Are you pleased to see the arrival of the summer holidays or does six weeks with the kids around feel you with dread? I’ve got to say, I always look forward to having a break and having the girls around even if they do drive me crazy. But I know a lot of other parents I’ve spoken to recently are dreading it. Why? Because the thought of six weeks trying to fill days with activities sends them into a tail spin.
Charlie at Mess Merlot recently did this great post about planning for the holidays . It’s a way of making sure you get a good balance of “Out” days and “In” days as well as keeping an eye on the cost. I truly believe for the sake of kids’ mental health, that they shouldn’t always have back to back activities planned in. It’s important for them to have some down time and a rest. This brilliant article highlights how kids need to have some moments of boredom in order to ignite their creativity. To find their own things to do.
We are lucky that we are having a two week break in Devon this year. After that, the girls and I have started making a list of the things we want to do over the remaining four weeks. Here’s some of our ideas and they shouldn’t break the bank!
1. Fruit and Veg Picking – One of my friends mentioned that they went strawberry picking recently and now my eldest daughter is obsessed with it! I think it will be a good way to spend some time outside and the girls will learn more about the plants. The biggest bonus is that I can get the kids involved in picking some healthy, cheaper produce for us all to eat. That’s if it isn’t scoffed in the fields first.
2. Splash Park – There’s a local outdoor splash park which we go to most summers. The kids love it but it does feel me slightly with dread because on a hot day it gets absolutely rammed! I’ve found the best thing to do is get there for when it opens and avoid the queues.
3. Activity Trails and Parks – We are lucky to have a few decent activity parks and trails that we can spend the majority of the day at for only the price of the car parking. One has a Stick Man trail, the other has a Wind In The Willows themed trail and there’s also another couple of large parks with lots of play equipment throughout. All are large enough for us not to be on top of lots of other people. We can keep the cost even lower if we take a picnic.
4. Cinema – Who doesn’t love film and some snacks on a rainy day? Most cinema chains do some form of kids club – usually showing films in the morning plus we make this even cheaper by taking our own sweets and chocolate.
5. Swimming – The kids’ lessons finish during the summer holidays, so it’s good to get them back in the water, even if it isn’t for much swimming but more mucking about!
6. Inflatables – Our local council organises a few inflatable days during the summer. You pay £5 per wristband and get unlimited use of the inflatables for a couple of hours. It’s not really my thing, but the kids love it and if it’s a sunny day, we normally meet friends, take a picnic and the grown ups can sit and chat whilst watching the kids.
7. Library – We usually go to the library, but over the summer they always have a summer reading challenge where the kids have to read a certain number of books to get stickers and a certificate when they go back to school. This summer’s reading theme challenge is Animal Agents. My eldest is already badgering me to start doing it now!
8. Local Parks and Woods – For a completely free day out, we can spend a few hours at any of our local parks or the woods. Again, we might take a picnic or just a snack. If we go to the woods, there’s always plenty of stuff for the kids to look at and explore. Our local woods are very small and completely contained so it’s easy to let them roam, play games such as finding sweets or treasure that we’ve hidden.
9. The Beach – We live about 45 minutes away from our nearest beach. It’s weather dependent, but we’ve had some lovely days paddling, (sometimes swimming?!), crabbing and exploring. Again, a picnic means the cost is practically nothing other than a couple of ice creams!
10. Paddling Pool – If the weather is good, there is nothing easier or cheaper than filling up the paddling pool and letting the kids have a splash. They also love running through the sprinkler and can keep them amused for quite a while! Meanwhile, I can sit and enjoy from a fair distance with a cold drink or ice cream in hand!
11. Bike Riding – I need to get our eldest daughter back on her bike after she took a few tumbles last year and lost her confidence. We’ve got some gorgeous footpaths and walkways near to us. I’ll usually pack up a bag with a blanket and lots of snacks and drinks to keep everyone going for a while.
12. Indoor Activities – Necessary if the weather is rubbish or just for some chill out time. Our usual go to activities include making cakes, colouring, painting, face painting, DVDs and if I’m feeling ambitious, some kind of arts and crafts. (I’m rubbish at arts and crafts).
That’s my summer sorted and for not much money too! As you can see picnics feature heavily!! Do you have anything else to add to this list? I’d love to hear your plans.