How to not only survive the school holidays but have maximum fun with the kids this holiday….
Schools out (finally for us, for some it’s been out for 2 weeks!) but for most kids and parents there are now at least 5 weeks to fill with fun and frolics!
Sometimes though the idea of having to come up with a programme of activities that don’t break the bank but keep the children entertained and make the most of family time together is no mean feat!!
So we’ve come up with 15 ideas for different types of activities that you can use throughout your summer; from free things to do at home with the kids to low cost days out and full on treat yourself days too!
So whether you are juggling work and holiday clubs and only have a few precious days with the kids or have the whole 5 weeks to fill there will be a fun idea to entertain the kids then they’ll be an idea or two to inspire the fun here:
FUN AT HOME
Often staying at home, means the kids lolling around, playing computer games and watching television; but it is possible to create a fun and imaginative environment in your home but it needs you to be intentional about your time at home with the kids. So act like you would if you were out of the house; don’t worry about doing your jobs and create a series of activities that you together. It doesn’t have to be a full day, it can just be an hour or a half day. Great at home activities include –
1/ Building a den; this is brilliant as can be either indoors or outdoors and as elaborate as you and the kids like! Who doesn’t love a den? Even better bring the teddies in and have a teddy bears picnic together once everyone is inside!
2/ Have a treasure hunt: No matter how big or small your house or garden is, the kids are bound to find something to explore and it can be done inside or outside. There are loads of ways you can do a treasure hunt. A simple list of natural objects to find (a stick, a leaf, a flower etc) can be presented with a picture or words depending on the age of your children. Alternatively, you could do a treasure hunt with directional clues – a great one is placing the kid’s teddies, or their toys, in spots for them to find and making the clues about them! You can also do it by finding different colour items or objects beginning with certain letters. Or, one of the simplest ways to create a treasure hunt for toddlers is to print and laminate a load of images of something that they love, such as dinosaurs or wizards. Hide them around the garden and tell them how many there are to find! You can tailor them for your kid’s interests, ages and abilities, make them as short or long, easy or complicated! You can reward them with a treat at the end and everyone can get involved, so it’s great for sibling groups and mixed ages. Grandparents can be involved in a treasure hunt, either helping to organise or set it up or simply participating. And the best thing is a treasure hunt activity is active, imaginative, they learn something and there is a sense of achievement! To download a ready-made treasure hunt complete with video clues go here……
3/ Have a games tournament – kids love board games and most parents do too! Depending on the age of your kids, you might do simple ones or you can teach them some of your old favourites like Cluedo or find some interesting ones that are great for helping children with strategy, maths, reading and help them with their learning whilst having fun! This can even be a tournament that runs throughout the holidays; try having a game a week and keep a record of what you have played. If encouraging your kids to be competitive fills you with dread because you know it will end in disaster try a non-competitive board game like this fantastic one here….Escape Board game
4/ Camp out in the garden or have an indoor sleepover where you all watch a movie together and bed down in the living room for added excitement (or maybe just the kids for this one!) For a special treat have hire in some indoor sleepover tents like these gorgeous ones from Bell Tent Party Events
5/ Set up your own mini festival – better if you have a larger garden but even if not you can set up different stations around your garden; like a story area, an art area, a hair braiding area, a face painting area, a splash zone, a relaxing zone and a refreshments area!
BUDGET DAYS OUT
Every parent needs to get the kids out of the house at regular intervals throughout the holidays but how do you do it without having to take out a second mortgage?
6/ Go Geocaching – this makes a normal walk much more exciting! It’s a pre-existing treasure hunt – you download the app before hand, find the area you want to hunt your geocache and go on a fun adventure hunting the treasure! Make sure you take something with you to put in the geocache when you find it. You can see more information about Geo caching here…
7/ Rock hunting – Find somewhere locally where you can hunt for painted rocks. Most regions have places that take part in the ‘painted rocks’ craze. If you search on Facebook for your area name and ‘rocks’ you should find of there is a Facebook page. Search around the area and see what painted rocks you can find. When you find them take photos and post them to the relevant facebook group (for example ‘Lymm Rocks’) then re-hide them. Make sure you don’t take them home! They should stay in the community for other people to hunt, find and enjoy! For added fun, paint some rocks at home first and then take them out and about and hide them too!
