.

However parents and grandparents choose to spend time over the summer holidays with their children and grandchildren it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We hope you’re inspired to try something free. Every member of Healthy Investment staff spoken to remembers simply spending time with their families and friends as being the most important thing.