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Parents 'fear cost of summer break'

Nearly half of parents dread the cost of occupying their children every summer, according to a survey.

In the average family, parents spend £4,762.66 each year on keeping their children entertained and 48% dread the cost, a Forestry Commission study shows.

Researchers found that attraction tickets, toys, computer games and sports activities mean most parents will part with around £396 each month in the year in a bid to keep their children's boredom at bay.

If the cost of family holidays is factored in, when the average British family takes two holidays a year, this rises to an average of £626.50 a month, or a total of £7,517.84 a year.

The Forestry Commission is urging parents to look to their local forests as a place of entertainment for their children.

Half of the population in England lives six miles from the nearest forest, the Forestry Commission says, and it wants more people to treat the country's public woodland spaces as their own playground.

Josephine Lavelle, of the commission, said: "You don't have to spend hundreds of pounds to keep your children occupied this summer as there is one place that combines all the fun of an adventure park, wildlife attraction, science centre and art gallery where admission for all is free - your local forest.

"It is concerning to see that so many parents dread the prospect of financing their children's entertainment through the summer holidays and it doesn't have to be this way.

"A day out to one of the Forestry Commission sites makes the most of the summer holiday without breaking the bank as forests can be visited again and again, and enjoyed in a variety of ways.

"Rather than worrying about spending money on games consoles or expensive theme parks, taking your children into the forest shows them how much fun it can be to play outdoors, climbing trees, enjoying bike rides, exploring nature and using their imagination."

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