The summer holidays are here! The teachers are rejoicing, the parents are already pulling their hair out and we are all sat wondering what cheap things to do with children in Northampton, to keep us all sane.

The summer holidays are a notoriously expensive time of the year. We are all expected to make each year’s summer holiday full of excitement and adventure, but in all honestly this costs us dearly. When autumn comes around it is not only our minds that are drained, but our pockets are too!

This year we have a “jar of treats” whereby at least once a week we pick a proper (costs money) day out, out of a jam jar. This can be anything from a film they want to watch at the cinema or a trip to the zoo. Anything they say “I want to” on the run up to the holidays gets written down and saved.

Being a single mum of junior twins, I have become a dab hand at keeping costs low and finding things to occupy the kids without breaking the bank. So I thought it was only fair to share some of the things that we do, that they love, but also saves me money.

  1. Take a picnic to a local stream.

Picnics are fab, but as we know the attention span of our children is zero. We tend to head up to Evenly Wood Gardens, where they have a shallow stream that the girls will happily play in for hours!

  1. Explore the local parks

There are so many lovely parks in Northamptonshire. We find some of the villages are better than the bigger ones in town. Our favourites are Greens Norton, Tiffield and Milton Malsor.

  1. Join the National Trust or English Heritage.

For just over £5 a month we get to enjoy many grand houses, gardens, historical monuments and parkland as often as we like. Parking is also free and if you go up to the North Norfolk coast, some of the car parks are owned by the National Trust saving you a small fortune.

  1. Join the local library

My two have spent many hours over the last few years, at our local library in Towcester. They tend to put on free classes and crafts for the kids over the holidays and have a book challenge where all the local schools compete to see who reads the most.

  1. Pavement Chalking

This sounds odd, but my two love nothing more than colouring the patio in different designs and pictures. Then in the evening we hose it down so they can start again the next day!

  1. Meet up for a play date.

It is always nice for the kids to meet up with their friends over the holidays. You could all take it in turns to host a play date where all the mums and children get together for the day.

  1. Go on an adventure

Pack a picnic, get in the car and go and explore that place you keep passing and wonder where it leads! We have found some of our favourite places by doing this and the kids think it’s fun, going somewhere new.

  1. Explore local woodlands

Places like Everdon Stubbs and Salcey forest actively encourage den making, bug hunting and general outdoor activities.

  1. Take a trip to the lakes

We have Rushden, Willen, Pitsford and Stanwick all easy accessible and a short car journey ride. The only thing you really have to pay for is the parking! Most of them have picnic and play areas for the kids.

  1. Hold family competitions.

Who can fill a matchbox with the most things? Who can draw the best picture of the family? Who can take the best photograph? If you need a bit of peace, you can challenge them to who can finish their reading book first? The list is endless.

Outdoor Family Photography in Northampton