Five cheap and free activities to please children during the school holidays

KEEPING the kids entertained during summer vacation can get expensive.

Sun Money’s OLIVIA MARSHALL explains how to find inexpensive or even free outings, meals and fun activities that won’t hurt the family’s finances.

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Keeping the kids entertained over summer vacation can get expensive, so check out these budget-friendly outingsCredit: Shutterstock

FREE OUTINGS

TAKING THE KIDS OUT doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Under-17s can see a West End show, including & Juliet and Jersey Boys, for free in August when an adult buys a full price ticket.

Learn more about official londontheatre.com/kids-week.

You can also visit a number of National Trust and English Heritage sites around the country for free, although you may have to pay for parking.

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A Blue Peter Badge will get your children free admission to attractions such as HMS Belfast and Whitby Abbey. Request a badge via bbc.co.uk.

Do you have a Tesco Club card? Parents can redeem vouchers up to three times their value to purchase tickets to Alton Towers, Legoland, Chessington World Of Adventures and more.

Getting the kids out doesn't have to cost a fortune - with plenty of ways to cut expenses

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Getting the kids out doesn’t have to cost a fortune – with plenty of ways to cut expenses

FREE CURRENCY

If you are having financial difficulty this summer, check with charities to see if help is available.

Many offer grants to help with household bills, clothing, and even vacations. Martin Lewis and his team of money-saving experts recommend using online tools to find grants you might be eligible for.

Turn2Us National Charity (turn2us.org.uk) has a “search for grants” feature on its website, where you can find out what support is available to you.

The Family Holiday Charity helps families get away during school holidays, but a social worker or teacher should recommend you.

FREE MEALS OR £1

From free kids' meals at Morrisons to all-you-can-eat buffets for kids under 16 at Brewers Fayre, Table Table or Beefeater pubs, there are tasty deals to be found

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From free kids’ meals at Morrisons to all-you-can-eat buffets for kids under 16 at Brewers Fayre, Table Table or Beefeater pubs, there are tasty deals to be foundCredit: Shutterstock

KIDS eat free all day at Morrisons cafes when adults buy a meal costing £4.99 or more.

Dobbies Garden Centers and Yo! Sushi also offers a free meal for kids when their parents shell out for a main course.

Spend £9.50 on an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at Brewers Fayre, Table Table or Beefeater pubs and two children under 16 can eat free.

Both Asda and Bella Italia have £1 meal deals for children.

Families visiting Ikea can get a meal from the children’s menu between 95p and £1.50 at its cafes.

If your child receives free school meals during the school term, they should be eligible for vouchers that you can spend in supermarkets.

Parents can usually claim between £15 and £30, but this can vary depending on where you live.

You should check with your local council as it may be some sort of postcode lottery.

Apply through the board’s website or through your child’s school.

£500 FOR DAYCARE

MORE than a million families could benefit from help with childcare costs during the summer holidays.

Tax-free childcare offers families up to £500 per child every three months. The money can be used for holiday clubs, before and after school clubs, childminders and nurseries.

You could get up to £1,000 if your child is disabled.

For every £8 you deposit into an online duty-free childcare account, you will receive an additional £2 topped up by the government. It is available for children up to the age of 11 or 17 for children with disabilities.

There are rules that determine whether you get tax-free child support. It depends on whether you work, how much you earn, your child’s age and your immigration status.

You can usually get tax-free child care if you or your partner are at work, on sick or annual leave or on shared parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave You can be eligible even if you are not working, as long as your partner is.

You must also apply for Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disability Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.

You can find out more about: www.gov.uk/tax-free-childcare.

FREE ACTIVITIES

PARENTS could save a few euros and keep the kids fit over the holidays by taking advantage of free swimming, cycling and gym lessons from their local council.

Both Brighton and Oxford councils offer these offers and you can find out what your council offers by referring to their website.

Also join your local library so kids can read books and use computers for free.

If you want to keep the kids busy at home while stimulating their brains, then Amazon Study might come in handy.

There are loads of free resources like workbooks on math and science topics for kids ages 5-16. You can take a look at what is available on Amazon Study online.

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SWITCH TO HSBC OR NATIONWIDE FOR A CASH GIFT

FREEBIE hunters have until midnight tomorrow to collect £170 by transferring their bank account to HSBC Advance.

After that, the bank removes its reward for new entrants, which is the most generous offer in months.

To get the money, you’ll need to be a new customer who hasn’t had an account with HSBC or First Direct since January 2019.

Collect your free money by going to the HSBC website and filling out the form to change your current account.

In order to be accepted for the Advance account you must qualify for an optional overdraft of £1000.

The account does not require you to pay a minimum monthly amount, but you must deposit at least £1,500 within the first 60 days to get your bonus.

You must also exchange at least two direct debits or standing orders. The Nationwide Building Society is also offering £100 to new customers who switch to its FlexDirect, FlexAccount or FlexPlus accounts.

If you already have a savings account or mortgage with Nationwide, you can get a higher bonus of £125. You will need to move at least two direct debits.

With the FlexDirect account, you can also earn 5% interest on a balance of up to £1,500 in the first year if you pay at least £1,000 per month. MoneySavingExpert.com has found a loophole through which you can get the full £125 bonus – even if you’re not yet a Nationwide member. To do this, open one of the three accounts offering the bonus, but do not ask to change your existing current account.

Instead, wait a day after receiving confirmation that your new account is open. You cannot get the bonus by switching from one Nationwide checking account to another.

But if you already have a Nationwide current account as well as an account with another bank, you can switch the other to Nationwide to get the £125.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at comparison site Moneyfacts, said: “Switching is easy, but it’s essential to compare all benefits and fees to ensure they meet the customer’s needs.”

Sara H. Byrd