Ok then lovely people, summer is here, come rain or come shine, and the children round here have seven weeks off this year I hear, which is possibly true for others therefore. Whether your little ones are home - edded or go to school, what will you and your lovely little ones be doing this summer?
*Free ideas are great, especially those that turn away from materialism in any way.
*Cheap ideas are good too
Let’s start feeling excited about summer!!
*seeing as many sunrises and sunsets as possible….this involves early starts or late finishes, perhaps a journey to your nearest vantage point, which for us is about 1/2 hour walk away or drive if DH if off and we can use the car. And a picnic supper/ breakfast…flask of coffee, juice or water, maybe some homemade muffins or bread (which gives you another activity to do).
*checking out nature detectives website which has some great ideas for ways to connect with nature - will try and link later
*mud play! We’ve dug out a patch of mud in the garden, with the rain we’re having there’s not even a need to water it, plenty of mud = hours of play for DS. Make a mud kitchen too - root through your kitchen for old utensils or find some cheap in the charity shop (which okay does involve a little cost).
* baking those said muffins, experimenting in the kitchen
*growing lettuce? No idea if we’re too late for this though
*puddle walks/rain play, we’re trying to go for a walk every day and doing ok at this so far - and have found some new places to explore, explore your local area in a different way (go for a walk where your little ones determine whether to turn left/right, go for number walks etc etc).
Nice long walks / bike rides
blackberry picking is a must once they arrive in the hedgerows
painting in the garden so they can make as much mess as they like!
visiting our local childrens farm (lucky us its free!)
making dens (in the garden, under the table or in the middle of the bunk beds)
- picnics - inside or out, even sandwiches on a table cloth inside is sooo much fun!!
- playing in cardboard boxes
- rain pictures - crush up some childrens water colours and sprinkle onto a piece of paper and then leave in the rain for a bit until it goes all muddled!
- tents - inside or out
- hand made bread and butter (shaking cream in a jar until it turns into butter)
- homemade playdough
- having a bring and share play afternoon (everyone brings one healthy snack and one bbq item and we all join in)
- family movie nights
- blackberrying (the fruit kind!!)
Library - go to your local library and read lots of books, have a look at what events (free!) they’ll have on (the library I run has 2 craft sessions, 2 summer story parties for 2 - 5 year olds, an animal handling session, a storytelling duo telling ancient olympic stories, a playstation racing competition, plus the usual things such as twice a week story time and once a month baby Rhymetimes and Toddler Rhymetimes over the 7 weeks).
Most local libraries will also be running the Summer Reading Challenge, which this year is entitled Storylab - join up for free, come in several times, getting a wee treat each time (stickers, keyrings, etc) and then names of those who complete it in a hat for a prize.
Staff should be welcoming you with open arms, what with cuts and footfalls and issues falling most places.
I took my 2 to my local library (not the one I run, but another a bit closer to us) this afternoon - we spent about half an hour reading books, while they ate some snack, then they got their little Storylab treat and moved their names along the Storylab display, then we chose books to take home and then an assistant came and asked kids in the junior section if they’d like to do a colour-in to go up on her display, so we did that. Then off to the loo, then to the park.
Sorry for the rant, but libraries are free and wonderful wonderful places that should be reaching out to each and every one of you and your kids. If you don’t use your local library (and, hopefully, comment on it in writing to managers / the council / councillors, etc) then you will lose it or see it reduced, etc. Joining should be really easy and then you can get free books, which you just need to remember to renew / bring back (put the due date on the calender to help you remember) - our local libraries give out 30 books per ticket - 2 of our family’s 4 tickets are full, with the other 2 having some on as well.
Ah, this is why I work in libraries - what could be better - books, spoken word cds and events for kids, for free, for everyone in the community who will walk through the door and provide us with proof of address.
National trust and local wildlife trust and other similar groups…going to make a real effort to get outside more this summer.
Picnics and dog walks.
Maybe get our bikes sorted and cycle to local pubs for drink and crisps.
Swimming at the outdoor pool at dds school..we can use it over the holidays.
Trying some new recipes and letting dd cook things on her own more often.
Dd wants to play tennis, I will probably pay for a cheap 4 day camp at her school, but will also look if there is somewhere local we can play together…will need rackets from a charity shop.
Outdoor theatre…there are some student productions that are cheap.
Crafting with dd..we have things give as presents that have been in the cupboard for ages and not used yet, like fimo.
Go to a pick your own farm. There is a nice one nearby with a free bouncy castle and you can take a picnic.
Play on the wii with dd, rather than go into another room to escape.
DVD nights, maybe with takeaway.
Dd would like to go camping for a weekend.
We both have a list of books we want to read so will no doubt spend alot of time with a sofa each. Dd is reading book 7 in a series of 12 Enid Blyton books an waiting for the latest in a mystery series to come out. I am workig my way through the Richard and Judy summer reading list.
Car boot sales if we ever get a dry Sunday… haverandon list of things to look for including a potato ricer!
More decluttering and maybe decorating, in the right mood dd might enjoy helping.
Dd wants to go to get out nails done. £5 at a place down the road that he friends have tried.
Harder to find cheap/free things now dd is older and what she enjoys and we can do together is changing. I think its reasonable to expect to spend a bit now she is 11. Thats quite a list though, so hopefully get through a atleast some of the ideas. we have 8 1/2 weeks holiday but are going to France for a week at the end of August with and paid for by my mum and her partner, and dd is going camping/surfing with her dad on monday for a few days.
Tomorrow is Speech Day at school (not looking forward to that at all), then thats it….summer holidays I am really looking forward to the break and hoping to enjoy some time with dd free of the relentless timetable and travelling to school.
