The Ultimate Guide to Keeping the Kids Entertained this Summer
The summer holidays are fast approaching and that can mean only one thing: activity planning. And while days out are always a great option for keeping the family entertained, it’s no secret that they can often cost a small fortune. That’s where our guide to summer activities come in. They’re much less expensive, or even free, and are a surefire way to keep the boredom at bay on days spent at home.
For Craft loving Kids
1. Create an art kit for the summer
Put together the ultimate art kit at the start of the holidays so that kids can dip into it as and when. Include pens, paints, scrap paper, sketch pads and overalls, and keep it in the shed or by the back door, ready to be used for regular outdoor art sessions. Fill it with exciting items that they don’t get at school and can’t wait to use such as animal themed colouring pencils, a mermaid stationery set, stickers and a bold and bright rainbow pencil.
2. Set a painting challenge
Challenge your little ones to create a range of paintings throughout the summer, including landscapes, wildlife, and portraits. At the end of the holidays, pick some of the best pictures to frame and put up at home, or give to grandparents as presents. Choose a favourite view from your home or pack up the art kit for a day of outdoor art activities further afield – the local park or a nearby lake, pond or stretch of riverside.
3. Take to the skies
From paper aeroplanes to kites, creating things that fly will never not be exciting for kids. Start simply by teaching them how to make standard paper aeroplanes out of good old recycled A4 (here’s a reminder in case you’ve forgotten the technique), before upgrading to more intricate designs in sturdy and brightly coloured card that will last a little longer. Another fun idea for future high flyers is kite flying, which couldn’t be more straightforward.
4. Design some new threads
Do you have a budding fashionista on your hands? If so, why not arrange a fashion design day with a bit of tie-dyeing? All you need are some plain cotton T-shirts, old or new, and follow these straightforward instructions from Stylist magazine. You don’t just need to limit it to clothing, either. Try beach towels or bunting as suggested here.
For Outdoorsy Types
1. Explore Nature
Combine wildlife watching with arts and crafts by making a birdfeeder. Not only is this a fun and straightforward project, it’s also great for ongoing entertainment. Once they’ve made it, children will love settling in for twitching sessions near the feeder at different times each day to see what comes along. Encourage them to keep a record of visitors in a bird journal (aka a plain notebook with a bird drawn on the front) and provide binoculars if you have them. A bug hotel is another great wildlife project – here’s how to make an easy one.
2. Bring the water park to your garden
With sunny days (hopefully) on their way, it’s time to transform your garden into an outdoor fun zone with a paddling pool and other exhilarating water-based activities! And if the kids are going to get wet, then you might as well really go for it and create a station stocked up with water games and activities. These water fight kits, balloon bunches and balloon bunch blasters are all guaranteed winners. Just don’t get too close if you want to stay dry!
3. Get mucky with a mud kitchen
Kids love good messy fun and, if you can bear it, turn one corner of your garden into a mud kitchen. Either buy a mud kitchen – there are plenty available from a variety of retailers – or use any old garden furniture you have at your disposal. Kit it out with watering cans, old bowls and cake tins, and then just add mud and water, and let them get on with it. Your kids and their buddies can make mud ‘cakes’ or mix up muddy potions with petals, sticks, cut grass and stones. This BBC blog covers everything you need to know – just be prepared to hose down the kids before allowing them back in the house!
4. Create outside art
There’s nothing like creating art in the great outdoors, so have a box stuffed with materials and overalls that the children can raid throughout the summer. Fill it with giant chalks for them to decorate walls and patios with, plus paper and paints for them to use in a range of artistic challenges, such as painting flowers, birds and skyscapes, and creating collages using natural materials. At the end of the summer, collate all of their artworks and hang them around the garden for their very own outdoor art gallery.
5. Get them into gardening
Summer is a great time to get children excited about gardening. Take them to the garden centre and let them choose some plants. Once you’re back home, they can help you prepare the soil before planting. Children can help water and maintain the beds, and will feel real pride at seeing their flowers grow. If they are fascinated by creepy crawlies, then treat them to one of our Bug Habitat sets. They can use the bug catcher to round up woodlice, snails and beetles, and then observe them in the habitat tank. Remember to release them back into the garden when observations are complete.
And for the inevitable rainy days...
Unless there’s some sort of weather miracle this summer (stranger things have happened, but still, feels unlikely) it’s not going to be possible to spend all day, every day outside, so an armoury of easy craft activities for kids to enjoy indoors is essential. Upgrade colouring-in sessions with this lovely ballet poster art kit or mega cool pirate and dinosaur 3D colouring set, or make felt animal pictures that can then be stuck up on bedroom walls. An indoor nature trail is another fun rainy day activity - divide the kids into two teams and get them to create their own critters with this cardboard bug kit, before hiding them around the house to be found by the opposing team. Bonus points for anyone who finds a REAL bug – brace yourself!