Here are my top 10 easy summer activities to entertain the children over the holidays…
1) Outdoor arsenal
Make sure you’ve got a few inexpensive outdoor toys etc up your sleeve. The big supermarkets stock a wide range of good value items. A few that are popular in this house:
- Bubbles/bubble wands
- Badminton set
- Skittles set
- Cricket set
I bang on about this quite a lot. However, it is so cost-effective when compared to other days out. Whether heading for somewhere new or visiting an old favourite, my girls love it. There’s always a new trail or activity to do even for seasoned visitors and they put on a lot of summer activities.
There’s something about a variety of cold picky foods eaten from the comfort of a picnic rug that seems to pique the appetite of the kids. They can’t eat enough and never get bored of them. Be warned though, picnics aren’t usually an easy meal option. I always find they can take a while to prepare. If I’m not driving I add in a bottle of Prosecco. Holidays are for mums and dads too 🙂 Wisley Gardens are a favourite place of ours for picnics.
4) The Pub
Check out your local family-friendly pubs. It’s a win win really. Many have great outdoor stuff for the kids; one of my locals – The Woodman – has a massive sandpit and outdoor games. Others in the area have climbing frames etc. Here’s a great list for those living in Surrey.
5) Paddling pools and water features
Lots of parks have paddling pools and water features. Check out your local ones as water is always a massive hit. We recently headed to Tooting Bec Lido in South West London and had a great time (children under five go free). Also pay a visit to the local duck pond; there’s usually a cafe nearby.
6) Hidden gems
Do a bit of research to see if there are any attractions/hidden gems near you. I recently discovered that we have beautiful lavender fields on our doorstep. We’ve now visited three times in the space of five weeks!
7) Dens and gazebos
In the height of summer our garden is a suntrap all day long, which isn’t as good as it sounds. Last year, we were in desperate need of shade so I bought a £20 gazebo from Homebase along with a few cheapo cushions. Old toys get a new lease of life if played with underneath the gazebo and eating there sat on cushions on the floor is ‘like camping.’ Last year, the girls even enjoyed just relaxing under it with a drink (and they never relax). Alternatively, you can just make a den with sheets and table clothes.
From running in and out of a sprinkler and playing with water pistols to aqua tents, paddling pools and simply floating things in it and tipping it from one container to another, water never fails. Get them cleaning the car, watering the plants and generally cleaning stuff. If it involves using a hose they’ll be all over it. Try not to completely waste it though. One of my friends sings the praises of the Crazy Daisy. I’m yet to purchase one, but it’s a matter of time…
9) Outdoor messy play
- Chalk pictures on the patio.
- Sand play – Great fun and brilliant for aiding your toddler’s development. Make sure you invest in the slightly more expensive play sand. You can get 10kg for £3 at Sainsbury’s. It’s totally safe and doesn’t completely stain clothes (I’ve heard some horror stories about builders’ sand!).
10) Cooling off
Invest in some ice-lolly moulds. They’re cheap as chips, toddlers, pre-schoolers and older children love making them and eating them, they’ll be a lot healthier than shop-bought ones (we do pure fruit juice watered down a little) and you’ll save an absolute fortune in the course of the summer!