Free or low-cost kids’ activities available at Better leisure centres and libraries


New research shows children’s activities are the latest casualties in cost-of-living crisis

  • 33% of families are spending less on children’s activities

  • 66% are looking for cheap and free activities

  • 25% say reducing physical activities impacts their mental health

Research has revealed how families will be cutting down on family activities this winter as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

Better, the UK’s leading leisure operator, surveyed over 500 UK families to understand the cutbacks they are making on recreational activities over the next few months and revealed that a third (33%) will be spending less on family and children’s activities this year compared to last year. As a result, 66% are looking or planning to look for free and cheap activities to help keep their families active and entertained, while also saving money.

While 25% said they are cutting back on gym, sports club or leisure centre memberships, other cutbacks are also being made due to the cost of living. 41% said they are reducing takeaway meals, 35% will be skipping family holidays and 31% are avoiding sales shopping.

The research also explored the worrying state of local leisure services and sports clubs that families rely on. 64% said they believe local swimming pools, community sports and leisure centres need more support from the government.

The research highlights the challenges faced by UK families as costs rise. In response Better has created an ultimate list of kids and family activities for under £10 that can be taken up to keep costs low but activity levels high this winter. From £1 swimming sessions to junior gym and fitness classes, to trampolining, indoor climbing and racquet-sports, Better leisure centres and libraries are offering a range of cheap and free activities that can help families throughout the winter.

Better’s commercial director Joe Rham commented: “Staying active has been shown time and again to be hugely beneficial to people’s wellbeing, both physically and mentally, and no one should be forced to cut down on such activities due to the rising cost of living. Health and fitness should be available to everyone, and unfortunately our research shows that many families are in danger of being left behind when it comes to keeping active this winter.”

“It’s extremely important to Better that our facilities remain accessible to everyone and continue to provide opportunities for physical and social activities, which is why we want to make as many people as possible aware of the low cost and free activities we have available to families.”

Cheap Family Activities this Half Term

Junior gym – Users can join a dedicated session where young gym-goers can access the gym with a member of staff present to guide them through how to work the equipment.

Swimming – Children can join Better swim sessions for £1.

Aqua Splash – An inflatable obstacle course is laid out in the swimming pool for kids to take on with challenges and races.

Trampolining – Children can burn off some energy and bounce through the winter chill at a Better Trampoline and Play Park.

Soft play – Better soft play areas provide a space for kids to explore multi-layered climbing frames, colourful ball pits and elaborate mazes.

Table tennis – A number of Better centres offer table tennis sessions, a great way to stay occupied and test your reflexes.

Tennis – All Better tennis classes follow the latest Lawn Tennis Association guidelines and are delivered by licensed, registered LTA coaches.

Find out more about what’s on offer by entering your postcode here.