Now the summer holidays are upon us, many of us will be wracking our brains thinking about what on earth we can do with the kids now they aren’t at school all day.
Not all of us are lucky enough to have parents that live within walking or driving distance, or can afford to pay for a 3 week summer camp, so the burden falls to us to make sure our kids are kept engaged and out of mischief. Handily, there are loads of great summer activities that you can do with your little ones that they will love, and won’t cost an arm and a leg. Six weeks, after all, is a long time.
Get them cooking
This involves both baking and cooking savoury dishes. Both are loads of fun and are excellent opportunities to teach your kids the value of nutrition and a balanced diet.
Try this no fuss cupcake recipe, or this slightly more involved carrot cake one if your kids are older or more experienced bakers. It takes a little longer and has a more detailed methodology, so it can be a great challenge for more confident mini-bakers. The carrot cake is also a great opportunity to show your fussier eaters that veggies are diverse and can be used for more things than they realised!
Traditionally baking has always been a great go-to because there are minimal ingredients, and it's a simple process. It allows kids to create something amazing with minimal chance of it all going wrong. However, teaching them to cook savoury dishes is also a great way to get them involved with different tastes and ingredients, and to give them a healthy interest in nutrition. Start with something simple like this tomato soup recipe, or this spinach and chick pea curry. Getting them to cook foods they love in different ways gives them a valuable skill set for the future and gets them really involved in their meals.
If you are a real planning whizz, and have a veggie garden, you could even use fruit and veg from your own garden. It teaches children the entire process; from planting to growing, to harvesting and eating. It teaches them what’s in season at what time of year, plus by eating from your own garden you don’t spend money buying ingredients at the super market. Win win.
Get them thinking
Not everyone is raising the next Jamie Oliver. Some kids like to cook, others don’t. If your kids are interested in making or doing things, rather than cooking, then running a home science club over the summer can be a great way to keep them entertained. It also keeps their minds focused and they learn loads of new things. The best part about it, is that you don’t need to buy a fancy new science kit to do it! There are some great experiments you can do with materials that you already have lying around the house. Try the classic diet coke and mentos experiment, which has been a favourite with every kid ever since the dawn of time. Or alternatively, get them to make something they’ll definitely love by growing their own rock candy. Science experiments keep them completely absorbed, and they will be learning all summer. Importantly for you, it doesn’t have to cost a penny.
Get them active
Getting kids active during the summer is great on many levels. Firstly, it’s great for both their physical and mental health to have them running around and doing activities outside. Secondly, it really tires them out and means they’ll go to bed in the evening with minimal fuss, leaving you to enjoy a well-earned rest.
Sometimes telling them to go “play outdoors” just doesn’t cut the mustard. If they need a little more inspiration then root around in the shed and the cupboard and make your own homemade obstacle course that will keep them involved for hours. If you don’t have a garden then you can go to your local park and set it out there too.
String loads of ropes up between posts to make a ninja tunnel, where your kids need to scramble through without touching any of the ropes. Or, place some up-ended plant pots at regular intervals so your kids have to jump between each one without stepping on the grass. Simple ways to make mundane items more fun and interactive. No fuss, no cost, max. fun.