Summer Fun with the Kids

At this time of year parents inevitably look for fun, low cost activities to keep the kids entertained during the long six week break



Outside the two week annual summer holiday, the obligatory trips to the zoo, museum, park and picnics, what else can we do that doesn't cost a fortune and still leaves the kids with a few nice summer memories?

It seems, as parents, we feel increasing pressure to bombard children with endless stimulation and expensive junkets to theme parks, the cinema, bowling, ice skating - the list is endless. When all they want to do, is just be kids.

This was made clear to me last week when I took my kids to the local park and they ran straight past the swings and slides to build a den in the bushes at the side!

Keeping things simple

It's important to mix in a few 'core value' things for kids, and if you're lucky enough to have a bit of free outside space, the summer holidays can be a proper adventure (just like the 'old days' back in the '70's, but I won't go there...)

When I asked my kids what they'd like to do one day last week, my daughter said she wanted to hunt for fairies and make rose petal perfume and my son wanted to ride his bike to his mates' house, followed by a sleepover in his sister's room (so long as they were both in sleeping bags).

The icing on the cake was being allowed to stay up late with loads of snacks! Result!

Exploring Britain on a budget

Another good idea, suggested by a close friend, is to buy a National Trust or English Heritage season ticket.

This is something I've always thought about but never done, thinking it wouldn't really interest the kids and would work out expensive for the amount of times I'd use it. However, when I looked into it a bit more, I saw that it really is a good idea and there's so much for the kids to do.

Every site has extensive children's activities such as wildlife, ducks, flamingos, deer, exotic pigs, chickens and peacocks roaming about, as well as lots of charts, diagrams and talks on what you have seen/discovered.

There are great walks in the woods and around the lakes and waterfalls, old cars and carriages in the stables, people wandering around dressed in costume explaining their duties, falconry in the grounds, heavy horses in the paddocks and jousting in front of the castle walls.

If it's wet, there are usually rooms in the houses and gardens for wet weather activities. At one such location, we were hunting for Lions on pedestals and in coats of arms, there were swords and guns displayed on the walls, and old costumes to dress up in - for children and grown ups!

And a stop off at the local watering hole

Better still, there are loads of old pubs near by to choose from, perfect for unwinding over a nice lunch and a well earned glass of wine after spending all day with the kids!

Suddenly six weeks doesn't seem quite so long...

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

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