Already having fun with your family this summer thanks to our first 5 fun tips? Make the most of the time you have with your children during the school break with our next top 5 tips on simple summer fun…
6. Visit your local library
FREE – PRE-SCHOOL AGE PLUS
If a trip to the local library isn’t already near the top of your holiday to-do list, it should be! As well as, fuelling your children’s imagination through an almost magical variety of books for all ages, modern libraries host a range of fantastic and often free group activities – from singing sessions for babies and toddlers to theatre performances and even brass bands!
- Top tip: plan in advance! Most libraries host a varied programme of activities every month, so check out your local council’s library website to find out exactly what’s happening and when.
- If you don’t fancy any of the activities listed, remember that your library can still be a great place to pick up some new books for bedtime – just be sure to challenge your children to try something different by exploring the shelves (in the appropriate section), as that’s half the fun of a library!
- If your child has particular (read expensive) interests, they’ll often find books on current trends like Minecraft or Pokémon.
- For those of us with memories of late fines, most libraries in the UK now offer reductions on overdue charges for children’s books, or have done away with them entirely. Alternatively, you could even make an afternoon or day of it and read the books in the library – so no need to worry about spilling tea on them or loosing them.
7. Create your own egg-cellent masterpiece
CHEAP – PRE-SCHOOL AGE PLUS
This old fashioned craft activity is a classic, offering plenty of yucky fun while the eggs are blown (you’re required to break at least one under the parent’s code!) and a good creative outlet once they’ve dried.
- For anyone who’s never blown an egg – surely most people these days! – check out this simple guide to get you started.
- You can either decorate your blown eggs with things like tissue paper and pipe cleaners – or just use paints and markers.
- You’ll have to let your eggs dry for at least a couple of hours after you’ve blown them, so maybe have another activity planned while you wait – or you’ll have some disgruntled artists in waiting!
- This activity is great for exploring children’s other interests as they can decorate their eggs as superheroes, comic characters, princesses or even footballers (although if they’re going for the whole team you may need a baker’s dozen or you can sometimes find polystyrene eggs cheaply in pound store, craft store or online.)
8. Build a shelter
CHEAP – PRE-SCHOOL TO TEENAGERS
A close cousin of den building in the front room; building a shelter outside can be a lot more fun – and the added outdoor element should even inspire more adventurous older children!
- Not sure where to start? Ask the experts! The National Trust offer some great den-building advice (and guided sessions).
- Don’t be shy! Dive right in and make it up as you go along! You might just choose to gather some wood and make your den in the back garden, using sheets rather than the more ‘professional’ methods recommended by the National Trust. The important thing is to have fun!
- You’re likely to be outside for quite a while, so dress accordingly as you could get either very hot or very cold!
- If you take the garden option and you’re feeling REALLY adventurous, try sleeping in your new den on a warm summer night! (You may only wish to stay until your children fall asleep before you can take them and yourself inside!)
“Another great chance to engage children’s imaginations.”
9. Scavenger hunt
FREE – PRE-SCHOOL PLUS
A scavenger hunt is another simple and popular activity; it’s also a fun way for children to safely explore when you’re having a picnic – whether it’s in your own garden or out and about. They typically last around 15 minutes.
- Types of hunt you can try: a nature hunt – for things you’re likely to find outdoors, like a pebble, daisies, seeds, leaves or feathers. A rainbow hunt – where you find an object for each colour of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet); or an alphabet hunt – where you seek something that begins with each letter of a word.
- Don’t forget: you’ll need something to write with and something to collect the items in – or you could take a camera and take pictures of what you find instead!
10. Leaf, crayon or chalk rubbings
CHEAP – ALL AGES
Things with an interesting texture make great crayon rubbings. For instance, challenge children to find different shapes and sizes of leaves on the ground. Next get them to place the leaves they’ve found between a hard surface and a piece of paper, before rubbing the crayon gently over the paper until the shapes and textures of the leaves show through. How well do different leaves work? Do the rubbings look like anything familiar (other than leaves)?
Some quick tips…
- Gentle sweeps using the side of the crayon work best, building up the colour gradually.
- You could make a game of it by setting a timer (start with a minute) for children to find as many leaves as they can.
- Encourage children to test out lots of different surfaces.
- What you’ll need: paper, crayons or chalk and somewhere with leaves.
As always, if you enjoyed trying out summer holiday tips above, please visit our Family Monsters site for more simple ideas, information and support.