The summer holidays are in touching distance, and whilst some parent’s are super excited (I know I am!), some parent’s find the long break from school quite a daunting prospect.
Not necessarily because they don’t want to spend time with their children, but other stress factors which come hand in hand with this.
- Childcare worries
- Children complaining of boredom
- Constant eating out of house and home
- Injuries, bumps & other incidents
- Travelling with kids (a pet hate of mine!)
- Toileting inconveniences
- … the BIG one …. the expense !!
The summer holidays needn’t be so worrying for parent’s.
These days, there is so much on offer for families, whether that be summer camps or daily events, the choice is yours.
Now, in Manchester, we don’t get ‘that many’ sunny days. So when we do, we like to make the most of them!
You can choose to spend day’s at home, or go out for the day (depending on the mood of you, and your children).
My little one’s absolutely love getting a bucket of water and a pile of paintbrushes, and ‘painting’ the garden for me.
They paint patterns on the patio and up the walls, and even try decorating the cat (if he stays still for long enough!).
Other simple garden activities, that will keep little one’s occupied include;
- Water guns – Buy a few cheap water guns at the start of the holidays, and keep them handy on the off chance we get any nice weather, fill them up, and let the children entertain themselves whilst burning off lots of energy!
- Chalks – Once they have finished creating their masterpieces, it’s also fun to get the buckets of soapy water out afterwards and wash it all away, 2 activities in 1!
- Dens – Give them some old bed sheets or blankets, and let them make dens. My eldest is obsessed with making dens, and this keeps her busy for hours!
- Gardening – Supermarkets sell child sized gardening tools, which is a great way of encouraging them to help you with that tedious chore. Let them help with the weeding and planting some new flowers.
- Washing the car – So simple, and does you a favour (whilst saving a few quid – or that’s the idea … I end up tipping my car cleaners which turns out more expensive than a cheap go in the car wash, but 9/10 the kids do a better job!)
- Paddling pool – Again, buy one at the start of the holidays, and whip out first thing in the morning when the sun comes out. Keeps them happy all day.
For those wet, miserable (typically Manchester) days, the kids can still enjoy a wide range of activities, such as;
- Puddle jumping – My 6 and 2 year old, love nothing more than sticking on their wellies and puddle suits, and splashing around in the garden or at the local park. Peppa Pig and her little brother have a lot to answer for!
- Library – My local libraries are running a really good selection of children’s activities and events over the summer break (Story/Rhyme time, crafts, animal handling, outdoor plays, Lego workshop’s, teddy bears picnics) and also offering children chance to sign up for a ‘Reading Challenge‘. This is a fun way to keep your little one’s interested in reading over the holidays, whilst gaining a medal and certificate at the same time. Winner, winner!
- Museums – Take a visit to any local museums, find what your children may be interested in, and see if any are holding themed days or activities.
- Check if you can visit your local fire station. Children love to watch real life superhero’s!
- Most leisure centres are holding multi-sport camps each week. This solves childcare and boredom worries! Contact your local centre and check availability and timetables.
- Life sized portraits – Stick a roll of paper to the floor, and draw around each other, cut them out, colour them and stick them up.
- Slime – Make gloop, mixing cornflour and water, and add food colouring of your choice.
- Baking is an old favourite
- Decorate some cheap terracotta plant pots using paint or materials of your choice (shells, buttons etc).
- Theme days – Encourage children to dress up and plan meal times around your theme.
If you are feeling adventurous, or want a treat day out, they do not always need to break the bank. Try some of the following;
- Get a play pass for your local theme parks (Gulliver’s World near me if offering special price ‘Summer Tickets’)
- National Trust parks offer a huge range of children’s activities, including; outdoor Theatre days, Bear hunts, Craft Workshops and much more! Check the National Trust website for more information on your desired park.
- Cheshire Ice Cream Farm – Free entrance, play passes bought from reception or can be booked online beforehand for different activities. Amazing place, lot’s to do for all ages and of course … delicious ice cream!
- Zoo’s are always a hit! Knowsley Safari Park is one of our faves! Get up close to all of the animals, and afterwards, you can get out and enjoy the fairground rides or enjoy the sea lion show maybe? For all you brave people (crazy people in my opinion) there is also a bat house, where you can venture through and have the bats flying past you …. not my idea of fun, in fact, i almost knocked someone out the one and only time I braved this, by running so quickly past them, throwing my arms around! … but, each to their own.
- Farm – Take the children to look at the farm animals and enjoy a picnic if the weather is kind.
- Redhouse Farm, Chesire – Famously known for the amazing ‘Maize Maze’, also offers bouncy castle fun, face paints, tractor rides and much more !
- Chill Factore – Offering ‘Snow Camps’ for children 6+, or you can take children of any age for a play in the snow activities. Wrap up warm and have lots of fun here!
- Trampoline Parks – Offer special ‘Tot’s Time’ and also have lots of offers on during the summer. Local to us is Oxygen Freejumping, who are offering 20% off prices all summer, when booking online in advance, using code: FAMILIES20.
- Trips to local parks (I have recently found Stamford Park, Stalybridge. We love it here as it has water fountains for the kids to run in and out of, sand pits and swings,slides etc. It is well maintained and a fab day out!)
Things Not To Be Missed:
- One Big Summer Weekend – Comes to Manchester Friday 28th July – Sunday 30th July – Exchange Square (Outside Selfridges), will include Clownfest, Food Festival, Live music, Flower shows & much more! 10am-6pm, free entrance, small charge for activities.
- Beach on the Park – Heaton Park, Manchester. A giant beach is coming to the park. Will also include character appearances from Moana and Paw Patrol. Opening 22nd July, 12pm-5pm, for the whole of the summer holidays! Attractions will be priced individually or you can get an unlimited wristband for the day, for £8.99.
- National Play Day – Torkington Park, Hazel Grove. Will have Face painting, Arts & Crafts, Sport Skills and refreshments!
- Barton Square Beach – The beach is open now until 25th August and is free of charge. Offers activities such as; Water walkers, Boats, Bumper Cars & much more!
- Sunday Funday – Manchester Airport Viewing Park – Every Sunday, 11am-5pm – offers bouncy castles and lots of children’s activities. Free of charge but parking is pretty ridiculous on site so may be worth sussing out parking elsewhere or using public transport.
- Trafford Centre Emergency Services Day – Returning to The Trafford Centre, August 3rd, 10am-4pm, let your children come down and meet the emergency service teams and hop on board fire engines, ambulances and even have a nosey in a police car.
So, all in all, no reason for splashing the cash everyday and certainly no excuse for boredom. ENJOY the summer holidays and remember, to help you stay sane …
- Always plan a day ahead.
- Have a picnic ready for any hot days.
- Always save messy play for an hour before bed, that way they can be bathed straight away, and ready for bed!
- Plan ‘Lazy days’ once a week. It is fine to have days at home, don’t pressure yourself to always be out spending money. I used to think I had to be somewhere everyday, doing something different, but sometimes kids just like to entertain themselves and have ‘free days’.
- Invite friends around, other wise you might go a bit stir crazy without any adult conversation.
But most of all, ENJOY and HAVE FUN! Quality time with children is what they remember, not how much you spent!
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