Tue 08 Aug 2023
Summer holidays are always too short for children, but for adults, they seem to go on forever.
Perhaps you’ve already been away, or you’ve used up all your ideas for keeping the kids occupied, and you’re facing another month of finding things for the family to do without losing your marbles.
With so many days to fill, the summer holidays are a brilliant opportunity for children to develop their interests, but it takes some doing to keep making things happen with a plan for all weathers.
For parents, the summer can be a constant conundrum around how you can:
- Keep the kids entertained without TV or screens.
- Have a plan, whether it’s rain or shine.
- Find local things to do between those big days out.
- Make learning fun when it’s supposed to be a holiday.
- Carve out time for yourself.
Now THAT is one tall order! So we've put together some inspiration from our own experiences and from friends to help you fill the days until the new school year for a fun and fabulous summer at home.
GET OUT IN THE GARDEN
Staying still and quiet doesn’t come naturally for children, and it’s being outside where they can unleash their sense of adventure, so here are some tips for outdoor fun at home.
- Hide treats and toys for fun treasure hunts, hold a scavenger hunt with a list from Pinterest, pitch a tent for camping and play in the shade, or set up a Swingball for window-safe tennis.
- Make your garden the best picnic spot in town (teddy bears optional) with proper china plates, zero heavy lifting across fields, and clean loos!
- Explore the joys of gardening, growing and nature, from snails and slugs, to bees and butterflies, to flowers and veg.
With so many ideas and possibilities, your garden is effectively a secure adventure playground where the kids can entertain themselves for hours without defaulting to a screen.
FUN COME RAIN OR SHINE
Ahh, British weather. We might not be plagued by monsoons and sandstorms, but we never know what we’ll get from one summer to the next, which can make planning ahead a bit of a lottery.
Statistically, the UK gets between 8 and 15 days of rain in August, and you can bet they’ll fall when it’s your big day out, so it’s good to have some flexibility and fall-back plans.
- For visits to outdoor theme parks, you’ll generally only need to buy your tickets one day ahead to get a hefty discount, so don’t feel you need to book weeks in advance.
- At home, open up your wardrobe for a dress-up and play production - the show may never happen, but the kids will be occupied for hours!
- Call us old-fashioned, but you can’t beat classic games like Downfall, Connect 4, Ludo, Snakes & Ladders, Jenga, Kerplunk and Operation for inclusivity and cross-generational silliness.
- Make ice lollies for when the sun comes out again, and cakes for if it doesn’t. It’s a fun way to teach basic cooking skills, and you might even get the kids to make lunch!
Of course, telly and movies can also be fun when it’s tipping it down, but it’s handy to have a backup of active and creative activities that bring joy to a rainy day.
ENTERTAINMENT ON YOUR DOORSTEP
Heading out locally is a great way to avoid travel costs and lengthy delays, and there’s usually lots more going on during the school holidays.
- Many theatres and cinemas have children’s productions and family-friendly films in the daytime as well as evenings and weekends.
- The great outdoors is a free resource, from parks and playgrounds to forests, beaches and rolling countryside: think blackberry picking, climbing trees, nature spotting, or simply a game of footy.
- Galleries and museums are often hubs of summer activities specifically designed for sparking children’s creativity and imagination.
- Indoor and outdoor swimming pools make excellent days out, whether splashing around for fun, or learning to swim or dive.
- Local noticeboards, newspapers, radio stations and social media groups are brilliant for discovering what’s going on in the neighbourhood.
And if you want to go further afield, you can find some great lists online of family days out for every part of the UK and every kind of interest, from flight simulators and film studios to castles and creepy caves.
CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS
Outside of school and education, learning can be a really fun experience for children, and there are people and places conjuring up all sorts of ideas and activities, both in the real world and online.
- Church halls, sports centres, libraries and even some local schools have summer calendars for children of all ages.
- Summer camps are a great way for children to develop new interests, and from days to weeks at a time, making them a practical childcare solution for working parents.
- For online learning, Udemy has many classes for kids including cooking, photography, music and technology, while The School Run website is perfect for educational catching up.
Summer is the only season when children have so much time for play and discovery, so the holidays can be the perfect opportunity to fuel their curiosity and discover a new hobby.
MAKING TIME FOR YOU
It’s really easy and understandable to give all your spare time to your children, but adults need time for themselves as well, whether together, alone or with friends.
Taking turns with other local parents to look after each other's children can help you carve out valuable space for yourself, giving you time for things like:
- Entertaining at home, whether you love cooking up a culinary storm, or where everyone brings a dish based on a theme.
- Getting a cultural fix: look for open-air screenings and concerts, regular theatre and cinema listings, late-night gallery openings, or just book a table at your favourite restaurant.
- Having a quiet night in, from bathtime and candles, a date night with dinner, some unfinished DIY, or even a wardrobe workout.
Even just a few hours can make a real difference, and a little bit of self-care can help you relax, recharge and retain some balance.
How are you spending your summer at home?
However you spend your summer this year, we wish you a fun-filled time with your family and hope that our list of tips gives you plenty of ideas.
And if moving home is ever on the cards, we'd love to help you sell or buy a property in Whittington or Lichfield and nearby. Call us on 01543 432099 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for a friendly chat whenever the time is right.