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If you are looking for fun, cheap and simple ways to keep the kids entertained this summer then look no further. We have brought together the top 20 ways to keep your little ones amused and they don’t break the bank!
#20 Visit the library
Going to the library and encouraging children to read is a great way to feed their brains with facts, fiction and adventure! The best deal around, libraries are still free so it’s super easy to head to the one closest to you and sign up.
Talk it up to your little ones before you go - a room filled with books, 100’s to choose from, and not forgetting to whisper while you are there! Go back regularly through the summer break to swop your books and spend some time finding new ones to borrow.
Most libraries are also kitted out with Computers and tech for your little ones to explore as well.
#19 Outdoor Games
Getting out in the garden needn’t cost the earth! One ball can be 10 different games… football, catch, keepy-uppies or a totally made up game (we love passing the ball from one person to the other and whoever drops it has to stand on one leg!)
Encourage the kids to become jungle explorer’s trekking around the garden searching for bugs (you just need a jam jar or old ice-cream tub to temporarily house the critters before release!) Once caught encourage the kids to draw or write about the little crawlies they have captured…
#18 Visit the closest beach
Most people living in the UK have a 3 hour or less journey to their nearest beach. Make a day of it and pack spare clothes, a picnic and buckets and spades!
It's best to save this trip for a day of decent weather – remember to check the forecast of the beach you are travelling to! Once they get bored of sandcastles use the buckets for collecting pretty stones, shells and if your lucks is in - crabs! Take some spare change for ice-creams, donkey rides or even parking.
Paddling ankle deep in the chilly British sea is something kids never get tired of – just remember some towels to dry off before the drive home!
Baking with children is notoriously fraught with mess, stress and the beeping smoke alarm! But this doesn’t have to be the case if you get organised and expect a little bit of madness from the start!
Baking with the kids is a great way to ‘burn’ an afternoon of the holidays while teaching children the age-old ways of the kitchen.
Have loads of fun measuring, stirring and tasting! Encourage them to read the ingredients and method from the book or tablet as you go. Baking tasty treats that can be decorated once cooled only extends the activity and children will love getting creative with icing and sprinkles.
If we happen to be in the midst of a rare heatwave and standing around hot ovens doesn’t sound much fun, then try making homemade fresh fruit ice-lollies. Fun to make and super colourful these healthy treats will keep them busy and then cool them down!
All you need is an ice pop mould, used yoghurt pots or failing that paper cups and some lolly sticks. Place fresh fruit in the bottom and fill with fruit juice, we recommend freezing for a least 6 hours!
TOP TIP For a naughty Ice Lolly substitute the fresh fruit for gummy sweets…
Bubbles are something that appeals to children (and grownups) of any age! It’s easy on the purse, you can pick up a pot of bubble mixture for pence at the shops.
Take turns blowing bubbles through the wand and try and follow where the bubbles go… popping them all before they escape over next door fence!
Simple, cheap and loads of fun, bubbles are great for one child playing on their own or a whole gang!
#15 Take the bikes out
Dust off the bikes and helmets and go for a bike ride together. Find a family bike route in your area and go on a cycling adventure!
Pack snacks, drinks and lunch in a rucksack and off you go. If you have younger children it’s a great idea to find areas that are flat and traffic-free so check out the Forestry Commission who have some top cycling sites over the length and breadth of the country.
#14 Fun at the park
It’s free and the age old method of wearing your kids out! Rain or shine you can spend some time letting them blow off some steam while racing around the play equipment.
If your little ones are starting to get a bit fed up with your local park why not try a park hunt. Simply set of from home in the car and stop at all the parks you go past. You can head North, South, East or West! This is a fabulous way to try new playgrounds that you may never have discovered on foot …
#13 Go out for the day on a Train
Rail travel is a great way to get out and about and for some children it’s their first experience of the train station so it’s all really exciting. Children under 5 can travel free, book in advance and you will save yourself money as well as if you travel during less busy times. Check out the National Rail who have all the information you need. Simply choose a destination and make a fun day of it the kids will remember forever!
