So we're five weeks into the school summer holidays and for some parents both their pockets and patience are being stretched to breaking point.
With most schools having at least one more week of holidays to go it can be tough finding ways to entertain your children without digging deeper.
According to research from Morrisons supermarket, parents with school age children have spent a staggering £1.5 billion so far during the first five weeks and the final total bill will rise to £1.8 billion by the time school starts.
When you break down the numbers this works out at £31.59 per child, per week, (based on nearly 10 million school age children), which covers everything from childcare to days out. So hardly surprising that 78) are worried about finding enough activities to keep their children amused and stop the average twice daily 'I'm bored' routine. But while some activities and trips like theme parks can put a big dent in your pocket there's still some free activities and events going on if you hunt around.
Free and fun stuff
• Head along to your local library to find out if it's hosting free story events or craft making sessions.
• Get creative with salt dough. My daughter loved this; costs pennies to make using a cup of salt and two cups of flour mixed with warm water and kids can paint their creations when 'air dry'.
• There's lots of free games and workshops at the Morrisons M Savers Summer Play Parks with events in Birmingham and Huddersfield still on over the next two weeks. You can find out more here.
• Grab a racquet and ball and find free tennis courts in your area. Go to www.tennisforfree.com
• Check local farms or fire stations for open days or your nearest lifeboat station if you're near the coast.
• Inspired by the Olympics? Try canoeing, horse riding or badminton for free when you swap points from 'Nestle' products like Smarties and fruit pastilles. Points can be redeemed until June 2013. Find out more at www.getsetgofree.co.uk