With the holiday period approaching rapidly, now is a timely opportunity to do some research and make a list of family-friendly activities to help while away the hours and days during the six week break.
Undoubtedly there are times during the summer holidays when days and weeks stretch before you and sheer panic can set in over how you are going to keep everyone entertained. The UK is rarely helpful in terms of weather and a full six weeks can also be hard on the pocket, so while you can factor in your annual family holiday away from home, after that there is a lot of time to fill and you can’t spend every day at expensive theme parks and activity centres, so what else does the UK have to offer?
For those days when you need to stay at home, boredom-breakers come in the form of baking or cooking (cakes, buns and homemade pizzas never fail), making photo stories (personalised gifts for Mum or Dad while they’re at work are a great idea), writing a quiz or doing a treasure hunt. Cabin fever can soon set in however and you will need to get out of the house, so here is a list of inexpensive, family-friendly activities to keep the kids occupied over the long summer holidays.
Set a total limit of £5 or give everyone £1 and see what you can find. You might end up having a fancy dress party at home, buying a game or a jigsaw or finding a DVD that nobody has watched before. It’s cheap, gives everyone a challenge and helps charities at the same time.
There are loads of these in most major towns and cities, and they are great ways to pass a couple of hours. Admission costs are usually pretty reasonable and Mum and Dad get chance to sit down with a hot drink and relax while the kids release the energy that’s been built up at home.
For young children, the joy of seeing farmyard animals is always a winner. Many farms go the extra mile and put on refreshments or other activities for families during holiday periods, and you can also combine this with a healthy walk and some fresh air, so a visit to the farm always ticks a lot of boxes.
This is a traditionally difficult one to sell to the kids, but the UK is blessed with wonderful green spaces with flower beds, rare plants and inevitably wildlife, such as Harlow Carr in Harrogate. The kids will soon become intrigued by rare butterflies, birds and any other animals on show, while the flowers and plants provide colour, fragrances and an enchanting summer walk.
Historical treasure hunts
The internet is a wonderful thing, and if you search in most towns and cities you will be able to find an online guide to a historical treasure hunt. Usually you can download a map and some clues for a small cost and then head off out there to wander the streets looking for important landmarks and hidden points of interest. You will learn a lot about your local area from things you have unknowingly walked past countless times, and this is educational for all the family.
Again, a difficult one to make sound attractive but by and large, when kids are actually in museums they take an interest in everything. Many museums with a family theme are subsidised, have family discounts or are completely free, and in the north there are plenty of educational museums aimed at all the family, such as Eureka at Halifax, Thackray Medical Museum and the Royal Armouries in Leeds and the Magna centre in Rotherham.
You can’t beat a trip to the seaside, and even if the weather isn’t great, being by the sea can be an adventure and a great place to exercise the dog too. Whether you are near Cornwall, the south coast, Blackpool on the west or Scarborough on the east, you are never that far from the coast and the endless fascination of the seaside.