With the long summer holiday well underway, many of us are now at the stage where the inspiration for entertaining the kids is running thin. Days out and trips to the cinema are extremely costly and there’s only so many times you can visit the park and the library or listen to wails of “I’m bored” before you lose your mind. With that in mind, here are my tried and tested top fifteen FREE summer holiday activities.
1. Map reading
Draw or print a map of your local area and then draw a route to follow so the kids can have a go at map reading.
2. Go on a Penny hike.
Get a coin and allocate whether heads are left or right. Every time you come to a corner, toss the coin to decide which way to go.
3. Scavenger Hunt.
It could be in your home, your garden, the park, your neighbourhood, wherever you fancy. You could even theme it such as rainbow, nature, starting with the first letter of the child’s name, etc.
4. Rainbow Walk.
Go for a walk and see if you can spot one thing for every colour of the rainbow. You’ll have to look closely as some colours could be tricky!
5. Alphabet Walk.
Go for a walk and see if you can spot every letter of the alphabet on signs, number plates, shops, etc. or see if you can spot an item starting with each letter of the alphabet.
6. Be kind to your neighbours.
Make something for the local care home residents or an elderly neighbour such as a picture or a storybook. Walk past the care home and wave to the residents and staff that you see. Contact them and ask if you can send a card or letter to the residents.
7. Go on an animal safari.
Head out and about and look for signs of animals. Perhaps a feather, a footprint, a nest, or some fur and don’t forget to listen for wildlife sounds like birds and rustling of leaves.
8. Take the dog for a walk.
If you don’t have a dog, see if you can borrow a friend or neighbours dog to take out or pop a post up on your local Facebook group to see if anyone needs a dog walker.
9. Say thank you.
Make thank you cards for school staff. Think about all the people involved in your child’s school life: teacher, TA, crossing patrol, before/after school club leaders, trainee teachers, office staff, catering staff, lunchtime supervisors, caretakers, governors, PTA, etc. All these people work hard, some on a voluntary or low paid basis, to enrich your child’s life. Why not make a card or write a note to thank them for their kindness and dedication. It will mean even more to know your child has been thinking of them during the holidays!
10. Messy play!
Kids of all ages love a bit of messy play, if you do it in the garden then it’s even easier to tidy up! You could use your paddling pool, a washing up bowl or a tuff tray from your local hardware store to put your things in. Our favourites are shaving foam, cornflour and water, value ice cream or water beads.
11. Build a den.
If it’s nice do it in the garden, if it’s not, do it in the living room. You could have a picnic in it, watch a movie, read a book. Whatever you do, your children will love doing it with you.
12. Water painting.
Give your children some paintbrushes and a pot of water in the garden. Let them paint pictures on the floor, the walls, the fence or the shed to their heart’s content with no mess to clear up afterwards!
13. Shadow drawing.
Take some of your child’s favourite toys outside in the sunshine and place them so that they cast a shadow onto a piece of paper. Draw around the shadow and decorate.
14. Make an assault course.
Gather up various household objects and get your children to create an obstacle course around the garden. They’ll have just as much fun creating it as they will doing it. Once they’ve had a few goes at completing it, start timing them so they can see if they can beat themselves.
Here they had some polystyrene packaging to jump over, a blanket to crawl under, a ball to dribble, hula hoops to jump through, the trampoline to do star jumps on, garden canes to mark the running track and a chicane to go through, a skipping rope to jump with, and scooters to ride to the finish line.
If you have a trampoline as many families do, Issy from A Suffolk Mum has some great ideas for trampoline games to play.
15. Have a board game day.
Dig out your old Monopoly or bingo set and teach your children how to play. You could even go one step further and challenge your children to create their own board game!
These are just a few ideas to get you started, if you are looking for more outdoor ideas to get your children outside and active, have a read of Twins, Tantrums & Coffee’s post all about making your garden fun for children.