Free and cheap things to do with children this Easter 2023

Check out these free things to do with kids this Easter – there are lots of options out there for your family

School is out, which means parents are plotting how to keep the kids entertained for a week. Luckily, there are plenty of free and cheap activities for kids this Easter to keep the whole family happy.

Whether your child is fanatical about dinosaurs, a soon-to-be artistic genius or obsessed with animals that still walk the earth, there is bound to be something they will love on this list. And the best news of all: every single one of them will barely make a dent in your bank account. 

If you have to work and can’t take your kids out for the day, the options for online adventures and games days might just be perfect for your kids. 

We know the cost of living crisis is tough and it can be especially challenging for parents who have hungry mouths to feed and little ones to keep entertained. The school holidays bring a whole host of other worries – like no free school meals or a lack of childcare options. 

So here’s one worry to scratch off your list.

Go on an Easter egg hunt or trail

It wouldn’t be Easter without your kids rummaging around and hunting for chocolate Easter eggs. Organised hunts vary in price hugely but there are plenty being held across the country for free or for a small admission fee (with a little bit of digging). 


Many are hosted by museums, councils and libraries. Using Eventbrite, you can search for “Easter egg hunt” and filter the results to show events where you live and make them free. For example, on Easter Saturday in Queen’s Park in Bolton you will find a big Easter day out where you can hunt for enormous painted eggs alongside live music, games and competitions. 

And in Glasgow, there is the Great Easter Egg Hunt which takes place on April 27 over an entire 10-storey building in the City of Glasgow College. 

The National Trust is hosting some of the most egg-citing Easter hunts and trails this year, which mostly cost £3 per person. If you are a member of the National Trust, you can get admission to the site for free but you’ll have to pay a fee if you’re not a member and that can come to around £10 or more. 

There is also a giant Easter egg hunt (by which we mean actual, giant eggs) at RHS Garden Wisley just outside of Woking. Admission fees apply and can be quite expensive at £16.50 for an adult, but if you are a member of the RHS, you can go for free. It’s also only a £1 admission fee if you are getting universal credit, pension credit or employment support allowance.

Children under five can take part in the hunt for free too. Once your kids have found all the eggs, they will be rewarded with a free chocolate treat. There are also craft events and seed planting included in the price which kids will enjoy too. 

There are plenty of Easter trails hosted across the country for kids to enjoy too. There is the Gunnersbury Park and Museum trail in London which is on until April 16, every Tuesday to Sunday at 10am to 4:30pm. Your kids will have fun spotting all the different bunnies in the museum’s gallery cases.

Alternatively, you could host your own Easter egg hunt. You know the drill: hide eggs in your home or garden and set your kids free to hunt for them. A pack of chocolate eggs can be expensive (the cheapest we spotted was a small pack for 85p in Aldi), so you might want to craft your own eggs from things you already have in your cupboards or about to be thrown in recycling. 

This can be a fun Easter activity in itself, with your kids getting the chance to draw, colour and beautify their own eggs! You can always treat them to something sweet once they’ve collected all the eggs, but this way you will save yourself from buying mini chocolate eggs in bulk. 

Create your own Easter crafts or do junk modelling

Creating your own crafts is also a fun activity to do with the kids. And Easter time is the perfect opportunity. BBC Good Food has some fantastic ideas for kids like marbled decorative eggs and salt dough Easter decorations.

But when it comes to Easter crafting, you don’t need anything more than things you already have around the house. At The Big Issue, we collaborated with science teacher and writer Alom Shaha for some cheap and fun creations for kids as part of our Summer Survival Guide. Why not try to make his marvellous mini mangonel?

You could also do junk modelling. Challenge your children to create something from kitchen rolls, egg cartons, milk cartons and cardboard boxes which you have around your house. You might just have a creative genius on your hands. 

Free museums for kids

Many museums have free entry for some of their exhibits and can be a fantastic day out for kids. You could head to the Natural History Museum to walk among the dinosaurs, learn about weird and wonderful inventions at the Science Museum or head to the Tate Modern in London. 

There’s the wacky House of Marbles games factory in Devon, and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Money Saving Expert has a full list of free museums covering the whole of the UK. 

Free (or cheap) local farms

Many farms are run by charities so are free for families – although they might just ask for a small (voluntary) donation. Your little ones will adore seeing the animals, and they might even get a chance to pet or feed them. With Spring now here, chances are there will be a whole new set of baby animals to meet. 

Make sure to check your local farm before heading there to see how much it will cost. They might also be offering activities for kids over the Easter holidays, so keep an eye out.

Head to a national park

Sunnier weather is finally arriving and while it might still feel chilly, sometimes your kids need nothing more than running about in the grass to burn that cooped-up school holiday energy. Why not head to one of the UK’s beautiful national parks? Your kids could play hide and seek, climb trees and go wildlife spotting, and you could even have a picnic. Find out more here. 

