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How to keep the kids entertained this summer for the price of a theme park trip

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

The cost of a theme park trip this summer could pay for enough outdoor toys, days out and indoor entertainment to fill the whole of the summer holidays.

That’s according to the money saving team at who have shared the top activities and toys that you could spend that money on instead.

They priced up the cost of the average family theme park ticket, for two adults and two children, across a range of popular UK destinations, at around £115.

Instead of splashing that sum on just one day out, they say you can use that cash to keep your kids entertained all summer.

From a paddling pool and waterslide in the garden to a day out at a farm, crafty fun on rainy afternoons and trips to free attractions, there is something for everyone.

Darren Williams from said: “Theme parks are always busy over the summer months, but going to one isn’t a necessary part of the school holidays.

“If you’re strapped for cash then spending the money on some longer lasting entertainment is definitely worthwhile.

“We’ve priced up what else you can do if you want to avoid ride queues and opt for plenty of fun at home instead. From indoor toys to days out, there’s enough variety here to keep your summer busy.”

Outdoor fun:


Outdoor toys

If the weather’s nice, take to the garden, pump up the paddling pool and let the kids get soaked. Add in a water slide for some slippery fun and they’ll be entertained for hours.

When they start to get bored, simply turn on the hose and drench them. The added bonus is if your garden needs watering, it’ll get a good soaking along with the kids.

Approximate cost: £18 (pool) and £15 (water slide)



If you’re lucky enough to live close to the beach then you can have stacks of fun for free. On hot days pack a picnic, take a football, bucket and spade and swimming gear and you can easily spend the whole day enjoying the sunshine.

If you have great rock pools on your beach, then let the kids go exploring and see what creatures they can find hiding under the rocks.

And for something a little different, invest in a crabbing net and some bacon to use as bait to see how many crabs you can catch.

Cost: £2.50 (crabbing net) £1 (crabbing bait)


Country parks and stately homes

Some country parks and stately homes are council funded, and if they are, the only cash you’ll need is for the car park.  These can be a great day out – lots of open space, fresh air and fun things for your children to do.

Cost: FREE



Invest in a small planter and get growing simple vegetables such as radishes and tomatoes over the summer. For an even easier option, buy a hanging basket and a few strawberry plants. This easy activity will keep the little ones entertained and you’ll have something to show for it once the veggies have grown!

Approximate cost: £12


Park trips

Pack a picnic and spend the day at a park for a free day out with family. To make it a little more interesting, bring along a cricket set for the children to play with. For younger children, you could draw or download pictures of plants and animals to spot along your travels – a great free activity to keep them entertained.

 Approximate cost of cricket set – £13


City farms

For something a little different take a trip to a city farm. The kids will get to see the animals and you shouldn’t have to spend much, since many of these farms are free to enter and only ask for a donation.

Approximate donation – £5


Indoor entertainment:


If the weather isn’t great, get crafty at home. A paint set is one of the cheapest options available and is something you can use over and over again, making it a great option for those on a budget.

Approximate cost – £5


Crafty toys

Modelling toys are a fun way to get crafty without too much hassle. Children can create their own sculptures and it’s a toy they can come back to again.

For a less messy alternative, buy some foam letters and shapes and let younger children create their own pictures using these.

Approximate cost – Modelling clay £10 for a set and foam shapes £2.50 per container



Ideal for older children, a baking set is a fantastic way to spend a day indoors. Buy a packet mix for a cheap and easy treat, or opt for some fun shaped cookie cutters and make some simple sugar cookies that the kids can decorate.

If you’re worried about kids in the kitchen, pick up some plain biscuits at the supermarket and decorate these using icing instead.

Approximate cost – £3



Visiting a museum may sound dull, but today’s museums are anything but! Take a look and see what you can visit for free close to home. Most are interactive now so great for keeping little minds active. Also check out your local lifeboat house. They’re often open at set times and are happy for people to look around and answer any questions.

Approximate cost – FREE


Movie afternoon

Instead of heading to the cinema on a rainy day, have a movie afternoon at home. Invite round some friends, make a yummy batch of popcorn, turn off the phones and curl up with the kids to watch a great film. Pick one you already have, if not pop round to a neighbour and borrow something instead.

Approximate cost – £1 (popcorn)


Read a book

There’s always lots of summer activities and reading challenges on at the library during the summer, so head down and take part. It’s a great way to keep your kids interested in books during the summer, and you may get a quiet moment to read a few chapters too.

Approximate cost – FREE