Whether you are a single parent or non-resident parent with contact time coping with your children alone during school holidays and weekends can be exhausting. This is why we have compiled a list of links that offer lots of ideas for days out and activities.

Top Ten Free Activities for those on a tight budget:

1. Visit to the local park (or beach if you live near the coast). Whatever the age of your children, fresh air and plenty of exercise should be enough to exhaust them and ensure you at least get a very peaceful evening!

2. Free museums. Most towns and cities have free museums or exhibitions, sometimes attached to local libraries. Check with your local library to see what is available

3. Visit to the library. Most children like visiting the library and choosing their own books. Your library may also offer free holiday activities for children

4. Boot fair (or garage sale if you don't have a car). Get your children to sort out their old junk and ask friends and neighbours for any unwanted items. Children love playing "shop" and will learn something about the value of money and work whilst earning a little extra pocket money

5. Town Walk. Many towns now have designated town walks which follow special and historic places of interest. Your local library or tourist information centre should have details. If they do not have one, then get your children to research your town on the Internet or local library and map out their own route. If you can find some old photographs it would be good to compare scenes then and now and discuss any changes with your child

6. Visit to a church or graveyard. Most churches are open to visitors during the day and it's a great way to learn about the past and do some brass rubbing or sketching. On a Saturday afternoon you might catch a wedding party and you could even drop in on a Sunday for Sunday School. If you are a member of another faith why not visit their place of worship and explain to your child the different features and symbols. Many churches and other faith groups run free activities for children during weekends and school holidays, so contact the local faith leader for details

7. Nature Trail. Whether you live in a city or in the middle of the countryside, you will be surrounded by wildlife. Bugs, birds, spiders, foxes.. With the help of a magnifying glass or binoculars go on the hunt for signs of wildlife in your local area, count ants or borrow some wildlife books from the library

8. Sport. If you have playing fields near you pop along on a Saturday afternoon to watch a local game of football, rugby or hockey. Alternatively, get details of any inter school matches played on weekends or evenings and go and cheer for your child's school team

9. Visit to your local airport, docks or harbour if you have one near you. Watch the aeroplanes come and go or look at the boats - many harbours and airfields also have open days so keep an eye out in the local paper

10. Feeding ducks/ Pooh Sticks. If you have a pond, river or stream nearby then find a bridge and race twigs down stream or feed the ducks. You could also make boats out of margarine tubs and other household items and see if they float, but make sure you take any rubbish home with you