Head to a toy library

Parents, you know the drill. Kids spend weeks begging for the popular new gadget before you finally cave, and then they are bored of it within hours of play. Instead of forking out the cash on new toys, why not seek out your local toy library?

There are more than 1,000 toy libraries across the UK, and they can usually be found by googling. The concept is simple – instead of borrowing books, you can pick and choose a toy to borrow from the library. They typically offer toys for all age groups and many run ‘stay and play’ sessions so children can spend time with a variety of toys. You’ll have to pay a small registration fee to become a member and borrow toys, but it’s much cheaper than buying new.

Create nature trail 

You can create a nature trail for your child. It’s as simple as plotting out a walk in your local area, of course somewhere green is ideal. Then, see if your kids can identify flowers and leaves while you’re out. You could also pick up some free paint swatch cards from home stores and paint shops and see if your child can find colour matches in nature to each one. You can find local woodland walks in your area through Forestry England.

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Go to a waterfall

Okay, so you won’t find many waterfalls in cities… But there are a lot across the UK which you can visit and enjoy. Your kids can experience some real beauty – and often for very little cash. Find a full list here, but make sure you check there’s no entry fee before you go. 

Free online adventures for kids

If you’re not able to take your kids on a day out (maybe you have to work at home and want to keep the kids busy), why not treat them to an online adventure? You can watch animals in zoos across the world in Houston or San Diego or visit aquariums in Baltimore and Monterey Bay online. You can also take virtual tours or look at exhibits from museums around the world such as the National History Museum, The Metropolitan, The Smithsonian or The Louvre

Free meals for kids this Easter

Some restaurants and cafes are providing options for children to eat for cheap or free. They include Asda Cafe, Morrisons Cafe, yosushi!, The Real Greek and Bill’s. There’s a link here for all the options available. 

Pay what you can for theatre and food

Plenty of organisations are running ‘pay what you can’ schemes – so you can just pay for what you can afford in the cost of living crisis. There are theatres across the country where you can just pay a small amount to get in – like the Nottingham Playhouse. Or you could get cheap food at ‘pay what you can’ restaurants and cafes – like those run by the Real Junk Food Project. 

Have a film night

You could have a film night, making the room cosy with duvets and pillows. You could make your favourite film snacks with your kids beforehand, and get them to create paper tickets to the film so it becomes a home cinema. 

There are usually plenty of kids films running on TV throughout the summer holidays, so keep an eye out for your favourites and any of the classics! Your local library should also have a selection of dvds you can borrow if you’ve got a DVD player.

Have a games day

A games day is a great way to keep the kids entertained and busy this Easter. Dig out your favourite family games and puzzles from the back of the cupboard and get into the competitive spirit! You can swap games with a neighbour or friend for ‘new’ games that don’t cost you anything. Get your kids to create their own mini olympics with all their favourite games.

Sign your kids up to a free holiday activity club

If you need to get your youngsters out of the house or you have to work and need childcare, why not sign them up for a holiday club? Many activity groups run by local councils will be free of charge or cheap for families. There might be football or sports clubs, arts and drama classes and play schemes. It’s also worth checking if there are discounts if your child attends for a full week or subsidies for low-income families. Find out more on your local council’s website.

Save money with discounted days out

Families can get vouchers for seriously discounted days out this Easter. Through National Rail, you can get two-for-one tickets at some of the UK’s biggest attractions. National Rail also lists free attractions in the capital which your youngsters will love this Easter. 

Some attractions offer discounts for low-income families. If you get universal credit, working tax credit, child tax credit, employment and support allowance, income support or jobseeker’s allowance, the whole family can go to London Zoo for £3. 

Cook a cheap meal with your kids or bake some Easter treats

Cooking with your kids can be great fun (once you get past the mess). We have tips for cooking for your family on a tight budget here which should help you find the cheapest recipes which even the fussiest eaters in your family will love. We also teamed up with Marcus Rashford and Tom Kerridge last summer and they gave us some of their favourite recipes for kids which won’t break the bank. Why not try this fun recipe for tortilla pizzas this Easter? 

You could also give baking a whirl. Easter biscuits in the shape of bunnies, chicks or eggs can be easily made with things you already have in your cupboard, or you could try an Easter classic: chocolate cornflake cakes. 

Make your own slime, playdough or salt dough

There are simple recipes for making slime, playdough and salt dough, which will barely cost you anything this Easter. Your kids will love making a little bit of a mess and having fun, and they’re easy and cheap activities which will fill an afternoon. You could make it Easter themed by turning the salt-dough into a bunny or little chick, and let your kids paint it once dry. 

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