The summer holidays and seemingly endless weeks to fill fast approaching, keeping the kids happy and your sanity intact can feel like a daunting prospect. When you add to that a budget, working hours and the unpredictable British climate, it can start to look downright impossible. With this in mind, we’ve compiled some activities that are easy to plan, adjustable to a range of budgets and guaranteed to earn some happy faces.
- Spend time outside
The summer break should be a chance for kids to get outside, burn off some energy and enjoy the time they don’t have to spend in the classroom. This is a great option because it doesn’t have to involve any planning at all; if you’ve got a spare day and the weather permits, just take your kids to a local park and watch them entertain themselves. Even better if you can get a group together with other parents; you guys can have a picnic and a catch up while the children play their own games.
- Get crafty
While it doesn’t have to be 30 degrees and sunny to visit a park, doing so in the rain probably wouldn’t make you or your children too happy. Instead, why not try some arts and crafts? Cover your table (and any soft furnishings nearby) with newspaper or a disposable table cloth, and choose from tie-dye t-shirts to clay modelling to finger painting. You might be surprised by how much fun even the most rough-and-tumble child will have with some water-based paint and their hands. Just make sure they’re wearing old clothes and aprons, and keep them away from the walls!
- Keep it smart
There’s a delicate balance to be found between keeping kids engaged with learning and making sure not to bore them over summer. Remember, the school holidays should be a complete break from the classroom. But while six hours of daily tutoring is probably not the way forward, it’s important to encourage them to keep learning and develop their personal interests. If you’ve got a bookworm, take regular trips to your local library or bookshop, or if you have a future palaeontologist on your hands, try to arrange a trip to a museum. If sports are more their thing, keep an eye out for cheap or free tickets to see your local teams play.
- Camps are your friend
If one or both parents will be working throughout the summer holidays, camps can be a great alternative to private childcare. There are loads to choose from across the UK, lasting from one day to most of the holiday, and can be residential or just fill your working hours. Not only will your child probably enjoy them more than weeks at the same babysitter’s house, they can also be a great way for them to develop a talent or immerse themselves in a hobby. Sports, theatre and adventure camps are all brilliant for meeting new people, staying active and having a wonderful time.
Keeping busy over the summer is important, of course, but make sure to factor in some downtime. The school year is tiring for children, whatever their age, so a non-stop summer should be avoided. The balance between action and recuperation will obviously depend on your child, but just be aware that the pace should be slower for them than it is during term time, so they’re fresh and raring to go once September rolls around again.
- Consider teaming up
If you’ve got friends with kids, whether they’re from the school gate or your own schooldays, having certain afternoons where one of you will take care of all of the children can be a great option if you work, or just to give each of you a break to get your own things done. Full time childcare can be intense, and you’re likely to enjoy the summer more if you’re able to take some time out along the way. Which brings us to our final point…
- Enjoy it
Between the stress of balancing your regular commitments, taking some me time and keeping the kids happy, it’s easy to forget that you’re seeing a lot more of your family than you’re usually able to. Make sure you regularly take time out to appreciate it; as cheesy at it sounds you really are making memories for life.