If you’re like me and have a kid or two coming to the end of the school year and looking forward to six weeks off then you may well also be panicking a little about what you’re going to do to occupy them for all that time. I know I am!
Kids demand attention, they demand to be entertained and it starts the minute they wake up to the minute they, eventually, fall asleep exhausted. My three year old likes to wake up around 8am and stay awake, going non-stop, until 10pm some days. It’s hard work – fun – but hard.
So in my panic I reached out via email last Friday to you, our fantastic customers, asking you to come up with some ideas for entertaining the little ones this summer. I’m happy to say I got loads of responses and loads of ideas, the best of which I want to share with you now, to help you out in your six weeks of need!
I’m sorry if yours didn’t make it on to here – I only had a short time to write them up!
Libraries & Nature Reserves
Pat Haggar wrote back with some very sound advice for those looking for free or very low cost activities. She suggested contacting local libraries as they usually run programmes for kids during the school holidays. It’s an opportunity for a couple of hours entertainment and is no doubt educational too.
Nearby nature reserves are another good option, she writes. They often run programmes teaching children about birds, bugs and other creatures that can be found on the reserve in question. I like the sound of this one as my boy would love stomping around a nature reserve looking at spiders and other creepy crawlies!
Zoos & Play Parks
Craig Dent advises that Chester Zoo is an even better day out these days with the introduction of the Islands exhibit last year and new ones which should have opened by this summer. Having been to Chester Zoo many times I think it’s a great idea – though it is getting pricier every year too!
Craig also suggests Eureka in Halifax and Sundown Adventure Land – a theme park aimed specifically at under 10s, which is a frankly fantastic idea. He says it has sections for the Old West, pirates and even Angry Birds. Sounds great!
Trains, Barges, Beaches & More
A wealth of ideas from Jane, who outlined what her son used to enjoy when he was the same age as my lad. First off she suggests Southport beach – though preferably when it’s not too hot as it’s way too busy (in fact, wet and blustery is better, she says!).
If the weather is fine she reckons kids would enjoy:
- Carnforth Railway Station – loads of railway memorabilia for those kids that love trains
- Barge trip on the canals – here in the North West we have a lot of canals not too far and a day out on a boat…what kid wouldn’t like that?!
- Greenlands Farm Village – kids and animals go together well, offering a great day out for the whole family
- Lancaster Castle – not too far from us and exploring castles is always fun
- White Scar Cave, Ingleton – again, the urge to explore will make this a great time for the kids
- At home Jane recommends sand pits and paddling pools with a top tip – use a bit of water from the paddling pool to wet the sand and make tunnels and the like for your kids to drive their cars and trucks in
Now I know my son would love that last one should we not be able to get out of the house for whatever reason!
Macauley also dropped us a tip about Skegness – apparently the Pleasure Beach has been done up and there’s a new arcade, so if you’re in the area it might be worth a visit.
For me, this is one of the best ideas there I received and comes from Andy Lauder. It might suit kids a little older than my three year old, but it’s something for the whole family, no question.
For those who have never given it a try, it is basically treasure hunting using your smartphone to find hidden objects. These objects are left by other “geocachers” and when you find it you have the option of taking it and replacing it with something of your own or just moving on to the next one.
It really is a lot of fun – and as Andy says, you get exercise too! Check it out.
It stands for Live Action Role Play and Keith Lesser thinks it’s a great way to keep the kids busy. It basically involves getting dressed up in medieval gear and armour and re-enacting battles with foam weapons!
I’ve actually done this when my step daughter was around nine and I can confirm it’s brilliant fun!
Stay at Home Ideas
As well as the paddling pool/sand pit idea from Jane, we had these suggestions from Sharon Reeves:
- Cupcake making
- Playing dress up
Shirley suggests gardening (so did Pat Haggar actually!), which I think is a fab idea – “even if it’s only sowing some cress seeds in an old margarine tub and watching it grow.”
Alternatively, she says, help them make their own healthy ice lollies using crushed ripe strawberries, a bit of honey and frozen in yoghurt pots, or take them on a ‘bug safari’to record how many creep crawlies they can find in the garden in one hour. She then says…
…and then release the bugs over the fence into next doors garden!
After that, Shirley says, get some cheap blotting paper from WH Smiths, and a catalogue. Girls can press flower petals to dry and make into a collage for their bedroom wall, while boys would probably squash the bugs they found in the garden safari, “the gruesome little blighters!”.
My lad would love that!
For the older kids who are Harry Potter mad, Paul and Lydia reckon sitting through all the movies, followed by the DVD games and then, if you’re up for it, a trip to the Harry Potter studios outside London. Having done that tour myself I wholeheartedly agree. It is utterly brilliant and would actually entertain even non-Harry Potter fans (like me!).
Move! To the Isle of Wight? Or maybe just visit the Isle of Man…
Roger Roper came up with the ultimate activity. Just move to the Isle of Wight, Sandown specifically, where, in his words:
…life is slow, sun is shining, down the beach most days………….. life is good!
Before informing me he was “off to the beach hut for a spot of paddle boarding and mackerel fishing” with his child. Lucky fella!
More sensible (or at least practical!) is Julie’s suggestion of a day trip to the Isle of Man. Just a boat trip away she says there’s loads to do outdoors, including walks around the beaches or mountain bike trails (for the older kids, naturally). Wendy wrote in with another vote for the Isle of Man too, suggesting a chalet stay.
Actually, forget that…that sounds more suited to the wife and I while our little lad has a couple of days with his grandparents!
I hope this has given you some ideas on how to spend the summer holidays with your little ones and a huge thanks again to everyone who came up with a suggestion or two. Very much appreciated!