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Fun, free and low cost school holidays activities

The school holidays are fast approaching, but there’s still time to plan how you’ll keep your children active over the summer break.

Free holiday activity clubs

Your local authority should offer free holiday clubs in your area as part of the government’s Holiday Activities Food (HAF) Programme.

All eligible children should be offered the equivalent of at least four hours a day, four days a week, for four weeks across the summer.

Additionally, all providers must provide at least one healthy meal a day and physical activity for children who receive benefit-related free school meals.

Go to your local council’s website and search for HAF.

No-cost sports sessions

Many local councils fund free swimming for children and young people aged 18 and under, while some leisure centres offer free swimming vouchers. Contact them for more details.

There are 439 free junior park run events across the UK for children aged 4 to 14. The two-kilometre runs are held weekly, are free to join and are held in the great outdoors.

Cut-price cinema visits

Check with your local cinema if they have any cheap deals for school-age children over the summer holidays.

Vue Cinema offers children and family films with adult and child tickets costing £2.49 each. Their Mini Mornings are run every Saturday and Sunday morning from 10am plus every day in the school holidays.

Odeon cinemas offer a similar childrens’ screening deal on the weekends and during the school holidays, with tickets for just £2.75 each.

Use your local library

Your local library is likely to be running a summer reading challenge, which helps young children keep up with their reading over the break, as well as kids’ activity sessions.

Find your local library.

Head to a free festival

The consumer advice website, Money Saving Expert, has a list of free festivals and carnivals across the UK this year, which offer live music, food, arts performances, and more.

Try geocaching

Geocaching is like a global treasure hunt where people look for caches, or hidden stashes of objects and is great fun for older children.

You need a GPS receiver or a mobile phone and the Geocaching app. Basic membership is free and allows you to find basic geocaches and earn digital souvenirs.

Go fruit picking

Find your local, ‘pick your own’ fruit farm by doing a Google search, and spend the day out in nature collecting fruit.

The Days Out With The Kids website has lists of fruit picking farms near cities including London and Birmingham, which are ideal for city dwellers.

Get crafting

Children can learn and develop skills by making crafts pieces. Young ones will love making a  fairy door out of wooden lolly sticks, sequins and pompoms, which could be added to trees or fences.

Another fun craft project is painting rocks with ladybird designs or making funky, painted wind chimes made from sticks for the garden or create a smaller indoor version.

The charity and theatre company, Tall Stories, has free downloadable children’s  activities around the theme of children’s books, including The Gruffalo and Elmer. They include printable colouring-in and dot-to-dot activity sheets, and recipe activities.

Be active indoors

If the weather isn’t great, get children to burn off energy with an online exercise video.

British fitness coach Joe Wicks has around 30 YouTube videos of workouts to do at home, which are free to watch and between five and 10minutes in length.

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