With winter right around the corner, this is a prime time to get outside and enjoy all the free activities in your local area.
Recently, my family and I had our very first no-spend weekend and to be honest; it wasn’t that hard at all. There are loads of free activities for families and it’s a great little detox for your spending habits. More than that, it can really force you to think creatively and try some new activities!
What’s the Point?
Just recently, I read some research by bobatoo.co.uk that said that on average, UK parents pay an average of £100-£300 on days out during the summer holidays.
To be honest, I’m not overly surprised, with my own bank balance taking a hard hit over the 6-weeks too. I would like to blame it on the fact that The Eldest was starting school and I wanted to make memories, but really, that’s just an excuse. I flashed the cash because I didn’t really know what else to do and generally thought the kids would enjoy an expensive day out more.
They didn’t. They didn’t care and loved whatever we did, even if I spent nothing. I’m quite slow on the uptake, but I’ve realized, from those 6-weeks that my time is far more important than my money. Something I think we all forget sometimes.
The research from bobatoo.co.uk is here if you fancy a look, but the thing that shocked me the most was when parents were asked if they planned on spending more or less next summer, that 46% said MORE and 24% said they PLANNED to spend the same.
I can, hand on heart say, that I’ve learned my lesson, and it pains me that parents are generally spending so much money on days out when they don’t have to.
We now have a no-spend weekend once a month. We switch off and just do free fun stuff together as a family. It really is that simple.
So here is my challenge to you. Set a weekend aside and try to not spend. Can you do it?
If you fancy giving it a go, then I’d recommend you:
– Brainstorming ideas with your family on what you’d all like to do. Get everyone involved and lay out why you want to try a no-spend weekend and how it would work.
– Think of meals you could have at home that weekend that are extra special but made with ingredients you already have. It’s only two days, so it should be pretty easy.
– Get creative and go large. Do things together that you’ve never done. Make the weekend memorable.
– Look close to home. Is there any community events? What’s going on around you? This is a great place to come up with some free activities that you might not have thought about.
Short of ideas? Then here are 27 things that my family like doing on our no-spend weekends. Get ready for some serious savings yet mega fun.
Play Board Games
My kids are 3 and 4 but love nothing more than playing snacks and ladders. Dust the classics off and see who wins!
Visit your local pumpkin patch
You don’t have to spend any money to walk around. Play games like who can find the biggest pumpkin or who can find the weirdest shaped pumpkin.
Have a Home Spa Day
Get the washing up bowl out, fill with hot bubbled water and soak. Grab the nail kit out and do each other’s fingers and toes while wrapped up warm in a dressing gown. Go the full hog and have hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Take the kids outside and pick up leaves. Decide what colour you all want and see who can get the most. They can be turned into a great craft activity or even put in a pile to be jumped in!
Play Pokemon Go
The app is free and gets you wondering around your community. Everyone can get involved catching the Pokemon and getting Pokeballs.
Find a field or hill you’ve never visited and walk it. Mine love nothing more than pulling on their wellies and running up and (rolling) down hills. After we have a picnic we take it in turns spotting what we can see. Sometimes I even bring the binoculars. They love it!
Cook or Bake
Go crazy and try something new. Make it up and let the kids try picking. You might be lucky, it could be lush.
Make a list of all the animals you want to see and try and find them. We head to our nearest woods. Normally we have insects on our list, but sometimes add something big, like a deer. Who knows what you will find.
Pick somewhere flat and ride. I try and make sure we head somewhere with a park at the end or somewhere to have a picnic as they are always hungry at the end. Plan for it to be a circle in case everyone gets tired.
Find parks you’ve never been to
Ask in your local Facebook groups. There’s loads of free parks. I bet there are at least three in your area you’ve never been to. Try them out.
Visit the beach
Pull a jumper on and head down to your local beach. We collect shells and stones, write in the sand and even paddle. We’ve spent a whole afternoon at the beach before in October. It’s quiet so you have it to yourself too. Win!
Try a new sport
Anything at all. Some parks have free tennis courts, football goals or basketball hoops. Take a ball and have some fun.
Search your local groups to find a fete. Many are free to enter and they are great just for a nosy around.
We lose hours in our local one. From running around the gardens to just mooching around the shelves.
Use your local library
Goldmine! From free craft activities to singing groups and free books, we spend at least one Saturday afternoon in ours. You can also try any library in your county!
Mine has a small soft play that you pay a £1 deposit that you get back every hour. There’s loads like this around and worth a search.
Explore your community
We’ve lived in our house for over three years and still don’t know all the shortcuts or the best places to go puddle jumping. Explore. Go down that path you’ve never been down, or, even better, let the kids pick the direction and see where you turn up!
Visit a local museum
There’s so many around and many are free if you live in the postcode. Mine love the Navy Barracks we have here and run freely round under the tunnels as much as they like. Perfect for a rainy day.
Have a film day
Pop the corn, make some cakes or even a milkshake and choose a film. Anything goes and everyone can have a chance to pick.
Have a picnic
Nothing says rainy days like a family picnic inside. We get the blanket out, grab the bowls and the food goes in. We makeup where we are i.e on a beach or in a field and go from there.
From collecting for our local food bank to pick up trash, it doesn’t matter. It teaches the kids a kind lesson in helping others but also keeps them amused all day doing something they wouldn’t normally do.
Clear out (masked as a fashion show)
This is one of the kids favorites. I pull everything out I want to get rid of and they model it for me. I get to see if it still fits and they get to dress up. Win!
The lights go out, the torches come out and we boogie in the living room.
Use your recycling to model build or stick stickers on each other. I normally set a theme, like pirates and then we go crazy making each other hats and eye patches etc
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Best on a clear night, but with the winter coming, you don’t even have to stay up late. By 6 pm most of the stars can be seen. We use a stargazing up to find the moon and name the consolations.
Lay down and look up. What can you see? What shapes are the clouds making? Can you all see the same shape? It’s a real laugh trying to get each other seeing the same thing.
There absolute favorite activity of all. I give them a bowl of water and let them go crazy. Yes, it normally ends in a water fight and a very wet kitchen, but they love nothing more than washing up all there play plates.
If you have never tried a no-spend weekend, I challenge you to try it. This weekend, I challenge you to spend no money at all. Sit down with your family and map out your weekend. You might enjoy it more than you think.
***Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with bobatoo.co.uk. Please refer to our Disclosure Statement for further information. ***