By the end of July I am always so ready for the kids to break up from school. I love having a break from the 6am alarm and I love not having to wash and iron all their school uniform! I also just love slowing down a little and getting lots of time to just enjoy them. During term time it’s all about getting ready on time, homework and being really organised. In the holidays things are so much more fun.
Having said that, 6 weeks is a really long time. There’s still a lot of practical stuff I need to do like cooking, cleaning and laundry and of course I still have to work, although luckily I work from home. As the summer holidays is one of my favourite times of year and I think I’ve finally mastered how to make the most of it I thought I’d share some of the things I do to make the summer holidays as fun as possible for all of us.
Get some memberships and use them
I’m a huge fan of historic houses and gardens and absolutely love visiting them with the kids. It’s a great way to spend time together, get out of the house and make the most of all the gorgeous heritage Britain has to offer. I have family memberships for The National Trust, English Heritage and Historic Royal Palaces. I pay for these by direct debit across the year and try to use all three memberships a lot. My cost per visit ends up being extremely low and I always have somewhere to take the kids. When I’m on a tight budget I’ll always pack a picnic to take with us, so we don’t need to buy any food while we’re there.
I find that during the holidays almost all the places we visit have children’s activities and trails to keep them busy and engaged and many also have outdoor play areas to enjoy. Last summer I got so many different places ticked off my list and this year I want to visit even more.
My top tip when it comes to memberships is to look at your local area and which one covers the most places you can get to. It’s also worth looking into if you are planning a UK holiday as it doesn’t take many visits before the membership is paying for itself.
One of the best things about living in London, is all the brilliant free museums. There are great ones all over the country to discover as well. We’ve definitely made the most of the museums over the years. We love the big ones like The Science Museum, Natural History Museum and The V&A, but my favourite has always been The Museum of London. We also enjoy London’s wonderful art galleries such as The National Gallery and Tate Modern. I like to let the kids take the lead in museums and galleries and look at what they want for as long as they want, I can always go back on my own and look at the bits I want to see.
There are also hundreds of museums that charge a small entry fee, which absolutely deserve a visit. If you want to visit lots of places it might be worth getting a National Art Pass, which gives you discounted entry to thousands of places.
The Local Park
Another great free activity is just going to your local park. We are lucky to have lots of different parks near us. Some are great for playgrounds others for feeding the ducks or exploring. Grab a picnic and spend a whole afternoon passing the time and having fun.
If you go to feed the ducks don’t take bread, as its bad for them. We make out own feed for them using birdseed, frozen peas, sweetcorn and chopped ups grapes and lettuce.
Morning Cinema Tickets
One thing I do a lot in the summer holidays is watch the kids films at the cinema in the morning. You can usually get really cheap tickets to lots of great films and if you bring your own snacks it costs even less.
Make a Scrapbook
A few times we’ve made holiday scrapbooks where we’ve stuck in postcards and pictures of the places we’ve been, drawn pictures and recorded memories of what we’ve been doing. This is a really fun way for the kids to look back on what they’ve done. it’s also very good for feelings of gratitude.
Play in the Garden
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, there are so many fun things you can do. I have a few books with outdoor play ideas. We do simple things like chasing bubbles and splashing in the paddling pool, crazy things like snail races and fun things like messy play and drawing in chalk on the floor.
We absolutely love den building, so when we cut one of our trees back we kept some of the smaller branches to do den building. We also once had a little family sports day without falling out or killing each other #winning.
Go to the Library
We go to the library a lot, we’re lucky that our local area has some good ones, which not only have lots of wonderful books, but cafes, activities and lovely spaces to spend a bit of time. Most libraries have reading schemes over the summer which Arte great fun and give the kids a bit of a challenge.
Stay in your PJs and Do Nothing
Of course there are those day when you just can’t arsed to do anything. This is when the TV, tablets, toys, colouring and anything else you can find to distract the kids comes in. Get them occupied, stick the kettle on and scroll through instagram for a while. It’s great to do lots of stuff with the kids, but don’t feel under pressure to be amazing every day for 6 weeks.
Get the Toys Out and Make a Mess!
I have to fight very hard with my inner neat freak when it comes to letting the kids make a mess, but the summer holidays are the prefect time to get all their favourite toys out and have lots of fun. My favourite thing to do is build giant train tracks that take up a whole room and make the designs as crazy and complicated as possible. I pick up more track every time I see it at car boot sales and charity shops.
If you have to work for some of the holidays and need to use childcare, there are some really cool holiday schemes. I’ve had to do this a few times in the past. Jessica really enjoyed a week long drama club that she did a couple of years ago and lots of schools and leisure centres run holiday camps for kids.
You can do so Much in Six Weeks
There are so many more fun ideas, that I could go on forever. I’ll definitely write some more specific posts with ideas. I’d like to do a summer holiday bucket list, some craft ideas and a post all about things you can do outdoors. Any other requests? I’d love to hear some of the things you do in the holidays too.
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