4 Budget activities for older kids & teens to enjoy during the May holidays

With two bank holidays and a half-term break, May is a busy month for families. So, I thought I would come up with some ideas to keep youngsters entertained during their days off school...

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Bank holidays and half-terms can be expensive times, especially if you want to keep your older kids and teens active, entertained and learning while they’re away from school. Here are some ideas that you can use that’ll hopefully save you some money while helping your children to have a fun holiday.

1. Getting active

Often there are more activities available during the half-term holidays to help keep youngsters active outside of school, so check out the schedules of your local leisure centre or sports club. I recently wrote about healthy activities that can be enjoyed by all the family so you could encourage your teens to join in with some of these family-friendly sports options.

In my experience, younger children are mostly happy to just go to a park to have a run around, play frisbee and climb on play equipment – and that’s all completely free for them to enjoy. Even older kids and teens are in their element if you take them to a local skate park. While you might not need professional skateboards straight away, I’ve found that the better the equipment is, the safer they’ll be – those cheapy boards don’t last long.

So, as long as they have the right protective equipment they’ll be able to enjoy whizzing around on bikes and boards for hours on end. That’s a lot of time out in the fresh air, seeing friends and getting active during their school half-term holiday. Plus, hours of fun for free!

2. Playing games

Although we all like our kids to stay off screens, sometimes it can be a good way to spend a calm half-hour, especially if you need to get on with some chores or work yourself. But let’s not make it an expensive activity to do – there are plenty of free games available online that are suitable for children and teens (and even adults!) of all ages.

For example, I’ve recently played the LEGO City Adventures Build and Protect game, which is completely free to play online. Usually, you’d find that branded games come with a cost but this Lego one is ideal if you don’t want to splash out on consoles or downloads.

It’s a building game that reminds me of playing Sim City and Theme Park, which I loved when I was a youngster, but it’s Lego-focused and the buildings you can create for your virtual city are similar to the real-life Lego City building sets. Kids of any age will find it fun to add police stations, houses, shops and more to each zone of the city – the more you build, the more options are unlocked.

Of course, there are many other city building games available online but I enjoyed this one myself, so I’m sure kids will find it just as exciting to play. The idea of the game is to dig for bricks and those can then be used to build properties. The only thing is that you need to have enough coins to start digging and once you’ve used up the initial allocation of coins you have to wait to earn the coins from the rent from your shops and houses.

But the good news is that the more you play and the more you build, the faster you earn coins and can carry on growing your city. It’s actually a good lesson in finance for teens in terms of earning and investing, making it an educational activity that uses maths and money management. And your properties continue earning when you step away from the game as a ‘passive income’ so when kids return to the game, they’ve got more coins to spend.

3. Being creative

I personally enjoy encouraging older kids to get crafty during their time off. You can set up art activities (like my Bob Ross painting party) or help them to craft using kits. But also, something that they can do by themselves without too much supervision is getting creative by taking photos.

Older teens can use their mobile phones to take photos and print them through the Instant Pocket Printer using the integrated app. Plus, you can get age-appropriate cameras for children such as the Photo Creator Instant Camera, which has printing capabilities as well as memory card storage, which means kids can see the results of their creativity straight away with the print-outs.

Your youngsters can then use the photos they took during their school holidays to create a scrapbook. Do you remember making a ‘what we did on holiday’ scrapbook as a kid? Help them to collect tickets, maps and leaflets to collage alongside their photos. They can get creative throughout the week with their cameras and end their holiday with a scrapbooking session on the Sunday.

4. Going out for the day

It’s always an adventure to pack up the car and head out for a day trip. Whether you’re going to a castle, the seaside, a stately home or a park, it’s something fun to look forward to during the holidays and it gives you family the chance to get some fresh air and be a little active while you’re out and about. Also, why not choose a picturesque location that gives youngsters the opportunity to be creative with their cameras?

One thing to consider is that many attractions and visitor centres get very busy during the school holidays BUT they also offer extra activities for kids and teens throughout half-term. So, you can get extra value for your entrance fee by choosing to visit on a day when there’s an immersive activity going on.

A way to save money on your day out is to side-step the on-site cafe (where they have a captive audience so prices can be higher!) and take your own packed lunch with you. Most locations have picnic areas and benches for families to eat their own food and you can use insulated bottles and food jars to keep your family’s favourite foods fresh for lunchtime.

I’ve found that having a picnic is so much more fun for the whole family – it makes lunchtime into a real event. Plus, you can guarantee that even your picky teens will have something they like to eat rather than the hit-and-miss options on the location’s cafe menu. This means they’ll be fully fed and recharged, ready for further fun in the afternoon.

I hope these ideas will help you to cut the cost of days out this May and will keep your children and teens entertained, active and learning. Let me know your own plans for the school half-term break and bank holidays in the comments below, especially any thrifty low-cost activities that your little ones enjoy. It would be lovely to hear what you get up to. 🙂

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This article is a sponsored collaboration. The pink links in the content indicate a sponsored link or information source. The blog post reflects my own experience and the sponsor hasn’t had any control over my content 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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