#12 Water Balloons
Water balloons are another relatively inexpensive novelty item that can give you hours of peace as your little ones play outside! Perfect for a warm summer’s day, it’s great to know kids can have so much fun with something so simple.
Let children work together filling and tying them and then burn off all that energy running around like mad people, cooling down in the process.
#11 Explore local Museums
It’s not just the amazing city museums that are a fun day out but also heritage centres, packed full of cultural and historical information about your local area. For a full list of free Museums and Galleries check out Money Saving Expert!
#10 Go Swimming
Swimming is the perfect summer holiday treat for most children, thrilled about going to their local swimming pool for a play, splash and jumping in. If swimming ability is lacking then find a pool with a sloped shallow area where children can still enjoy the water safely.
Fill the day by swimming in the morning and relaxing in the afternoon. Generally, children will be happy to put their feet up with a book, tablet or DVD - worn out from their active morning!
#9 Build a Den
Indoors or outdoors this is a team-building activity ideal for siblings. A clothes maid, heavy dining room chairs or a rotary airier are the foundations on which to build your den walls. These generally consist of old sheets, blankets and the odd kid’s duvet.
If they build their new castle indoors it can stay up for the duration of the summer holidays. Chuck a load of cushions on the floor and their den can provide a cool place to play on their tablet, do some colouring or tell scary stories at night!
#8 Have a lazy day
Popcorn, DVD’s of all your favourite movies, duvets and pillows down on the sofa…Voila - the recipe for the perfect lazy day!
Kids will love the novelty of stopping in, snuggling up together and having some treats. If you want, let the kids try making their own popcorn. Roast corn kernels on the stove in vegetable oil until they puff up! Then add salt, butter or sugar to season. Yum!
#7 Use chalk in the garden
Spending more time outdoors in the summer, your garden becomes the playground for your little ones. Why not let them go wild with chalks on the patio creating hopscotch and drawing pictures safe in the knowledge it will all wash away with the next rainfall.
#6 Story Time
Choose a handful of books and sit down together to share them. Take turns reading pages or paragraphs and talk about what’s happening in the story so far.
Once you have finished encouraging your child to write and illustrate their own story or adventure…
#5 Arts and Crafts
Go to your local DIY shop and buy a cheap roll of white wallpaper.
Let the kids decorate it using pencils, pens, paints, stamps or stickers! This is a great activity for a dry day as you can tip paint into trays or onto paper plates and use hands and feet to stomp all over the paper. Amazing fun for big kids as well!
#4 Go to your nearest airport and watch the planes
Not something every child would love but if you have a brood of machine hungry kiddiewinks then a few hours watching planes take off and land is great fun.
Most airports have a Runway visitor park where you can take a front row seat nearish to the runway. Take the camera and encourage them to take some snapshots as the planes climb into the sky…
#3 Carboot Sale
Now the actual boot sale will not only entertain the kids on a (probably rainy) Sunday for a few hours, BUT preparations for said Boot sale could kill hours and hours in the week leading up to it.
Encourage the kids to clear out any unwanted books, toys, clothes and to help you do the same! Stack in Really Useful Boxes and await the Carboot Sale bartering madness…
#2 Plant up the borders and pots
Encourage your child to love and respect their garden. Give the kids seeds, seedlings, plants and vegetables to grow in their own patch of garden. Or alternatively invest in some large (cheap) plant pots that they can decorate with marker pens or paint and then plant up.
Hours of fun in the garden is had and daily maintenance of watering, measuring and pruning can keep some children enthralled all summer.
#1 Get ready for Back to School
Use the holidays to prepare for Back to School. Use our Back to School checklist to ensure you have everything they need for September. Keep practicing reading, writing and timetables over the summer so they don’t get rusty.
If your child is starting a school for the first time let them try on their uniform during the holidays so they get used it. A tip in the last week of holidays is to re-establish school routines. I.e. get them up at whatever time they will need to be up and try and let them get back into that sleep rhythm. Inevitably going back to school after 6 long weeks of rest is going to be a shock to anybody’s system!
TOP TIP: Don’t try and keep them busy every second of the day … let them use their own initiative and imagination to play and have fun and most of all try and treasure these long crazy summers. Before you know it they will be teenagers!