We've nearly reached half-term and the summer months are in sight. Whether your kids will be ready for some rest and relaxation after SATs, need some downtime from studying for GCSEs and A-levels, or they’re simply looking forward to a break, here are some ideas for having fun and unwinding during the school holidays:
Join in with a ‘special day’
Lots of organisations have a special day, week or month each year when they raise awareness of a cause, celebrate an event, or sometimes just for fun. Why not pick one that appeals to your family and plan some themed activities? We’ve found a few that are taking place over half-term.
1. Share a story month (all month). The theme this year is travelling tales. Look out for events going on near you, or even plan your own. You could pick a story that involves travel and read it together, then talk about or draw the journey. Let the children take the lead and see where their imaginations will take you!
2. National Children’s Gardening Week (w/c 25 May). Use this opportunity to get children planting and growing either at home or at a participating garden centre. Why not help younger children put together an edible planter, or if you’ve space in the garden make a runner bean tipi?
3. National Biscuit Day (29 May). The perfect excuse to get everyone in the kitchen for a bit of baking. Encourage older children to help younger brothers and sisters with measuring and mixing – you could offer to do the tasting.
Explore the great outdoors
With a bit of luck the school holidays will bring some warm dry days, which makes being outdoors even more appealing. So why not unplug and get back to nature for a few hours?
4. Plan a picnic. Get the kids to come up with a list of ideas including where they’d like to go (a local park, woods, the beach or in the garden), what to eat and games to play. Once you have your plan, they can help you make sandwiches and find where you stashed the picnic blanket and kite!
5. Go camping. If you’re ready for a digital detox and you have a tent, or can borrow one from a friend, why not go off grid for a few days? If you’re not up for wild camping, there are loads of campsites that combine a ‘back to nature’ experience with fire-pits and eco-friendly loos and showers.
6. Visit a historical site. There are thousands of historical sites all around the UK and many are free to explore. Find out what’s near you (they’ll be shown on local maps) and see if there’s something that ties in with your child’s interests or fits in with something they’re learning at school.
7. Get on your bike. Did you know there are 16,575 miles of signed routes in the UK for walking and cycling that make up The National Cycle network? So if you’ve got bikes, get them out and head off on a relaxing ride along a disused railway line, a challenging mountain bike experience, or maybe just cycle to a nearby cafe.
Days out undercover
Don’t panic, we’re not suggesting you go out in disguise (unless you want to), we just think there are so many brilliant indoor options for days out, why wait for a rainy one?
8. Be dragged around a museum. If your kids groan when you mention museums, then it’s time to turn the tables. Museums come in all different shapes and sizes, and with a bit of research you’ll find there’s something for everyone. So let your children pick one that they can drag you around – get practising phrases like “When’s lunch” and “I’m bored” to give them the full role-reversal experience! Here are some of our top museum picks.
9. Try an escape room. Puzzle rooms and escape rooms have become really popular with families and they’re popping up all over the place. If your kids enjoy code breaking, solving riddles and puzzles, completing quests or being detectives, then an escape room could be a brilliant activity for you.
10. Climb, bounce or swim. If there’s energy to be burned, or steam to be let off, then head for the nearest climbing wall, trampoline-park or swimming pool. If your kids are old enough to go it alone (or with a few friends), it’s a great excuse for you to enjoy a cuppa in the café while they play.
11. Learn something new. If a quiet day at home is on the cards, or there’s a skill your child’s been wanting to master that you’ve not had time to focus on, put it on your list for half-term. Whether its finger knitting, origami, making slime, cooking or drawing a unicorn – all new skills come with a great sense of achievement.
What school holiday activities do your kids enjoy? Please let us know so we can share your suggestions with other parents. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org