8/ Park hunting! – Find a park you have never been to before! Most people frequent the same places that they know, but why not be a bit more adventurous and find a new and different park. Most councils will list the parks in their region on their website so even if you travel a few miles to the neighbouring county you are bound to find somewhere different! You can also find local parents Facebook groups and ask in there what parks people recommend. Some of our favourite and free parks in North West England include Walton Gardens, Haigh Hall and Woodland park and Worden park.
9/ Do a treasure trail – these are a fun and low cost way to explore a new town or city; or even explore your own town with new eyes! For a relatively low cost you can download a treasure trail for you town or city and spend a day exploring it as a family! See more here….
10/ Go fruit picking–this can be a relatively low cost activity that kids love and can wile away a good few hours. Strawberries are mostly picked by July but most fruit farms will have other fruit and veg to pick throughout the rest of the summer and it will be less busy after the Strawberries so a good time to go!
11/ Go to a museum – lots of museums in the UK have free entry and during the holidays most have activities going on including workshops and events which are often free to attend too. It’s worth checking out smaller and less well known museums often too. Check out the video review here of The Story Museum in Oxford.
BIG FAMILY DAYS OUT
11/ Go to a theme park – even if you don’t like big rides most UK theme parks now have a range of attractions for all ages and scare levels! Our favourites are Alton Towers and Thorpe Park for older kids and Legoland and Chessington World of Adventures for younger kids. There are some smaller parks that are really great too and not as manic and expensive as the big ones – Flamingo Land, Diggerland, Oakwood Theme Park and Greenwood Forest Park are all brilliant and well worth a visit. Greenwood Forest Park has an innovative eco-rollercoaster set in the trees which is a great introduction to rollercoasters for younger kids. Nd it also has loads of really great and imaginative play areas in the forest. Cbeebies land at Alton Towers is also great for toddlers. See this video review of Alton Towers as a family day out…..
12/ A day at the beach – the UK has so much amazing coastline, no summer holiday is complete without a day at the seaside! For added adventure why not go on the train?! There’s nothing like the excitement of a train journey and arriving at the seaside at the end of it! We love Llandudno in North Wales as well as Scarborough, Margate, Newquay in South Wales and Lytham St. Anne’s which has an amazing beach. If you are driving to your day at the beach then a more remote bay allows for rock pooling or kite flying. And of course make sure you round your day off with fish and chips; a seaside essential!
13/ Visit a waterpark – the UK has a number of fantastic indoor waterparks, so even if the weather isn’t good you and the kids can have some water fun! Some of them have outdoor areas too. Our absolute favourite in the UK is Alpamere in Scarborough. We also like Alton Towers Splash landings, Waterworld in Stoke (which has had recent refurbishments) and Sandcastles in Blackpool.
14/ Visit a National trust property – The National trust has hundreds of places all over the UK and the majority of them are a full and packed day out of fun with lots having family activities going on in the holidays. Most of them have brilliant adventure playgrounds which are worth the visit in themselves. But they often also have lovely gardens, fun trails, workshops and family activities as well as cafes and houses to explore in some cases. Check out the National Trust website for those sites close to you.
15/ Go to a festival – summer is full of festivals, most of which have brilliant family offerings too. There are some amazing family focused festivals; Just So festival has been running for 9 years and is designed to bring imaginative fun to under 10’s. Other great festivals happening over the summer holidays include The Big Feastival, Boomtown, Elderflower Fields, Wilderness Festival
Not all festivals need you to camp, you can usually buy day tickets and all of the ones listed above have fantastic family areas and kids activities scheduled.
TIPS TO SAVE MONEY…..
Not every big day out has to break the bank. There are lots of ways to get vouchers or money off offers for family days out. Try Days out with the kids for deals as well as Wowcher and Planet offers. Merlin usually have offers running on products in the supermarket where you buy one ticket get one fre to their attractions, so a quick perusal in the supermarket aisles you should find these vouchers. Alton Towers also have a plastic bottle machine at the entrance area where you put an empty bottle and get a buy one get one free coupon for that. So even if you have to buy a bottle of water and drink it then and there it’s worth it for a free entry to Alton Towers!
Let us know what brilliant kids activities your family get up to this holiday! We’d love to hear your ideas and experiences……..post on our Facebook page here..
Want more ideas for fun family activities or days out with your kids then join our Facebook group here….
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Lets hope the kids feel like this at the end of August!……