The manager of the Lisburn Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre shares tips on how to captivate the kids on a budget

Lots of parents will be trying to limit spending money on activities, food and outings this summer.
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With the cost of food and other essentials having soared over the past year, finding free things to do with the kids is going to be a priority for lots of families this summer. Here are some money saving tips to keep kids entertained this summer.

Create a theme day

Most of us have heard about theme parks, but how about having a theme day at home? ‘Dinosaur day’ could involve wearing your favourite dino outfit all day, eating like a T-Rex or stomping and roaring in the park. Maybe a ‘fairy’ themed day would involve lots of singing, crafting or building homes for garden bugs. Themes can shape the whole day, from what you eat, where you go and what you do. We’ll leave it up to you and the kids to choose a theme they love.

Paul Bailie CAP Manager Lisburn. Pic Credit: CAPPaul Bailie CAP Manager Lisburn. Pic Credit: CAP
Paul Bailie CAP Manager Lisburn. Pic Credit: CAP

Low cost meals

The school holidays can be a difficult time for many families. With the sudden break from free school lunches, it places an added burden on parents to budget for extra food. Why not ask the kids to help you create a summer holiday meal plan, working out what to buy and when, so that you can reduce food waste and cost? There are also a number of places that offer cheap or free children’s meals during the holidays, so it’s worth checking out what restaurants and cafes near you are offering.

Get active

Leisure centres are increasingly offering free summer sessions for children, so do contact your local centre to find out what’s on. Children also love creating their own obstacle courses, whether in the house or garden. Perhaps you can create a shooting range and use a water gun or hose to blast empty plant pots off a wall? Hopscotch is one of those underappreciated fun summer activities that’s a lot of fun.

Join your library’s summer reading challenge

If you haven’t already, join your local library – it’s free. Books can open a door into another world for both children and adults. As well as having access to hundreds of physical books and audio stories, lots of libraries run storytelling, craft or even Lego sessions. Most libraries will be taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge this summer – offering activities, competitions and even virtual awards for children to win.

Budget for summer

At Christians Against Poverty (CAP) we see the challenge that parents face over providing for their families whilst keeping their finances afloat. Budgeting is a great way to prepare for the summer holidays. An online search can lead you to useful budgeting tools. If you or someone you know is financially struggling or in debt, there’s help and hope. Call CAP on 0800 328 0006 (free of charge) or find out more at

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Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity working with over 800 affiliated churches to deliver debt help, budgeting guidance, support to find work, life skills groups and more. Visit to find out more.