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Cheap and Cheerful ideas to Beat the Budget

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6f44d5809e811196e80820b66ca5fb74.jpgThe school holidays needn't be about doing lavish, expensice days out. It's great to get out and about with the children (to stop you tearing strips off each other) but do not fear! - there are lots fo cheap options on our doorstep too. So have a look at one of these suggested FREE activities to keep your family entertained this Spring.

1. Nature Trail

Have you tried the GruffaloSpotter App yet? It's a great way to turn a walk into an exciting adventure! Free too!  The Gruffalo Spotter app has been designed for exclusive use at 26 forests across England where visitors can join the adventure through the deep dark wood. The trail is now open at the Wyre Forest near Kidderminster. Read more here.

Worcester Woods Country Park and Severn Valley Country Park are both great free places to get some fresh air. Both have open spaces – perfect for kite flying -a Visitor Centre with cafe facilities, and adventure play area. Kinver Edge, maintained by the National Trust, has a lovely natural play area hidden in the forest – follow the signs for the Adder Trail. The national trust at Clent Hills also regularly run nature trails for children. There's a Natural Playground tucked behind the cafe at Nimmings Wood where children can make dens to their heart's content!

Suggestions on Facebook: “Baggeridge Park, Severn Valley Country Park and Birches Valley are great” Helen Gamble

2. Geocaching
Turn your family walk into geocachi.jpga real adventure. Geocaching is a treasure hunt for the digital generation. All you need is a smart phone (download the app) or handheld GPS and a sense of fun. The geocache that you’re searching for is a small waterproof treasure box hidden outdoors. The cache could be hidden anywhere, and disguised with leaves and camouflage tape! The National Trust have hidden 8 caches at Clent and if you do them all at once it would take around 2 hours. There are plenty of geocaches hidden by other people in the area too, and in fact all over the world! For more about geocaching have a read of our online article in www.raring2go/whats-on/features-and-articles.

3. Explore your Local Museums
We are blessed to have a lot of great, family friendly museums on our doorstep, offering free entry. The Red House Glass Cone in Stourbridge holds free themed trails for children each school holiday – so if we have a damp summer, you know where to head! Plus, the Jam Club (Run by Dudley Museums) hosts a free family craft club on Saturday afternoons, so you can leave all the mess behind!

Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum also offers free entry. It’s housed in a beautiful Victorian building in the centre of Worcester, so easy to get to by train and each school holiday they hold activities for children. 

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is also easily accessible by train. Children will be fascinated bike-200.jpgby the story of the Staffordshire Hoard. The free exhibition is packed with swords, costumes, gold, incredible treasure from Anglo-Saxon times and a video of the battle enactment. 

4. You can’t beat Coventry Transport Museum for a fantastic free day out for all the family. Easy to get to in the centre of Coventry, it has the world’s largest collection of British road transport. You can get up close to actual vehicles from some of history’s most important moments. Children will come face to face with Royal cars, military vehicles, and cars that played vital parts in their drivers’ life stories – including the current Land Speed Record holding vehicle, ThrustSSC, which lives at the Museum. Experience what it’s like to travel through the sound barrier at over 760mph in the ThrustSSC Simulator! There’s a child friendly restaurant at the museum too.

5. The Royal Air Force Museum in Cosford offers a great day out for the family. Situated next to an active airfield, this is the only place in the Midlands where you can get close to so many breath-taking aircraft for free, including all three V Bombers; the Vulcan, Victor and Valliant. The museum often runs activities during school holidays so worth checking out their website. There’s a restaurant on site so you really could spend all day there! It’s easy to get to by train as the station is right next to the Air Force base.

“I definitely recommend RAF books.jpgCosford, Bewdley Museum, Red Cone and Bantock House ( Wolverhampton)” Gaby Roe on Facebook

6. Support your Local Library
Your local library shouldn’t be overlooked. Many local libraries run regular, free, term time sessions, like Family Reading Groups or Rattle and Rhyme sessions for little ones, so it’s worth calling them to find out what’s on offer. The Summer Reading Challenge this year is called Animal Agents, and is illustrated by Horrid Henry author, Tony Ross. Children are encouraged to read 6 books over the summer to collect stickers and rewards. There are prizes to be won too!  

“Worth checking your local library’s events too.” Karen Hartland on Facebook.

7. Go on a Bike Ride
The area is rich with potential routes for a family bike ride. As long as you wear the right clothing, there's no reason why the bikes should be locked away all winter. It gives us all a blast of fresh air and fitness and is free - just need to stash a packet of biscuits in your rucksack!  Cannock Chase, Wyre Forest, Arrow Valley, Dudmaston Hall, Tudor Grange Park, all have bike trails.

Use the website GoSkyRide to look up organised local family bike rides in your area, or seek out new routes using the Sustrans biking website.

" We enjoy cycling on the Old Railway Track that runs from Wall Heath through Wombourne on to Penn. (South Staffordshire Railway Walk)" Laura Harris on Facebook.

8. Make Lunch: local community hub, Simply Limitless Wellbeing Centre, run a scheme called 'Make Lunch' for families that struggle to provide a hot meal during the school holidays. 

9. Mummy Mornings
These are the perfect opportunity to meet other parents. Have a chat and a cuppa whilst your children play. Craft activites are themed each week and entry is free! Meet at Eat Central in intu Merry Hill  each Tuesday morning at 10am.

Thanks to all our Facebook contributors!

If you have ideas for free or cheap things to do with your family, please share them! Email me here.

Sally Walters

Sally Walters

Editor of Raring2go! Kidderminster & Stourbridge since 2008. Local font of knowledge. Mother of two and wife of one.

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Raring2go! KidsZone

Raring2go! KidsZone

Over the weekends and holidays there are always times when your children need some chill out time, or to fill an hour or so, or they say the dreaded 5 letter word - BORED! Well, our KidsZone is here to rescue you and them from these moments. Full of puzzles, colouring in sheets and activities from films and programmes there is lots to keep busy!