This time last year we started walking in a local wood once a month to see the changes in the seasons, it is a short walk which takes all day.
All the great ideas already listed plus:
Building dens inside and out (especially if are near to a wood)
Wild camping or camping in the garden
Scavenger hunt inside or out need to come with a list, I try and make one that allows children to use their imagination a bit rather than specific objects.
Make a trail and then follow it, using sticks etc to make signs.
Make ‘pictures’ with objects found on the ground in places such as a wood, beach etc, you can make faces, buildings, people, boats whatever you or the children want to do.
Go on a food for free hunt, there a loads of good websites that give you info on plants etc in the wild that are good to eat or find a book in the library.
Dandelion and daisy I don’t think it is too late for sewing lettuce, you can pretty much grow these all year round (you need a winter variety for the cooler months). You could also grow salad leaves such as rocket, mizuna, perilla etc which grow quickly and are tasty they are usually cut and come again, take a few leaves off each day and they grow back or try radishes again quick to grow, I sew every couple of weeks for harvesting thoughout the summer.
My kids are 4, 9 and 11 so finding things for the older ones is always trickier than younger I think…....
~ A night in the garden camping and cooking dinner on the fire
~ More evenings with a mini outdoor fire for toasting marshmallows
~ making a fairy garden (or dino version)
~ Having their friends stay over for sleepovers (in the garden/tent or indoors)
~ Making different sorts of boats to sail up and down our stream
~ Swimming in the river
~ pizza making
~ canoeing and rock climbing 9we get discounts because my boys do these things regularly anyway)
~ try and see some outdoor theatre
~ Massive roles of lining paper spread out for drawing/painting/maps
~ want to make some giant bubble wands
~ go to the beach
~ have more picnic’s, even if just in the garden
~ make electric circuits of some sort, maybe those ones with the bendy wire and loop to try and not touch the wire
~ get favourite relatives/cousins to meet us or come and visit
Gosh, I am feeling inspired after reading this post. Last year was a tough year for us and the extent of my spending in the summer holidays was buying the boys ice cream at the garden centre after a lovely walk. Looking back it was a really lovely summer and plan to do it again this year even though we don’t need to.
It definately gets harder not to spend money as they get older, and especially with an only older child I think? I am no longer someone to hang out with as I used to be, so need to find things where there will be other older children around…playgrounds have largely been outgrown, although the odd adventure one is ok, so thats one free option we used to use all the time gone. However, dd is happy to go down the highstreet for a look around and have a milkshake in a cafe with friends…but obviously that requires a few pounds. Even national trust activites are often for much littler ones, although not all….so free ideas a bit thin on the ground. And tbh its exhausting when I have to be really involved in things and join in all the time rather than being there but on the sidelines. So will be spending a bit here and there and just try to spread it out over the holidays.
Okay, days off are spent (lovely though they were) and as promised here are my suggestions for the summer things we’ll be doing:
- staying in the garden until dark, taking in and savouring the evening air
-making ice lollies, ice cream and different flavoured drinks
-read, read, read!
-forgaing and learning about our local hedgerows, identifying plants etc
-eating breakfast in the garden, breakfast picnics as it were
-perfecting our picnics - putting together a proper picnic set from charity shop finds (think pretty, mis-matched china wear etc), menu ideas and collating recipes
-camping as many times as DH’s work allows
-watch sunrise as many times as poss
-visit as many different beaches as possible and learn their characteristics (which are good for the best sand/shells/rockpools/pebbles etc)
-go to outdoor pool
-discover new walking routes from our home
-use firepit as much as poss
-visit snowdonia 60
-re-discover poetry and read lots to James (I was thinking of doing this during those long hot afternoons, lazing on the grass, but I think we might more likely be uddled up under a blanket with the candles lit!)
-watch as many sunsets as possible
-pick your own farms
How is everyone getting on with these plans for the summer?
I was feeling a bit low on inspiration so thought Id come back and find this thread.
The weather is making some things more difficult and we have both been reading A LOT. I have read all 10 books on the Richard and Judy summer reading list and dd has probably read 10 books too. We swam at the outdoor pool everyday for a week then I got a cold, which is now a cough and I havnt wanted to go again. We went fruit picking. This week dd is doing tennis every morning. We found the local tennis club which is 5 minutes walk away does reasonably priced childrens sessions all through the summer, I thought it was an exclusive members only place and had never ventured behind the bowling green to have a look before, good find . We have watched quite a lot of the Olympics on TV which was totally unplanned but has been unexpectedly fun. I have given up on craft things with dd for the moment, she just isnt interested, but I have made some friendship bracelets and a tea cosy while dd has played happily for hours and hours on her own. We have not made it camping or even on many picnics, its been more an hour here and there, in between showers, at the park. Tennis again mostly (with the dog as ball boy)...tennis seems to be dds favourite thing this summer, and dog gets a run at the same time . Dd has done more things with her Dad than I expected, like a day trip to Weymouth, which is great. We have also seen more of my Mum than usual, which can be stressfull, but has also been suprisingly okay.
Im going to see if I can do some of the other things on my list in the next 10 days before we go on holiday.
I hope you are all having a good summer. xxx
Wow flower! Your summer sounds wonderful so far! Funnily enough I was coming back on here to remind myself what we said we’d do, which we haven’t done a lot of so far! We’ve been camping and are going away again soon, we’ve definately read lots too, and rediscovered poetry which has been lovely. Erm we’ve also been to the outdoor pool…once! Erm, pkay, its August, going to pull my finger out! x x