Bumper Guide to Summer Holiday Activities
The school summer holidays are around the corner and that means you have at least six weeks to fill with fun activities. Whether your children are enjoying themselves in childcare over the summer, you are at home full time or a mixture of the two / any other set up, you’ll still have plenty of time to fill. To help you out we’ve put together this bumper guide full of idea for activities for you and your children to enjoy.
Painting the Garden
This one is really popular with very little children especially. Give your little ones big paintbrushes and buckets of water. Their job is to paint the fence, the path, the shed door; whatever needs painting with water. This is a great way to keep little ones active, enjoying some fresh air and of course there’s no mess as the water simply disappears in the sun.
This is the modern version of treasure hunting and is incredibly fun! All you need is a mobile phone with the free Geocaching app, a pen and your sense of adventure. All around the world, quite possibly where you live too geocaches have been hidden and you can see where they are on your phone, following GPS directions until you get to them. Once you’ve reached your destination read the clues and find the treasure, signing the log book inside and moving on. This is brilliant fun and great for treasure hunters of all ages. See more on how it all works here.
There’s nothing quite like a trampoline in the garden for helping little ones stay active and blow off some steam. With the average cost of a visit to a trampoline park (indoors) being charged per hour per child plus travelling and food it is safe to say that treating yourself to a new trampoline for the garden is the better option.
When was the last time you enjoyed a board game session as a family or set them up to play together? Whether the game is chess or Twister, you’ll be bound to have a fun time and of course this is a highly affordable and often educational way to spend the time. This is also an activity that is perfect for days when the weather is somewhat rubbish!
Sometimes, no matter how many toys, games and activities a child has around them, all they really want to do is play with their friends, especially over the summer holidays where they don’t see each other very often. If possible why not arrange a playdate, inviting one of their friends around for playtime and something to eat? Whether your kids are two or twelve, having friends over is great fun, something to look forward to and of course they may be able to play at their friends’ home next time, giving your own children somewhere different to the norm to visit and new experiences to enjoy.
Structured art and craft projects are brilliant, and there are some amazing sources of inspiration around the internet, Pinterest being a key resource for things to make and do. Sometimes however having some free play, rather than following a set pattern can be great fun too. Set up a creation station (your dining room table, a desk, the floor…) with beads and laces, construction bricks, cutting and sticking tools, colouring in items, paints, stickers and more and just let them go for it! Let them decide what they want to make, be it a junk model or a Lego castle.
What do you know about your local area? Is there a museum locally or fun / special things to see? Get on the internet, ask friends and neighbours or visit your nearest Tourist Information Centre for ideas for where to visit and what to see. You might find out a lot about your local area that you’d never heard of before.
Why not crack open the popcorn, pop on a movie and snuggle down for some cuddled up family move time? Watch a classic, something funny or something completely new to everyone. Perfect for a rainy day or evening fun and ideal for all ages.
Is there a summer fayre running nearby over the summer? An open garden, a food festival, gala or music event? Most areas have loads of family friendly events going on which are perfect for keeping the whole family occupied and amused. View community noticeboards, online local groups and ask around to find out what’s on and plan accordingly!
Hit the Park
Whether you have a local park or just a big local play field at your disposal, getting outside for some simple fun such as Frisbee throwing, football practice, kit flying and of course a picnic can be just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes the simplest activities are the best and certainly the most affordable.
Fill balloons, buckets and more then let the kids soak each other. This is great fun on those sunny days when everyone is hot and sticky (make sure everyone has sun protection) and of course is great with friends and neighbours taking part.
Do you have a mini-chef in your home? Kids tend to really enjoy baking, following the recipe, weighing ingredients, mixing and of course licking the spoon. Batch bake anything you like, some for now, some to be frozen for next time and enjoy this cheap but fun summer holiday activity. Perhaps a tea part could be order after everything has cooled down?
Going camping can be a hugely fun activity, whether it is in the back garden or twenty miles down the road. Book campsite places in advance or take a chance on a last minute booking when the weather is good and you all fancy experiencing a bit of the wild outdoors!
Visit the Local Library
Libraries are wonderfully family friendly these days, with dedicated children’s areas and lots of family and children orientated activities going on. Some run regular story-time sessions, summer reading challenges, themed craft sessions and more. Of course, as well as all of the special events the library is the best place to visit for new books to enjoy at home.
There’s nothing quite like den building. Use old sheets to hang across furniture to make a roof or some curtains, have a tent picnic under the table, pull all the cushions off the sofa to make a den… Den building, inside or out can be great fun!
If your little ones love make believe why not help them put together a puppet show? It could be modelled on a story they already know or could be something completely made up. Use some art and craft time to make the puppets (they could be proper puppets or even decorated wooden spoons) and then a cut out cardboard box for the theatre. Make sure you’re in the front row to see their amazing performance!
Talking of boxes, they’re great for imaginative play. Watch as little ones turn an ordinary box into a plane, a pirate ship, a den, a princesses’ castle; anything or anywhere using nothing but their own imagination. If they want to take their box fun a step further, supply them with paint, paper, glue, glitter and stickers so that they may really make their box look fab.
Keeping on top of the garden may be a chore for you but for children it can be an opportunity to earn some pocket money or simply enjoy growing things! Set aside a patch of soil and pick up some seeds (very cheap at the supermarket and garden centres) so that they may grow and tend their own herb garden. Fast growing produce, herbs and flowers are great for young gardeners.
It sounds simple but sometimes just putting the toys away, grabbing trainers and setting off for a walk can be great fun. Play eye-spy, enjoy walking somewhere you wouldn’t normally go and reap the benefits of fresh air and activity which stands a good chance of tiring them out (in a good way) in time for bedtime.
Take a Bath
Bath time should be fun, not just that time where you get dunked, get cleaned and scrubbed and are out. Bath time may also be at any time of the day. Fill up the tub, use bath jelly, bubbles or anything you like to add an extra layer of fun and then throw in the toys. Plastic tubs make great boats, little jugs are fab for pouring and a rubber duck or two is an absolute must. Here are some examples of some of the top bath time toys for you to use for inspiration.
It really is ok for children to enjoy some digital time every now and then. While limiting their time to protect their eyes and to encourage creative play and outdoor fun makes sense there are a lot of benefits to digital fun. Many games have educational elements (yes, even Minecraft) and if you have a console and enough controllers you could have great fun playing games as a family.
Top Tip: Create an “I’m Bored!” jar.
Two words that strike fear into a parent’s heart; “I’m Bored” can be easily dealt with if you have an I’m Bored jar. Fill the jar with folded up strips of paper, all of which have an activity on them. Kids wanting to use the jar have to abide by what they pick out and no peaking. It could say “Get the paints out a paint an alien or robot”, it could say “do a job for Mum and Dad”. The more creative you are with the activities the better, just make sure they aren’t going to pick something out that isn’t practical right at that precise time. An indoor jar and an outdoor jar can be a great idea as you don’t want to be picking “Go for a walk” when it’s pouring down or “Digital time!” when you are trying to get them outside and into the fresh air.
What are your favourite activities for during the summer holidays? Here at ParentsNeed HQ we love to see kids outside in the sun however the weather doesn’t always play fair so we like to have a fair few rainy day activities ready too. Whatever you have planned, we hope you have a fab, fun-filled break!