Fun, cheap things to do with the kids

Check out our budget-beating, sanity-preserving tips on keeping the children entertained.

Free coaching

There's plenty of places that offer free sessions from Apple's workshops for eight to twelve-year-olds to demonstrations from Hobbycraft, while Pets at Home offer workshops for animal lovers. Those with energy to burn should investigate their local 2k park runs, free tennis coaching or next-to-nothing football coaching through the FA. The National Trust also produces a list of child-friendly walks and cycle paths. Finally, check out galleries and museums for freebies.

Cinema on the cheap

Turn your lounge into a cinema. Grab a bunch of DVDs from your library, draw the curtains, dim the lights and snuggle up with some homemade popcorn. If you prefer the real deal - cinemas offer special deals during school holidays: Vue, Cineworld and Odeon all have tickets at around £2.

Dine like royalty

It's hard enough to get them to eat what you've made (wrong shape, texture and taste, when yesterday it was their favourite). Getting kids involved in making a meal can do wonders for their enthusiasm to eat it. Simple dishes like chicken satay are easy for little helpers. And, if it turns into a disaster, then eat out but at discount prices using deals from VoucherCodes.

Bowled over - for less than a tenner

A trip to your local Tenpin bowling is always a great outing for the kids and an even better opportunity for you to try and keep a lid on your more competitive nature… It is also, if you plan in advance, a great place to find family discounts and meal deals. STRIKE!

Crafty beggars

Get crafty with the kids and make everything from bath bombs to origami animals or even bird feeders for the garden. Try this great online tutorial for creating homemade bath bombs. Or for something simpler, just invest in some glow-in-the-dark play-doh and let your kids loose with it. Try your local pound shop for any crafty bits and pieces that you might need.

If you're feeling brave, you can even do your own science experiments with the kids, such as growing edible crystals, creating a tornado or making a soap sculpture. It's a fun and cheap way to teach them some basic science lessons too!

Head banging at home

Turn your lounge into a disco by popping in a rotating disco bulb, add some pound shop glow sticks, flashing fairy lights and UV face paints. Your kids will have a great party and you'll get to keep them entertained for a few hours for next to nothing!

Run away

If you're desperate for an escape, try Family Break Finder, supermarket loyalty cards, cereal boxes, or voucher sites such as LittleBird, Groupon or Wowcher for inspirational deals.

What a treat

What about organising a home-based treasure hunt? Hide counters around the house and swap for small treats. Better still, get exploring with the new trend of Geocaching.

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