Living for the weekend: Family fun that won’t break the bank

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The weekend finally arrives and you’re ready to spend some quality time with the family. Fun family days out don’t have to cost the earth – with a bit of imagination, you can have a brilliant time without spending a small fortune.

Here are seven ideas for some frugal family fun:

  • Create your own home cinema. With ticket prices rising, not to mention the cost of popcorn, drinks and other snacks, a trip to the cinema for a family of four can be an expensive night out. Instead, rent or buy a new movie, buy some microwave popcorn, dim the lights, and enjoy a family movie night in the comfort of your own living room.
  • Go for a walk. Explore some of England’s green and pleasant land for a fun day out with minimal spend. Head to a country park or follow a woodland trail, follow a footpath through the Dales or climb a hill for a magnificent view.
  • Explore local museums. The UK is full of free entry museums, large and small, waiting for you to visit. Have a fun day out with the kids and learn something new at the same time. London isn’t the only place offering cool museum experiences – the National Media Museum in Bradford, the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester are on the northern doorstep.
  • Have a bake-off. Bake cakes, biscuits, cupcakes, scones – whatever you fancy! Get stuck in to some fun recipes, see who’s got the best decorating skills and then tuck into the fruits of your labour. All for the cost of some simple ingredients.
  • Crack out Monopoly – or Scrabble, or Cluedo, or any other board game collecting dust in the cupboard. Board games are a fantastic way to spend rainy afternoons, and bring the family together for some competitive fun. If you want to spice things up, why not play for sweets or a ticket to getting out of washing-up duties?
  • Spend the day at the park. Pack a picnic, a football or rounders set and head out into the fresh air. Enjoy a nice al fresco lunch then burn it by off by hosting your own family tournament, be it a race, football match or hide and seek. You could even fashion your own family cup, Ross and Monica from Friends-style.
  • Go out in the garden. Many hands make light work – and getting everyone involved in maintaining flower beds, vegetable patches and greenhouses makes it more fun. Plant some seedlings, clear a space for growing herbs or make habitats for local wildlife, like hedgehogs.
  • Make family scrapbooks. Turn those boxes of family photos, holiday souvenirs and ticket stubs into something everyone can be proud of and spend the day making fun collages in a scrapbook. It will clear some space, and make family memories even more accessible.