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Ways to Keep Your Kids Quiet During the Summer Holidays

As the end of July approaches and the school summer holidays begin, most parents are filled with a mixture of excitement and dread.

Keeping the kids busy and entertained for six long weeks can be tough at the best of times, not to mention when money is tight.

So here I’ve rounded up a mix of technology, websites and apps that will help you and the children have fun this summer, even on a smallest of budgets.

Nintendo Wii

Everyone knows that computer games are a good way to keep the kids occupied. The release of the Nintendo Wii – and subsequent similar add-on products for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 – meant that instead of sitting on the sofa, they had to be active to play. In fact, 30 or so minutes of Wii play will work up a decent sweat… and it’s a lot more fun than being packed off to the relatives. Just try challenging an overactive teenager on Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games or running through a couple of the 60 different Wii Fit exercise routines and you’ll soon realise how breathless you get. The best thing is it’s very easy to play, even Grandma can have a go. Just remember to let the kids have a go every now and again too!

Related Article: Read all about the new Nintendo Wii console

Related Article: Watch a video showing the PlayStation Move

Related Article: Watch Microsoft Kinect in action on video

Money Saving Expert – Cheap Theme Parks

A highlight of any holiday is always a trip to Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Legoland or one of the UK’s other top attractions. But did you know that you can get 2-for-1 tickets, and sometimes even larger discounts, by shopping clever? This page on the Money Saving Expert website tells you how to get the bargains, whether it’s by storing up points on your supermarket loyalty card, buying certain products or sometimes simply printing out an online voucher.

New York 3D Rollercoaster Rush HD

Even with a discount, you can’t take the kids to theme parks every day – unless you want to end up bankrupt by September. That’s where a new app craze for virtual rides comes in. There are plenty to choose from – just type ‘rollercoaster’ into the Apple or Android store – and many are free. The best I’ve found is the full version of New York 3D Rollercoaster Rush HD for iPad, costing £2.99, which involves races, challenges and “unlimited ways to crash your cart” in the NY skies.

Talking Tom Cat and Talking Tom Cat II

Sometimes the simplest things provide the most hours of fun and the Talking Tom Cat app, and its sequel, prove this point. Available for free – on both Apple and Android devices – Tom simply repeats back anything said or sung to him in a “funny” voice. If your child is pleased with his work then they can rub his tummy or pour a glass of milk to say thank you. It is tons of fun, as the 500,000 Facebook likes and hundreds of YouTube clips dedicated to Tom will testify.

Download via iTunes

Download via Android 

Proline Twin Screen Portable DVD Player

There are two things you can always guarantee as part of a British summer holiday – rain and long car journeys. Luckily there are a range of portable DVD players, such as this one that has TWO screens, to keep them quiet in the backseat. You can play any film, TV show or cartoon of your choice and they’ll no longer be asking ‘are we there yet’, but instead ‘can we stay in the car for a few more minutes until it’s finished’.

KidPaint Plus

There’s no doubt that painting and colouring pictures is a great way to spend a holiday… but also a very messy one. This Android app solves that problem by letting kids paint pictures on a touchscreen and then share them with friends. The only downside is you probably won’t see your phone again for the rest of the summer.