Having children brings a whole new meaning to the month of August. It’s school holiday time, when for a few weeks your delightful and energetic whirlwinds that are the kids will be at home. If you dread having to think up fresh ways to keep them occupied, then look no further. We’ve come up with some ideas that won’t break the bank and will hopefully mean you can enjoy a bit of chilled time whilst they run wild!
For a cheap day out why not go on a ‘park hunt’? Get in the car with a map, picnic, football, scooters and bikes and decide whether you want to go north, east, south or west. Spend the day at a park and create challenges of things they need to find – a long stick, a green leaf etc – which they can win prizes for if they find them. If your kids are older, get them involved in deciding what it is they must find!
Experiment with lots of different natural stamps, such as rocks and twigs from the garden, bottle caps and other bits and bobs destined for the recycling bin. You can also try fruit and veg – cut celery stalks tied in a bunch and pepper halves with the seeds removed can also make interesting patterns after they are dipped in ink.
Libraries often get forgotten about but are fabulous places for kids to explore. Most modern ones now have little areas for young children with books, activities and tables and chairs which will make them feel very grown up. Pick up as many books on nature as you can: trees, flowers, insects, then look for those items in your garden. Maybe even start a scrapbook with the bits they collect.
For older children, why not join the Summer Stars Reading Adventure? You can explore everything your local library has to offer, activities, talking books and games, computers and lots and lots of books!
Ask the kids to work on a treasure box for the holidays. They can each have their own shoebox, decorate it with stickers, glitter pens and crayons, and enjoy filling it with the things they collect. Maybe a pebble from the beach you went to, or a little toy from the holiday gift shop, or even a drawing they did about the fun you had at the park. They will love making it their own and taking care of the gems they create and find.
Do your kids like to get involved when wrapping the Christmas presents? A simple way to amuse them is to grab some recycled paper and tear it into strips to make random shapes that can be used to create a collage or fun-filled scrapbook. Try making your own DIY glue made of flour and water for some messy outdoor fun.
Camping is the ultimate fun family activity, so why not treat the kids to a taste of it in your back garden? Grab some sleeping bags, cushions and their favourite duvet and pillows and get comfortable. Take some books to read by torchlight, eat toasted marshmallows for tea and play games until it’s time for bed.
If you have energetic children but can’t get out for the afternoon, build an assault course in the back garden. Use old pieces of wood, boxes, buckets, garden chairs — anything that can be jumped over, under or around. Time how long it takes them to complete it or get them to time each other on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, or simply by running.
Start your bedtime routine half an hour early one evening and after the kids are ready for bed, tell them they can stay up a bit longer if they help you plan the following day’s activities. You can design a game – give them ideas to keep it simple such as a paper boat race in the paddling pool or homemade skittles using a tennis ball and empty toilet rolls.
If the kids do say they’re bored, try this nifty idea to encourage them to come up with activities themselves. Get them to write lots of things they’d like to do, inside or in the garden, and fill a glass container with them. These can range from reading a book to baking cakes to tidying their bedroom. Every time they feel bored, encourage them to dip into the jar without looking. The rule is they must have a go at whatever idea they pull out!
Looking for inspiration for days out, there are some great day trips for all the family:
We hope these ideas help you get out there and enjoy the summer holidays.
Do you have any tips for keeping the kids entertained? Share them with us on our Facebook page.