The start of the school summer holidays has officially begun… and it’s left me in somewhat of a blind panic.
Six whole weeks to keep a 5 and a 3-year-old entertained.
I could take the easy route and let them spend their holiday on our family tablet or their LeapPad.
I’m pretty sure they’d love playing Angry Birds for 6 weeks, but it’s not something I want them to be doing yet. They’ve got their entire teenage years to play computer games and be unsociable.
But here’s the thing, how can you keep young children entertained without it costing the earth? Activities and meals out can quickly add up to a small fortune.
It’s a dilemma that VoucherCodes.co.uk recognises. It’s compiling a ‘summer survival guide’ for parents and I was invited to an event to find out more.
The club was decked out with a variety of simple and inexpensive activities. We had a ton of fun and the entire day really got me thinking about fun things to do with children that won’t cost the earth.
So here is a quick list of ten ideas (some of which are mine, some of which are thanks to VoucherCodes.co.uk) for simple summer activities for kids that won’t break the bank.
Garden paddling pool or sprinkler
The thing about summer is that the weather is usually warm. It certainly has been this last week!
A paddling pool is a relatively inexpensive item to buy that will stop your children complaining about being hot and bothered. Alternatively, if you have a sprinkler, get that out and watch your children have masses of fun running through it.
Homemade play dough
This is surprisingly easy to make and will provide hours of fun.
There’s a good recipe for play dough over at The Imagination Tree.
Baking doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. And of course, the messier the better!
You can check out some of my recipes for inspiration.
Another easy, if messy, idea.
All you need is digestive biscuits, some icing and a whole load of sweeties to top the biscuits with.
A shower curtain canvas
This is such a simple but effective idea.
Arts and crafts
Let your child’s imagination run wild by letting them create fun models out of discarded household items (such as toilet rolls and empty bottles, tins and cereal packets). Olivia and I made some play binoculars very easily.
You can also buy fun arts and crafts kits from specialists like Baker Ross and these can be relatively inexpensive.
It’s amazing how much young children can enjoy riding the train and they can ride for free until the age of 5.
Instead of just riding your local train line back and forth, you can get some good 2-for-1 discount deals to a variety of attractions around the country if you travel by train. Check out the National Rail’s Days Out Guide for more information.
Free entry attractions
Lots of museums and galleries are free to enter. When we visited the Science Museum in London it didn’t cost us a penny (apart from a voluntary donation) and we had a great time.
A bear hunt in the woods
This is actually a game I play with my children when I’m walking them to and from school, but doing it during a woodland walk adds to the ‘atmosphere’.
The game is all about spotting random things around you. We take it in turns to chant out the following rhyme…
“We’re going on a bear hunt. I wonder what we’ll see. I see a [insert object – the wackier the better]. What can you see?”
Give it a try, it can be a lot of fun.
I haven’t tried this personally, but I know that Actually Mummy and The Muminator are big fans. It’s essentially a kind of treasure hunt and involves you downloading an app to your smartphone to help you find the ‘prize’. It’s certainly something I’d like to have a go at with Olivia and William at some point.
So there are some ideas to keep us going over the next 6 weeks. Have you got any other ideas?