School’s out – money-saving summer activities
With the summer holidays fast approaching (yay!), it’s time to break out the sun cream and the sunglasses and plan some fun family activities. But 6 weeks’ worth of entertaining the kids can become costly, and what about those rainy days? Worry not, we have lots of purse-friendly ideas for you, as well as some great rainy-day activities.
Making your own ice cream is a great activity to get the kids involved with – and can save you money when you hear the advance of the ice cream van music too. And one of the best benefits of making your own (other than saving the pennies) is that you know exactly what goes in it – so there’ll be no hidden nasties. And you can make ice cream to suit all dietary needs, like vegan ice cream using almond milk.
Don’t have an ice cream maker? Try our super-simple (and super-delicious) no-churn ice cream recipe. There are only 3 ingredients, and it takes mere minutes to make. What are you waiting for?
Quick Strawberry Ice Cream
- 500g Frozen strawberries
- 1 large tub of Greek-style yoghurt
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- The key is frozen fruit – if you don’t fancy strawberries, it works just as well with blueberries, raspberries or mangoes.
- Throw your frozen fruit into the food processor with some Greek-style yoghurt and a squeeze of honey.
- Blend it all up and Bob’s your uncle – there’s your ice cream. You can have it straightaway or store it in the freezer until you want it.
Once you’ve made your delicious ice cream, the real fun begins. You could set up an ice cream station, like you get at some restaurants, with sprinkles and toppings in different bowls, and sauces too if you fancy. The kids (and big kids) can then enjoy building their own ice cream sundaes.
Alternatively, you can get some ice cream cones and flakes and set up your own ice cream van. This one can keep the kids entertained for hours – perfect for a rainy day. You can either use a table and your imagination, making an ice cream van sign to stick to the table and maybe even a paper hat for the server. Or, you could really go to town and use old cardboard boxes to create an ice cream van – it depends how artistic you and the little ones are feeling on the day.
Making your own ice lollies is a great option for hot days, and is really cost effective. Ice lolly moulds don’t cost much at all, and will see you through not just a summer, but years of lolly making. And if you fill them with your favourite fruit squash, they’ll literally cost pennies to make. They’re also a healthy alternative to ice cream, and you can add fresh fruit to your lollies too, making your lollies look as good as they taste. And as they’re so easy to make, the kids can do it themselves.
A pizza party in the garden is a delicious way to add some fun to a sunny day, and the kids can enjoy getting creative with decorating their pizzas with their favourite toppings – who hasn’t made a smiley face pizza in their time? If you make your own dough too, you can even make the prep part of the activity. Set up some outdoor games in the garden, maybe even the paddling pool – it is summer, after all – and you’ve got yourself a full, and delicious, day of fun. You’ll find lots of great pizza making accessories on our website.
While we adults are happy to walk for miles and simply enjoy being outdoors, the little ones sometimes need a bit more to keep them interested. You can make things more exciting by playing wildlife bingo. Create your own bingo cards (you can simply draw them with pencil, or make them on the computer) with different animals you’re likely to see on, as well as different trees and plants. Then see who can tick off the items on their card first. You can also play this in your garden.
Beat those rainy day blues
The weather doesn’t always play ball over the summer, so it’s best to have some rainy-day activities up your sleeve too.
A baking day is a great way to keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours – and you get to enjoy the delicious results too.
Try our easy yet delicious biscuit recipe, using any shaped cookie cutters you have in the drawer and decorate with icing, sweets, sprinkles, nuts – whatever you fancy. If you’re looking to update your cookie cutter selection, we have lots to choose from in store and online.
- 200g butter, softened
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 400g plain flour
- 2-4 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks, sieve in the flour and mix until well combined.
- Add enough milk to make a soft dough and bring together with your hands. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to approx. 1cm thick. Use your cookie cutters to cut out as many cookies as possible. Re-roll any leftover dough and stamp more cookies. Transfer to the lined baking sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly golden, then leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Once they’re cooled, you can munch them as they are, or decorate them. Enjoy!
We don’t know the science behind it (or if there is any) but lunch is immediately made more exciting when it’s on the ground. And there’s no need to deprive yourself of the fun of a picnic because it’s raining. Lay a blanket on the floor in your living or dining room, put out your sarnies, snacks and drinks as if it were a real picnic and tuck in. Depending on the age of your kids, you could invite their teddy bears along or their favourite dolls – just remember to include some plates and cups for them too! If they have a play kitchen set, you can use those rather than your ‘real’ stuff.