Skint Dad

Things to do with the family in autumn

Skint Dad shares a whole host of thrifty activities to see you and your family through the colder months.

With autumn well and truly upon us, misty mornings, colder days and even darker evenings are commonplace. Now as much as I like the hot summer months, it’s the latter months of the year I really enjoy. Weirdly I prefer a cold morning to any other time of the year.

Another thing that autumn can bring – especially for kids – is boredom. Summer is a distant memory and Christmas is too far away. Plus, with the longer nights there isn’t much of an opportunity to play with friends and so instead they want to do things that involves spending money (well mine do).

With this in mind I’ve put together a list of things you can do with the family that won’t break the bank, and in some cases may be completely free.

Go Camping

If you like the great outdoors and you’re on a budget then camping could be just right for you. Look on eBay or to local ads for camping equipment and then start planning your adventure. A great site is pitchup.com where you can find over 6000 camp sites and get an instant quote!

You’ll be singing songs and roasting marshmallows around a log fire before you know it.  

Geocaching

Do you fancy yourself as Indiana Jones or Lara Croft hunting for long lost treasure? Well perhaps that would be a bit of a stretch but you can do the next best thing and that is geocaching.

Geocaching in simple terms is a real world treasure hunt. You use GPS enabled devices (you can use an app on your smartphone as well) to navigate to a set of coordinates where you will find a geocache (container) at that location.

It’s really great fun and you can spend hours and hours hunting the thousands of caches that are hidden all over the country and even the world!

Make cash at a car boot sale

With your children helping out, spend a few evenings sorting the house and garage of all those items you no longer need. Once you’ve got a decent amount of items head to your local boot sale on a Saturday or Sunday morning to make some quick cash. Why not negotiate splitting the profits to get the kids really eager?

Most boot sales charge around £10 for a pitch but if you’ve got a decent amount of stuff you can easily make your money back within a sale or two. If you’re not sure where your local car boot is taking place check out carbootjunction.com who list most of them.

Fly a kite

With the blustery autumn weather it’s the perfect time to head out with the children and do some serious kite flying! Whether you buy a kite or make your own one with everyday household items, you are sure to have some serious autumn fun.

If you are going to attempt to make your own version then check out the guide on instructables.com. Here they’ll show you how to make a kite out of a garbage bag.

Appear on TV

Instead of sitting indoors on a cold autumn evening get yourself in the audience of your favourite TV shows. Completely free of charge, lots of TV production companies offer free tickets for seats. Whether you want to go see the X Factor auditions, be in the crowd for a Big Brother eviction or watch the latest series of your favourite game show being filmed, you have the opportunity to do so.

To get hold of the tickets you’ll have to sign up (for free), to a few different websites such as Lost in TV, Applause Store and SRO Audiences and apply for them as they come available.

Visit museums

Autumn is known for its wet and windy weather but that shouldn’t stop you doing interesting things with the family. Up and down the country there are a plethora of museums which will give you and your family the chance to learn about science, fashion, nature and lots more.

If you live near London you have the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the National Gallery you can visit completely free of charge! To check out the museums near you check out museumsassociation.org.

Fruit picking

If you fancy a blackberry or apple crumble then autumn is the best time to get fruit picking. Whether you’re on a long walk and come across some wild blackberry bushes or you’ve gone specifically to pick some apples, make sure you take a decent size container with you or some strong bags so you can pick as many as possible.

Then when back at home, head to the kitchen and make a delicious pudding for after dinner. You could even keep some back to make jams, chutneys or even a fresh smoothie.

Whatever time of the year, there is no need to spend loads of money to keep you and your family entertained and having fun. Just remember to wrap up warm with a scarf and gloves and make sure there is plenty of hot chocolate in the store cupboard so you can warm up with a treat when you're back home.