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Walk the dog. Borrow a dog if you haven't got one.Go fishing.Go swimming.Visit a science museum/planetarium/sewage works
A lot of things cost money and give you little in return, but just going somewhere new and exploring can create lasting memories for free (or for the cost of bus travel) - enjoying being together while doing something new is often where the best value is found. Buses are expensive too, of course, so consider cycling as a way of getting around, getting second-hand bikes if necessary via the classified ads in a newspaper. (To be self-sufficient, all you need's a pump, enough spanners to be able to get the wheels off and on again, a spare inner tube for each wheel size involved, a set of tyre levers, plus a puncture repair kit in case you get multiple punctures.) Just being able to cycle (via quiet back streets and paths of various kinds) to the edge of town and then to wander through woodland or climb a hill can make a massive difference to quality of life. If there's any water about and a safe way to get out on it so that your children can do some rowing, then do that - they need to do things that take them out of their ordinary lives. Just finding a good tree to climb for ten minutes can be better than an entire beach holiday being toasted in the sun - if your daughter feels too old to be doing that, your son won't. Find out what's within range and budget by asking around. Go pitch and putting if there's anywhere near enough to do that where they don't charge the Earth. Visit a maze. Go to a pick-your-own fruit field and gather strawberries - it's not exactly a holiday, but it's a lot better than staying at home trying to have a substitute life on the Internet. It's in doing anything positive that's different from your humdrum normality that you can create value and make your children feel more alive.
Hey, about digging the garden and turning it into an activity centre your neighbours would envy?
There are various theories for best time for exercise, but these are generally for high intensity. For normal walking or running it is more a matter of convenience. I walk/run about 5km a day and try to do it early in day otherwise tasks get in the way and it gets squeezed - also itís cooler.Great walking nr you eg Roaches and lots of open country. Iíve walked & climbed a lot in the Peaks and there are great places for safe rock scrambling with kids.Woods are also great for kids, some of our local ones have set up areas for den building with lots of straight branches lying around. Lots to see as well, most woods have Muntjac if you know how to look, lots of other wildlife. Get the book Birdwatching with your eyes closed - thereís an mp3 goes with it - library should have it, great for getting kids to walk quietly and listen to what is out there.
The weather can be too "good" - it's best to stay in the shade through the middle of the day (the middle being after one o'clock where you are). If you're going out on hot sunny days, go up at first light and go out early, aiming to be home again by the end of the morning, then sleep through the middle of the day. Otherwise, evening's are good once it starts cooling down a bit. Where it's safe, cycling is much cooler than walking and lets you get to more interesting places without exhaustion.
Should have thought of this before, re school holidays. One of my lads works on an "open farm" where they grow, rear, slaughter, process, brew and cook everything that goes into the pub that's also on the estate. Fabulous day out for kids - they can feed the animals, ride around on wagons and ponies, muck about in the barns, learn about farming and food preparation, and get to eat real stuff they saw in the fields. Overnight camping too!