They are nearly upon us. The summer holidays. Whether you can’t wait for the lazy morning or the thought of 6 long weeks with arguing kids fills you with dread, the summer holidays can often feel like a very loooong time. So I’ve pulled together some key survival ideas to help get you through the summer holidays (well, the first week at least!)
1. Try and make a loose plan for each day
6 weeks with zero plans can feel like a hell of a long time. Actually, one day without plans can feel like a bloody long time when you are riding solo with kids, so try wherever possible to have a rough plan for each day. This might be nothing more than taking a trip to the park or local library (although I try and avoid the latter one as I can no longer show my face in there since I recently found a Library book we took out in 2016 in my daughters bookshelf…)
Additionally, if you have some sort of plan you will at least be able to field the ‘what are we doing today?’ question which you will no doubt get asked 208 times (an hour).
2. Arrange Play date
A nice cheap way to fill the children’s days. Worst case scenario; you have a friend over to your house for a few hours, knowing that they will very likely trash the house but also sweet in the knowledge that this means you are now in lieu of a return playdate. Best case scenario however is that you can combine your playdate with a meet up with friends. You can chat with your friend over a
glass of wine cup of tea and watch the kids fight over toys play happily together. Bottom line is – playdates are a cheap way of entertaining the kids.
3. Make use of Vouchers
Pre children I never bothered with vouchers for anything (probably because I didn’t have to spend all my money paying for school shoes and children’s clubs) but now I love them. Tesco Clubcard for example is amazing when it comes to days out. This last quarter (yes I realise I sound a bit American wannabe, but they do actually come quarterly) we’ve had 2 pretty good days out on good old Tesco Clubcard which saved us LOADS. Yes I am that cringey person now who whips out their discount vouchers at the ticket gate, but WHO BLOODY CARES?! I’m not the loser paying full price for a day out at an overpriced kids theme park. A day which will no doubt culminate with the kids kicking off because I won’t buy them a £40 stuffed monkey from the gift shop ..
Also, there are various apps like Vouchercloud which have loads of local offers on places to eat, usually with up to 50% off mains or kids eating free etc. My general rule of thumb is to never pay full price when eating out with the kids. The main reason for this? Well seeing a plate of pasta which you could have easily made at home but instead you paid £12 for, get left on the plate (or even worse, thrown on the floor) can be pretty bloody soul destroying. Always. Use. Vouchers.
4. See what’s on locally
Often there are lots of free events over the Summer Holidays for kids. Last year we (literally) stalked Tom Foolery (a children entertainer that my children completely idolise) around the county as he was doing lots of free shows in parks etc.
The library is another option (presuming you’re not banned like me) as they often have planned activities throughout the week for kids.
Another option is fruit picking – great fun for the kids and an excuse to make a big fruit based pie when you get home (or beg someone to make one for you if you are as hopeless as me in the kitchen).
Whilst we all know crafting with kids (especially younger ones) can be tedious and stress inducing (especially if you are not that keen on marker pen and glue getting all over your brand new table) crafts can keep them entertained for at least an hour or so. Places like Hobbycraft or Poundland are great as they sell all sorts of crafty bits a pieces. And the best bit? They are really cheap, thus meaning that you should be able to rationalise with your inner OCD self at the sight of lines being coloured over and eyes being stuck on incorrectly (CANT YOU SEE THEY’RE NOT STRAIGHT?!)
I’ve put this in as I know many mums (especially those with less children) love doing this with their kids. personally, the combination of juggling three children in a swimming pool (am I even allowed to take all three at once? what are the rules there?) let alone getting them all changed and ready whilst standing in a freezing, wet (not to mention totally unflattering) swimming costume, means that ill be steering clear of this particular activity. That being said, I know my kids would love to go, so maybe I’ll try and rope the husband in to help (aka – take them) at some point over the summer.
7. Scavenger Hunt
I’d like to pretend that I am that totally hands on, outdoorsy Mum who spends time creating these sort of things as well as coming up with different ways for my kids to enjoy the outdoors. Sadly I’m not. However, luckily I have friends who are. On a recent camping trip (and no don’t be silly of course I didn’t actually camp) one of my friends made a Scavenger Hunt for the kids and it literally went down a storm.
Literally all the thing consisted of was a list of about 10 items that the kids needed to find and tick off (seriously, we’re talking, feather, daisy, dandelion etc.) and a trip to the woods to find said items and it was the best thing in the world ever.
8. Pottery Painting
Now my older two love this. Its not practical now I have a one year old with very grabby hands and a tendency to throw everything she can get her hands on, on the floor, but if you have children aged at least 4 ish, this is usually a winner. It can be fairly expensive, depending on how many bits of pottery you intend on taking home, but a great idea is to try and plan the trip to tie in with some sort of family birthday (Daddy/grandparent etc) and then you’ve also got yourself a perfect handmade gift from your sproglets.
Word of warning though- they don’t usually get to take the pottery home the same day, so worth giving the kids the heads up on this beforehand to save a pottery induced meltdown.
9. Country Parks
A great place for the kids to let off steam. A bit of a run around, play in the play area and a picnic. What’s not to love? (Well the fact that you will no doubt have to console at least one screaming child who has hurt themselves, break up at least three sibling fights over swings and swat away about ten billion wasps, but hey come on now, this is parent life!)
10. The Basics
Sometimes the basics are the best. Homemade ice lollies. Paddling pools. Garden assault courses (although beware if you have a sibling rivalry situation; turning this into a ‘who can do the course the fastest is always a recipe for disaster – believe me). Often, a lazy day in the garden can be more enjoyable than you think…
So what do you think? Do you have anything to add to the list?