The summer holidays may be great for the kids, but providing all day entertainment for them is hard work and can be expensive. And, with the average child first saying “I’m bored” just ten days into the school holidays and there being 42 days in the average summer holidays, the pressure is on to keep them busy!
We’ve put our thinking caps on and come up with some ideas to keep your little ones entertained during the holidays for some proper get-off-the-sofa style fun – no iPads or screens in sight!
- The great outdoors – get them outside and let them help with gardening, paint pots, make a kite or an insect home, press some flowers, make a card, create your own scarecrow, go on a bug hunt, learn some bird songs, or make your own bird feeders. Most kids will just loving being outdoors with some toys, a paddling pool, some bubbles and enjoying a BBQ and of course, some ice cream in warmer weather!
- Arts and crafts – get paper, pens, wool and some sparkly things and get creative! Why not make some pom poms, some handmade cards or get the play dough out and see what you can make? Or let the little ones raid your recycling bin to find cardboard, cartons and empty bottles to make their own rocket!
- Build a den – all you need is large blankets or sheets, some cushions and a possible rearrangement of furniture, and you have your own den. Where will your imagination take you?
- Bake a cake – get them involved in the cooking, depending on their age, make a cake and get them to decorate their own pizzas. They’ll love copying you and eating the results!
- Go star spotting – in the evening head into the garden (or even better, camp overnight) and look up to the sky to locate stars and planets.
- Get them involved – if you’ve got chores to do, get them involved, whether it’s tidying the house or doing the shopping. They could even help you with the shopping list by finding items around the supermarket!
- Write a story – give them a topic and get them to write a short story about it. They could even create a journal about their summer adventures.
- Treasure hunt – perfect for rainy days or just to challenge little minds, have a scavenger hunt around the house. Depending on the ages of the children, simply hide some objects for them to find or plan a more challenging and elaborate hunt with clues and a theme for older ones.
- Role play – strengthen their imagination and get them dressing up and into character. They can even spend time making their own outfits and do some face painting! Kids will love having fun with a tea set, a tool box, a play phone and doctors kit. If they have some play food they can play shops and could even make their own money out of paper. They could also create a play and perform it at the end of the day. They will probably want you getting involved in the fun!
- Picnics – head out with them on a picnic to your local park or to somewhere scenic. Pack some treats, healthy snacks and a picnic blanket - teddy bears are optional! See how many of your local parks you can visit and some have splash zones too.
- The beach – the beach offers the perfect free day out with so much for everyone. Take a bucket, a ball and have fun digging, building sandcastles and having a paddle in the sea.
- Check local websites for things to do – look at your local tourist, days out and the ‘what’s on’ section of newspapers for things to do near you. Shopping centres often run family activity sessions during the holidays.
- Go on a bear hunt – children love going out in the woods on an adventure, so grab some food and drinks for the adventure and track down some woodland animals!
- Library – Use free resources like the library for some summer reading books that will keep them occupied when you are having a quiet day at home.
- Bike ride – go on a bike ride together and get pedalling! Children love it as it’s fast and fun, and gives them some freedom.
- Farm – head to a local farm to see some animals up close, learn some fun facts about the animals and get hands on with many farms offering the chance to feed goats, pet a rabbit, milk cows and enjoy a tractor and trailer ride.
- Go pond dipping – find somewhere local where you can go pond dipping, grab a net and see what you can discover in the murky depths!
- Visit a nature reserve – many nature reserves are free or have a small charge. Grab your binoculars and wellies and see what you can spot on a day out reconnecting with nature.
- Go swimming – get active and cool down in the hot weather with a trip to your local swimming pool.
- Visit family and friends - or get them over to help entertain the youngsters. If it is a play date then the invitation may be reciprocated.
- Go geocaching – go on the global treasure hunt and you can go and find secret containers near you.
- Go on the bus – toddlers and very little people are fascinated by buses so have a short journey on one!
Also make sure you tell little ones what they will be doing and set boundaries so they know what is coming up so they have something to look forward to. It will also help them to be a bit more realistic about what they will be doing.
And most of all have fun, let them enjoy themselves and be ready for those little words after you have had the most action packed day: “So, what are we doing tomorrow?”