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Parents reveal top tips for a fun summer with the kids – which don’t cost the earth

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Parents have revealed their top 10 tips for a fun summer with the kids – which don’t cost the earth.

A poll of 1,000 mums and dads with children aged between five and 16 found free museums, nature walks and water fights are among the top ways to keep youngsters entertained on a budget.

Many also swear by making the most of cheap cinema tickets to keep them busy on rainy days, while others camp in the garden to keep them occupied.

Others have been making the most of their resources around the home by setting up treasure hunts to keep them busy for hours – and away from their screens.

It also emerged parents spend an average of more than £500 over the six-week summer holidays entertaining their children.

But the rising cost-of-living is impacting parents’ finances, with six in 10 unable to spend as much as they would have liked on activities this summer.

The research was commissioned by Santander to highlight it’s online Financial Health Check and budget calculator, which includes a range of support and tips.

One parent, Tam from Greater London, has come up with a unique way to keep her kids entertained this summer, even when she is working full-time from home.

She said: “The summer holidays are always a challenge, especially when my partner and I are working full-time.

“My favourite activity is getting the kids to sort through all their toys and have a tabletop sale in the front garden.

“I’ll sit working in the kitchen at the front of the house, so can keep an eye on them, but they’re still getting that bit of independence that they long for.

“Decluttering, keeping the kids busy, and providing them with some holiday spending money – all at absolutely no cost!”

The research also revealed that overall, parents estimate their spend on fun activities over the summer increases by as much as 45 per cent compared to term time.

Mums and dads will spend nearly £50 on additional toys, books, and magazines to occupy their little ones’, as well as dishing out £44 on TV and movie costs and more than £75 on meals out.

Due to these additional costs, 61 per cent are worried about how much they will end up spending compared to previous years – and 49 per cent are concerned they will spend beyond their means.

However, 36 per cent have been preparing for the summer holidays by putting money aside for the sole purpose of keeping their kids busy over this six-week period.

The research, conducted via OnePoll.com, found bringing food from home (62 per cent) is the top tip when it comes to saving money on days out with the children over the holidays.

While 47 per cent search for discount codes to reduce prices.

More than half (56 per cent) also lean on friends and family for support more, with 34 per cent relying on the grandparents for a helping hand.

Of these, 39 per cent will ask them to take them out for the day when they need a break, and 26 per cent will look for financial help with the additional expenses.

Josie Clapham, director of financial support at Santander UK, said: “With the school holidays only a few days away and the cost-of-living still on the rise, many parents will be worried about the additional costs they will face this summer.

“For many, this year will be even trickier than before, so if you are feeling the pinch, you are not alone.

“That’s why we are offering free tools and support to help put parents mind at ease – allowing them to plan ahead and budget, while still making the most of their time with the kids this summer.”

Top 10 ways parents keep kids entertained in the Summer on a budget:

1.       Go to the beach

2.       Go to the park

3.       Nature walks

4.       Picnics

5.       Free museums

6.       Go swimming

7.       Go on a bike ride

8.       Go to the cinema

9.       Walk the dog

10.     Water fights

Santander’s budgeting advice:

1. Know your incomings and expenses.

Knowing what’s coming in and what’s going out of your bank account is the first step to keeping on top of your finances. Using a budget calculator is a great way to get a quick, simple view of your overall finances and discover where you might be able to save some extra cash.

2. Plan ahead.

If you’re worried about your financial situation, act now. Taking time out to prepare for more expensive periods, like the summer holidays or Christmas, is the best way to plan your spending, use your money wisely, and put your mind at ease. The Financial Health Check is a great tool to get started and completely free for anyone to use.

3. Every day is different.

It’s difficult to plan for absolutely everything that comes our way – particularly when it comes to personal finances. Putting away a small emergency “rainy day” fund helps to prepare for those unexpected, unplanned expenses, which none of us can plan for.

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