You might be surprised by the results…
Most parents spend the summer holidays stressing about how to entertain kids on a reasonable budget.
The average UK household spends a third of their income on raising kids. So when it comes to summer holiday bribes for good behaviour, are mums or dads the bigger culprit?
Research from American Express says it’s DADS who shell out more cash over the summer break, spending nearly a third (28%) more than mums on treats and gifts.
The average dad will fork out £77 per child, whereas budget-conscious mums spend £60.
Children aged 7-9 attract the most spending at £79 (closely followed by 4-6 year-olds), with London parents splashing out a third more than the national average.
Jenny Cheung, Director at American Express said “shrewd parents can make their spending work hard for them” by purchasing gifts on credit cards that offer rewards or cashback down the line.
She also recommends agreeing on a budget (to stop dads getting carried away) along with toy swaps and bake-offs that keeps kids busy at very little cost.
So what exciting things can your family get up to this summer on a budget?
Here are our top tips for entertaining kids on a budget this summer:
Make a photo album
Let the kids choose their favorite shots and take them to your local photo shop to print them out and choose an album. Toddlers love glueing pictures and tech-savvy older kids can replicate the experience online. There are loads of photo books from around £15 or you can purchase a digital photo frame from £50.
Re-create the big screen experience at home
Encourage your kids to set up a ticket booth, sell ice creams and microwave popcorn. Dig out some family favourites for a double bill that keeps everybody happy for a whole evening.
If your toddler has a toy car, let them sit at the wheel for their first drive-in! Rows of teddies and soft toys can fill out your living room cinema.
Put on a show
Kids love dressing up at all ages. Drag out your cast-offs and head down to your local charity shop to sift through their treasure trove. They’re bound to have a range of accessories to complete any outfit!
Request a catwalk show or play when you get home - an ideal activity for a group of kids if you’re in charge for the day.
Organise a treasure hunt
Much like hide and seek, kids love trekking around gardens in search of pretty much anything - especially little chocolates or stickers they can use afterwards.
This is the perfect activity for a warm day and large broods. You can always plant water balloons and play dodgeball to cool off.
Bring out the board games
Board games have become quite retro over the past few years, with twenty-somethings meeting up for monopoly nights and playing old favourites at the pub.
Ask older relatives if they have some vintage games you can borrow or invest in some classics like Connect Four and Battleship that will last the distance as your kids grow.
Raid the kitchen for arts and crafts
The humble potato is the world’s most creative vegetable! Help little’uns slice shapes into the flat surface of a cut potato, dip them in colourful sauces (or paint) for hours of random printing on baking paper.
You can make your own Mr Potato Head with straws, smarties and chocolate buttons. Older girls will love making their own necklace from different coloured pasta, too.
Hit the West End
From 1 - 31 August, a child aged 16 or under can see a fantastic selection of shows for FREE when accompanied by a full paying adult. Two additional children can go at half price.
Participating shows include perennial favorite The Gruffalo, The Go-Between and Wicked.
Run your own mini Olympics
The Rio games start on 5 August that will bring hours of (legitimate) TV respite. But nothing beats running your own Olympics with classic races like the egg and spoon, sack jumps (a pillowcase does the trick), penalty shoot-outs and crazy golf.
Most toy stores sell cheap golf clubs and other sports equipment to beef up your event schedule. Make your own medals from playdoh, too!
Create your own adventure walks
Get the whole family active with a nature walk around your local park. Help the kids create their own I Spy book with drawings of common animals like dogs, ants, squirrels and birds.
Some local parks have farm animals you can add to the menagerie. Take along a stamp the kids can use to check off each breed as they spot one.
Build a map of local sites
Not everyone lives next to the Natural History Museum but that doesn’t mean your local neighbourhood is dull for kids. Talk with them about their favorite things to do after school, when you go to the shops or run errands.
They can draw a map of regular sites and take photos on your phone each time you visit to complete a visual guide to their ‘hood.
If all else fails, let them play Pokemon Go (but you might want to supervise young ones).