Having the children home for the summer holidays is lovely, but it can also cause upheaval and stress. If you are working full time, particularly from home, trying to keep the children engaged and entertained can be difficult. Luckily, long days and light nights give us more time to get out and about and spend some quality time with the kids, so we can all enjoy the holidays.
Although holidays abroad and day trips are lovely, there are lots of summer fun activities that you can do closer to home.
Get the Paddling Pools Out
When the temperatures rise, your best bet for keeping everyone cool is a good splash in the paddling pool. Children can spend hours on end wading around, splashing and playing with toys without getting bored. Waterproof, high factor suncream, sun hats, and occasional ice lollies for treats are all you really need.
You’ll obviously need to be watching closely if young children are in and around water, so try to take any work outside and join in when you can. Dipping your feet in the paddling pool will ensure you are involved in the game and close enough to reach the children should anything happen. It will also keep your feet cool – bonus!
Teddy Bear’s Picnic
A teddy bears picnic or toys tea party is something children often naturally set up with their favourite toys, but having a real picnic complete with yummy food and a comfortable rug will fuel their imagination. Little ones will be enchanted, while older children will enjoy the novelty of eating good food in a different location (even it is just outside of the dinner table). This is also a good option if it rains unexpectedly, simply transfer everything inside and make it a ‘carpet picnic’.
Whether it’s in a park or your back garden, this is a timeless way to reconnect with your children on their level. Include the toys in the conversation to open a dialogue for your child to tell you how they are feeling, such as “is Teddy happy to be outside or is he missing seeing his friends at nursery?”
If there is a park nearby, you have everything you need for hours of fun. Children rarely tire of swings, see-saws, slides and other apparatus such as monkey bars, and you can be happy to see they are being active.
Depending on the size of the park, take a football or a Frisbee, but don’t force a game if people are too hot and bothered. If you have a dog, they will also love the chance to run around.
If there is no park within walking distance, and you don’t want to load up the car for a potentially hot and sticky drive – skipping ropes, hula hoops, footballs, and bean bags are just a few inexpensive items that kids can play with outside, to ensure they are getting plenty of fresh air and exercise.
Head to the Beach
We do like to be beside the seaside, and the six-week holidays is the perfect time to take a trip to the beach. If you live close by, lucky you! If not, make sure you have everything you need before you set off for the day, to avoid stressful situations. Swimsuits, a change of clothes including socks and underwear for each child, and more nappies than you think you’ll need if you have babies are a must. Also pack lots of high factor suncream, baby wipes, towels, a ball, and buckets and spades.
Pick your spot and set up camp for some serious sandcastle building and paddling.
Don’t forget to explore with the children too, rock pools are fascinating while collecting pebbles and driftwood helps children identify and understand natural resources.
Walking & Cycling
Particularly if you have children of varying ages, walking and cycling are great ways to get around while taking in your surroundings. Explore woodlands, cycle along rivers or canals, or even climb a mountain together.
Children have a lot of energy and far more stamina than we sometimes give them credit for. Even young children can scale small mountains with relative ease and will bound up hills, particularly if they have an animal in tow. Make sure you all have appropriate footwear if you are going to attempt this.
If it’s hot, remember to take it slowly and take frequent rehydration breaks.
The sense of achievement you will also receive from scaling a mountain together is amazing, not to mention you will have gotten some excellent exercise.
Even if it’s raining, a good walk is a great way to get rid of ‘cabin fever’ and children will love splashing in the puddles.
Camp Out Under the Stars
Depending on how old and ‘outdoorsy’ your children are, camping in a nearby field or forest is a brilliant way to go on an adventure and embrace nature. You will need to check you have permission, but once you know where to go, you can relax and enjoy the experience of making new memories with your children. Use a camping stove or a mini barbecue to cook traditional camping food such as sausages and beans, drink hot chocolate (once the sun has gone down) and toast marshmallows. Make it a group activity with your children’s friends and their parents.
Alternatively, you can also replicate elements of the same experience in your own garden. Pitch a tent, cook some food and settle in for the night. Or just lay a blanket on the grass and lay together looking up at the stars. Keep a lookout for nocturnal animals such as hedgehogs, owls, foxes, and bats, too. You could even set up a camera to record any nocturnal visitors.
The most important thing is to enjoy spending time with your children, before they return to school or nursery and to make new memories together. Whatever you do, we hope you have a great summer!