When the summer holidays roll around, chances are you’re going to feel the strain on the purse strings when it comes to trying to keep the kids entertained. We all know how it goes, left unoccupied they’ll constantly be telling you they’re bored, or sit wasting the summer away on their phone or computer screens. However, there are plenty of things to do that are fun for both parent and child, giving you the chance to make fun memories without breaking the bank. As the saying goes, ‘the best things in life are free’, and when you’re watching the pennies, this can be especially true. With the following activities, you will spend more time together and as a parent, you will be glimpsing into that wonderful world of childhood.
As strange as it might sound, one thing you might not have considered is taking a trip to the local library, where the kids pick out some books for the week. This may seem like an old fashioned concept, but there are still massive adventures to be had in the thousands of stories in your local library. Unfortunately, many libraries are starting to close down but you can still find them dotted around and they’re so worth a visit. Whether they read themselves or you read to them, the local trip to the library can turn into a trip everyone begins to look forward to. Reading with your kids when you get home can transport you into fairytale worlds of kingdoms and castles, or faraway lands with magical creatures. Each week can become a hunt to find a story as good as the one they have just read. Over time, hopefully, they’ll develop the love of reading which will inspire their creativity and develop their imagination. Libraries also have free activities such as homework help for teenagers, and storytime sessions and even art classes for kids, which will not only keep them entertained but perhaps they’ll make a friend or two. Although it may not be everyone’s first idea of fun, once you delve into the experience the fun to be had will make you smile.
It’s tempting for the children to turn to their iPads or computers when the weather isn’t great, so why not introduce them to the world of crafting by starting a new craft project. This will keep them busy and productive without resorting to wasting time on social media and on video games. Plan the craft first, get all the things you need in advance; paper, card, glitter, sequins and high quality glue guns, to stick everything down will give them the potential to make all kinds of pictures and art crafts. You can make personalized gifts for fathers day or for a birthday which the kids will love to create and give, or pen holders and decorations for things like July 4th. There are so many ideas, but if you are struggling then Pinterest is a great place to find great projects and may even give you other ideas on things to do such as baking. You can find cheap craft supplies on eBay for kids, big packs of pipe cleaners, coloured paper and glitter doesn’t cost much and they are bound to be excited waiting for them to be delivered. Baking is a good learning experience, and kids love to eat things they have made themselves. You can have lots of fun decorating little fairy cakes you make, or a full-size cake if you are more ambitious. Another idea for a rainy day is a movie night, all gathered together on the sofa watching a great Disney film will probably have you all singing along. Those home baked cakes could come in handy here or a bag of popcorn to give it that movie night feel.
The Great Outdoors
The park is always a great choice when you need something inexpensive to do, with lots of fresh air and a chance to run around is always a favorite with kids. Pack a picnic and with sandwiches and any homemade cakes you may have baked together. There is often ice cream on sale in the park, and with a homemade picnic what could be nicer. Make a game of seeing how many birds or trees you can spot, and then ask the children if they can name them and guess their age. Feeding the ducks is a favorite too, and with the sun reflecting off the water on a sunny day, everyone can appreciate the beauty in nature, make sure you don’t forget to take a camera to capture the moment. Family bike rides are a good way to get the whole family exercising, and if you plan your route you can ride safely with plenty of incredible views while the weather is nice. Again you could take a picnic and plenty of water and choose a nice spot to take a rest. Fit a child seat on the back of your bike if you have young children who can’t cycle or will tire easily, they will love the ride and the fresh air will still tire them out. Discovering your local farm could be something different to do, the children get to see the animals up close and that is always a special treat, and it’s also a chance for you to teach them more about them. Anyone for camping? Always an adventure and what a treat on a clear night looking up at a sky full of stars. Pointing out constellations and looking for shooting stars, or stories around the campfire. Camping is something all families could do and have lots of fun. The beauty with this one is it can be just for one night or as long as you want, and it costs much less than a standard hotel style holiday.
Having fun with the kids can be educational and fun. It builds memories for years to come which everyone can enjoy. Getting them off their technical gadgets and into the world of crafting or outdoors may inspire something they love all their lives. It could even set them on a career path for the future if they find something they enjoy early in life, though you can be sure any path they pick will be a good choice, as you have done quality activities with them when they were young.