The summer holidays fill us with both anticipation and dread- what can we do to keep the children entertained whilst in the process keeping us sane?
Whether you’ve got children with an age gap, young ones that want constant stimulation or even the older ones who think nothing is ‘cool’ anymore, we’ve got some ideas that are bound to appeal to the whole family. Not only is this guaranteed to keep them entertained (and at a relatively low cost) but give you something to enjoy as well. We’ve no doubt that it’ll make this summer the most memorable yet.
1. Take on a challenge together
For young ones, help them to develop an inquisitive mind
We love the science centres for helping children to learn in a fun and interactive way. Whether to find out more about how the body functions, explore the vast wonders of space, get hands on with engineering or help them to conduct their own experiments, it’s always a fun day out where you may learn a little too! It may also be where your child discovers a passion they later want to pursue.
To find your local science centre, take a look at the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres. Of course, many centres have sadly had to close because of the pandemic so look to your local centres websites and social pages to find out opening information. They’ll also like any special exhibitions, shows and demonstrations taking place. If they remain closed, you can continue the learning at home with our resources guide.
For those 10+, take on a room escape challenge
Not only is an escape room a great family bonding activity but the puzzles and challenges you’ll face will also help to develop your children’s skill sets in a really fun way. With a room escape, it’s about communication, focus, problem solving and utilising your individual skills. The beauty of an escape room too is you need a diverse range of skills to complete the challenges in the one hour given; so, everyone in the family is an essential team-mate.
Although many escape rooms are closed across the country, you can still participate online! We tried The Bruce Project a couple of weeks ago which has some colour, sound, shape and cartography puzzles that kept us highly entertained. All ages can get involved really, the key is in working together.
If you’re Harry Potter fans, you have to try the Hogwarts Digital Room Escape. It’s completely free with some interesting geography and maths trivia. It doesn’t take long to complete but a great way to dip your toes in if you’ve not done one before.
Once you’ve taken on one, we’re sure it’ll be a new family fun activity you’ll take on in wanting to complete them all.
2. Go on an adventure
For the little ones, explore and discover what nature offers
When you’re in need of a little fresh air, or need to allow your little ones to burn off some energy, spending a day among the meadows or woods is sure to do the trick. Pack a picnic with ice blocks to allow your food to stay cooler for longer, and explore one of the many local woodland areas or meadows.
To discover a woodland walk, the National Trust have compiled a directory of woodlands in the UK (including sites not managed by them). If you discover one they’re yet to find be sure to get in touch with them. As for parks and gardens, the National Trust also have a great directory for that too.
Before heading off on your adventure, print off a beetle, bird, animal homes spotter, summer flowers, animal tracks, leaf, twigs, butterfly, creepy crawlies and/or fruits and seeds spotter guides, which you can find on the Woodland Trust website. Make your adventure educational, interactive and undoubtably memorable. There’s plenty of different activities so you can go time and time again throughout the summer (and throughout the rest of the year!).
Want to get familiar with wildflowers? Country Life have a handy guide to wildflowers on their website that you could use if you’re heading off to the meadows.
For the teenagers that want an adrenaline kick.
Some teenagers may not be enthralled by a woodland/meadow walk with the objective of spotting various species of tree, plant, insect etc. If they’re looking for more of an adrenaline kick, we’ve just the idea. The Forestry Commission have a number of parks where you can take to the woods by bike and there are plenty of trails that’ll require an arduous climb and some dare devil descents sure to make the stomach flutter. Alternatively they could take on one of the tree-top adventures with Go-Ape, they’re challenging but exhilarating and due to open again soon.
3. Take a day trip
Go somewhere you’ve never been before. You could go fossil hunting on the Jurrasic coast; crabbing at Marine Lake in Clevedon and see the beautiful Victorian Pier; enjoy a show at a cliff-edge open theatre; go in search of Nessie; visit the idyllic Cotswolds. If there’s something you’ve been meaning to see or do, now’s the time to do it!
Please do check before your travel to see what local facilities are open- if there are no public bathrooms or eateries open we wouldn’t recommend making the trip until it is safe to do so. If you do visit one of these (or other) beautiful sites, please be considerate to the local area and the people.
4. Take on a project together
As many of us will be spending much of the holidays at home, our rainy day guide has plenty of activities to help keep them occupied. They could build a village, create a story, get crafting or fort building for example.
Why not involve them in a garden project? You could start your own little fruit and vegetable patch they could easily help with. Maybe you could build a birdhouse or bug house to help encourage wildlife into your garden which could in turn help educate them in conservation.
Of course, a baking mission is always a huge hit- especially if they get rewarded with a sweet treat at the end of it. If you’ve got a friend or family members with a birthday coming up, you can give them something homemade and keep the children entertained at the same time. Additionally, encouraging them to help you cook dinners from scratch and from recipes will help them to develop culinary skills that will come in handy later on.
We hope these ideas have proved inspirational. 6 weeks of summer, is a lot to plan in! How do you usually keep the family entertained during the summer holidays? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.