However, entertaining on a shoestring needn't be a chore, and as variety is the spice of life, try planning something active and different to usual. There are a great selection of kids activities out there that are either free or require very little money, and here are 5 examples.
1. Go Geocaching
This is a family-friendly treasure hunt that uses GPS on mobile phones and other devices to find hidden boxes around the country. The children will become engrossed in both the searching and the swapping of trinkets when the Geocache is found. As well as being totally free, kids will benefit from the walking exercise, and will love exploring new and interesting places. It can become pretty addictive, and has the potential to become the favourite new hobby of all of the family.
2. Fly a kite
Simple, but effective. Surprisingly, many children have never even tried to fly a kite before, so will probably really enjoy the new challenge. The fun of learning the skill is almost as rewarding for them as the success of seeing their kite sailing high in the wind. The beach is a great location for this activity, but any open space will work, depending on the wind level.
3. Martial Arts lesson
Most clubs offer a free trial lesson with no obligation. This one is great for those rainy days when the kids complain there just isn't anything fun to do. Surprise them with an action-packed experience in martial arts and watch as they get completely engrossed. They'll be demonstrating the moves and excitedly talking about the great time they had there for weeks.
4. Garden centre fun days
Use social media and local newsletters to keep an eye on garden centres' schedules, as they often run free activities ranging from pet-handling and nature trails to crafts and storytellers. Activities are usually seasonal, or based on themed days like Halloween and Mother's Day, so don't forget to book the children in early.
5. Go cycling
Plan a family bike ride and picnic, and enjoy the scenery as the kids get some valuable exercise. There are many locations suitable for days out with the bikes in the UK, such as paths around lakes and rivers, cycle tracks and forests trails. There's something liberating about riding in the countryside, so embrace it, and enjoy some fresh air and quality time with the children.
These suggestions are great for the kids to get stuck into, and they come with the added bonus of healthy exercise. They can also all be carried out on a tight budget, so add them to a 'things to do' list, and save some hard-earned pennies as the children switch off the TV and become passionate about their new interests.