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), give you something to enjoy as well but 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 sure to be a fun day out where you may learn a little too! You never know either, your child may discover a passion they later want to pursue.
To find your local science centre, or to try something a little different, take a look at the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres. Be sure to take a look at the local centres website too to look for special exhibitions, shows and demonstrations you’re little ones would love.
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.
We’d highly recommend the escape room challenges you can find at Escape Hunt; they truly offer an immersive experience and the puzzles are challenging but not impossible. You can see how we got on in the Finest Hour and Fourth Samurai.
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 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 National 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!).
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 adrenalin kick.
Some teenagers may not be enthralled by a woodland/meadow walk with the objective of spotting various species of tree, plant, insect etc. So, if they’re looking for more of an adrenalin 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.
3. Organise a get together
The summer is the perfect excuse to get the family together. If you’re scattered around the country or the idea of hosting fills you with dread, you could always meet at a National Trust or Forestry Commission site. The children can play together in the woodland or grassy areas and the adults can convene over a BBQ or picnic.
Yo could even make a weekend of it! National Trust have a list of recommended campsites with camping starting from as little as £8 per adult, per night.
4. Go to a festival
Festivals are not just about the music, it’s about coming together, learning about new cultures and experiencing new things. There are plenty of family friendly festivals you could go to that suit a variety of tastes. This is a shared experience that’ll give memories to last a lifetime.
Looking for the experience without the expense?
Head to some of the UKs free entry festivals, enjoy some of the live music, participate in the various crafts and activities happening, sample local street food and look at local craft vendors. And with some of them taking place over a period of days with different bands, performances and activities taking place, it’s sure to be a hit:
- Bristol Harbourside Festival, 19th- 21st July
- Bristol Balloon Fiesta, 8-11th August
- Lambeth Country Show London, 20th – 21st July
- Notting Hill Carnival, London 24th-26th August (wouldn’t advise staying out too late with children).
- Rochdale Feel Good Festival, 10th August
5. Take a day trip
Go somewhere you’ve never been before.
Go fossil hunting on the Jurrasic coast, crabbing and swimming in Marine Lake Clevedon and take a walk along their Victorian Pier; watch Great Expectations in a cliff-edge open theatre, follow in the footsteps of giants, 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!
6. Take on a project together
If you need to stay near the home during the holidays, our rainy day ideas have plenty 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; if you’ve been meaning to spruce up your summer house or shed, get them to help with the decorating or ideas on how it could function. Maybe they 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 with or family 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?