As the summer holidays are fast approaching; your kids excitement levels will be rising for the inevitable fun they will have spending time with you and the freedom of no school for six weeks; we can only imagine that your excitement levels are rising too (this could be sarcasm here)!
That is why, here at Elm & Blue we thought we would give you a few tops tips to helping you survive the summer holidays and come out of it with your sanity, and home, in one piece!
We have all had one of those summers where we start it feeling like we are parenting like Mary Poppins and end it feeling like our parenting style has turned into Mrs Trunchbull; which is why we have compiled a rather comprehensive list of activities, days out and ideas to help your summer holidays run smoothly, but without breaking the bank in the process.
Going on a day out doesn't have to get expensive.
Yes, you can do the usual activities of taking the kids to a theme park like Chessington World of Adventures or Thorpe Park; but we all know how costly this can be; these activities are good, but maybe keep these to a one off. However, if you do your research you can find some discount vouchers online before you pay full price.
Why not take a look at going to a National Trust property; there are plenty around the country with varying levels of activities set out for kids and can be a fun day out for all the family in a safe environment.
An alternative to going to a National Trust property is an English Heritage property.
Either of these can be a lot of fun; just pack yourself a picnic, lots of snacks and water and something to play with (a ball, cricket set or frisbee) and you can spend the whole day in the beautiful grounds, enjoying the scenery in the knowledge that your kids are in a safe location with fresh air.
Why not take your kids for a day out to the beach?
If, like us, you aren't a big fan of sand in you sandwiches, then you may prefer a pebble beach; of which there a quite a few around the country.
Our favourites has to be Budleigh Salterton.
The benefit of taking the kids to the beach is that all you'll have to pay for is parking; so it can work out to be quite a penny saver. Again, just pack a picnic or BBQ (do check if you're allowed a BBQ on your chosen beach before you plan this) and a few games (an inflatable ball, body board or bat and ball) and plenty of sunscreen and water to last the day.
If it's going to be a hot day, taking a large umbrella to protect your from the sun may be a good idea.
If you have really little people to look after, a fun way to keep them happy and cool on a beach is to take a shower curtain with you, dig a small paddling pool size hole in the sand and then put the shower curtain on top and fill with water; you end up with a great splashing pool for your little one to play in.
If you have kids who like to be adventurous and explore, then taking them to the forest may be a good day out for you.
Search for your local forest and off you go!
Again, all you'll have to pay is parking, and in some cases, parking may be free. Let your kids go wild; climbing trees, searching for bugs and building dens.
And for the ultimate, free day out, don't forget about your friends and family! Sometimes a change of scenery is as good as a rest.
Take your kids to have fun at your friends house, where you can relax with a cup of tea; take them to their grandparents, aunts, cousins or great uncles house where they can have fun exloping someone else garden or toy box!
Don't let this title scare you. 'Days in' doesn't have to mean destroying your beautiful home or garden.
We can recommend getting your little ones some fun and safe activities to do whilst keeping your home in tact. Why not try a craft activity like making their own DIY Pom Pom Garland or something as simple as making and decorating paper aeroplanes - these are great activities for rainy days, or when the temperature gets too hot to be in the sun.
To help them keep cool in the garden, water play activities can be lots of fun and are great for keeping your grass and plants watered in this hot weather; you can get yourself a washing up bowl and fill it with water and a few different sized pots for them to play with, try settling up a sprinkler for them to run through and if you're lucky enough to have a slope in your back yard, then you have the perfect setting for putting up a small water slide for them to play on.
Check out Elm & Blue's fun range of inflatables which are great for the garden or taking to the beach.
Reading time can be a great way to have a bit of peace and quiet in your home for a little bit. Find them a book they enjoy and sit down quietly and read or encourage them to do the reading if they are at that age.
Let them create their own home adventure by building a den in their bedroom with sheets, cushions and duvets or if you have a larger garden, build them a den in the garden with a piece of string and an old sheet. This will be fantastic for encouraging their imagination to create their own adventurous story at home.
Food related activities can be fun and rewarding to do. You can try making home made ice lollies for them to eat on hot days, or letting them cut up finger snacks (depending on their age) to have when they get hungry from all the playing.
At the end of each day you can make tidying up fun (here is your Mary Poppins inspired parenting); turn tidying up into a game, who can make their room the tidiest for a prize; the prize could be choosing the next day's activity.
If your little ones get tired of all the fun they have been having, then you can always rely on putting on a Disney movie to keep them settled and entertained for an hour or so.
We aren't big on giving our little ones screen time in the Elm & Blue household, but every now and then, we find it gives them down time and also gives us time to sit down with a hot cup of tea (or cooling beverage)!
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We certainly aren't saying that parenting is easy, or that following this list will ensure you don't have 'Mrs Trunchbull' parenting days (trust us, we all have them). But having a list like this to look at when you run out of activity ideas or days out for your kids, will most definitely help you feel less helpless when your mind comes up blank when the kids ask what you are doing tomorrow.
Which idea did you like the best? What have you got planned for the holidays?
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