In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, many parents will be looking for budget-friendly ways to keep their kids entertained.

According to Equifax, the average parent spends £323 during half-term which is why Ocean Finance wanted to find more cost-effective ways to keep youngsters occupied.

Personal finance experts at the loans, credit card and mortgages business have shared seven activities that won’t break the bank during the school holidays.

Go to the movies (on the cheap)

Dudley News: During school holidays you can take advantage of cheaper movie screenings. Picture: CanvaDuring school holidays you can take advantage of cheaper movie screenings. Picture: Canva

Given the recent unpredictable weather, you may need a weather-proof option - the cinema is an ideal but often pricey answer to this problem.

However, during the school holidays, you can take advantage of cheaper screenings. This usually means going quite early in the day, but this could save you money at these cinemas around the country:

Cineworld’s ‘Movies for Juniors’ screenings cost £2.50 for a child.  

'Odeon Kids' runs a deal where the adults pay the same price as a child, with the deal running every day during the school holidays as well as every Saturday and Sunday. 

Vue has ‘Mini Mornings’ screenings from 10 am during the school holiday. Both adult and child tickets cost just £2.49 each.

2 for 1 entry at top UK attractions

Dudley News: The National Rail promotion allows you to get two entry tickets for the price of one at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort. Picture: PAThe National Rail promotion allows you to get two entry tickets for the price of one at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort. Picture: PA

Did you know that the National Rail runs a 2 for 1 promotion all year round? If you buy a train ticket, you’ll get two entry tickets for the price of one at a huge number of attractions around the UK, such as Thorpe Park Resort, Cadbury World, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, SEA LIFE, and Chessington World of Adventure Resort.

You can also find a helpful guide on purchasing cheap train tickets on the Ocean Finance website.

Family-friendly events at your local library

Dudley News: Borrow books, audio books, DVDs and more from your local library. Picture: CanvaBorrow books, audio books, DVDs and more from your local library. Picture: Canva

Books are the ultimate all-around activity. They’re entertaining, help your children learn and are completely weather-proof (the art of reading anyway, don't leave your books out in the rain).

Libraries also mean you can borrow for free or read in a quiet free-to-access environment, cutting costs down even further.

Not only that, many host family-friendly events for free over the school holidays. Check out their website or social media pages for more information.

Pack a picnic and explore a new green space

Dudley News: Make the most of fine weather by heading out for a picnic. Picture: CanvaMake the most of fine weather by heading out for a picnic. Picture: Canva

Research has shown getting outside and enjoying green spaces can do wonders for a little one’s cognitive development, as well as helping to develop their social skills and promote good mental wellbeing.

If the weather permits, few activities are as rewarding as taking a walk (or even a cycle) up one of the UK’s many hills and mountains.

Depending on the fitness and adventurous spirit of your family, there are short ascents or more strenuous treks up the nation’s biggest summits. You can also go for a coastal walk or woodland adventure if you’re not feeling inclined for an incline.

Packing a picnic will also help keep costs down, and snacks and drinks are essential for any lengthy jaunt. Always remember to check the weather beforehand and make sure you have the right standard of equipment for the discipline of your activity.

Explore your local free museum

Dudley News: The Natural History Museum is just one of many museums you can visit for free. Picture: PAThe Natural History Museum is just one of many museums you can visit for free. Picture: PA

Many museums host free events over half term, which is ideal for the days the weather dousn't play ball. Here are some examples around the UK:

  • London – The Science Museum or the Natural History Museum
  • Manchester – The Museum of Science & Industry or The National Football Museum
  • Edinburgh – National Museum of Scotland
  • Cardiff – National Museum
  • Liverpool – World Museum or the Maritime Museum
  • Birmingham – Museum and Art Gallery
  • Newcastle – Discovery Museum or the Great North Hancock Museum

Join the National Trust

Dudley News: National Trust properties are a great place to reconnect with nature: Picture: PANational Trust properties are a great place to reconnect with nature: Picture: PA

Did you know that National Trust attractions make up over 500 days out across the UK – with many running family-specific events?

These provide you and your kids with learning experiences, as well as absorbing nature and the UK’s rich history.

Family membership is £133.80 a year, which can be paid out as a single annual payment or £11.15 monthly.

That gives two adults at the same address free entry to any site, along with up to 10 of their children or grandchildren.

It’s £83.40 a year or £6.95 a month for a family membership with one adult. Membership means you can make massive savings versus paying on the day.

Free kids meals at these 10 restaurant chains

Dudley News: Many restaurant chains have special offers on kids' meals. Picture: CanvaMany restaurant chains have special offers on kids' meals. Picture: Canva

The following restaurants are running various offers allowing children to eat for free, or for £1, with an adult that pays full price for their meal:

ASDA
One child can eat for free if an adult spends £4 or more. Available after 3:00pm, Monday to Friday.

Hungry Horse
One child can eat for free if an adult buys a breakfast costing at least £2.99. Available 8:00am-12:00pm every day.

M&S Café
One child can eat for free if you spend £5 or more. Available all day.

Morrisons
One child can eat free if an adult spends £4.50 or more. Available after 3:00pm.

The Real Greek
One child can eat for free for every £10 spent on an adult meal. Available on Sundays only.

YO! Sushi
Kids can receive one free meal for every £10 spent on an adult meal. Available 3:30pm – 5:30pm, Monday to Thursday.

Bella Italia
Kids eat for £1 with the purchase of every adult main course. Available between 4:00pm – 6:00pm Monday to Thursday.

Café Rouge
Kids eat for £1 when you order an adult main meal. Available from Monday 30th May until Friday 3rd June 2022.

Angus Steakhouse
Kids under 10 can eat for free from the children’s menu when an adult orders a meal. Available every day between 12:00pm – 5:00pm.

Sizzling Pubs
Kids can enjoy a meal for £1 when you order an adult main meal. Available Monday to Friday, between 3:00pm – 7:00pm.

Make sure you read the terms and conditions before visiting the restaurant.