We have a really busy summer planned, so I’m not sure how many of these things we will fit in. Our household works better when the kids are kept busy, so for us it’s better to have too much planned than too little.
We live in the North West of Greater London, so some of the attractions are local to us but I also have some cool activities in mind that can be done no matter where you live.
1. Hobbledown in Horton is a newly renovated farm park/ adventure playground about an hour away from us; it’s near Chessington World of Adventures.
It opens officially on the 18th of July and will feature mysterical adventure play areas, domestic and exotic animals and high quality, delicious food. It looks fantastic and is something a bit different, so I’m keen to visit even if it is a bit of a drive away. All we need is a little less rain.
2. Summer Reading Challenge at our local Library. The theme this year is Storylab and 97% of the public libraries in the UK will be taking part. So if you have got children aged 4-11 who are up for a challenge, then head over to your nearest library and sign them up.
It’s free to join and all children who manage to read 6 books (of any kind) over the summer will receive a certificate. Some libraries give other rewards as well and while you are there it’s worth checking out what other events your local library is holding over the holidays.
3. Let the kids plan and cook dinner. They use recipe books to come up with a three course menu, write out a shopping list for what we don’t already have, use the Internet to get an idea of what it’s going to cost, go to the supermarket to find and buy the ingredients, come home and cook and serve dinner.
Obviously they need some parental supervision for this but I tend to try and hang around in the background and only help when they really need it.
4. It’s a lifesized bouncy Stonehenge and it’s coming to a park near you. Not just for kids but another please-let-it-stop-raining-soon activity.
5. Visit a museum or gallery. In London, most of them are free and a lot of them have children’s trails and/or special activity days for children. Check out their websites for details. We try to concentrate on a particular topic or area these days but if you don’t go often, you should be aware that it’s impossible to see everything in one of these museums on one day.
It’s a good idea to make a list of half a dozen exhibits that you really don’t want to miss, and sticking to it. Museums do tend to get very busy, especially on a rainy day during the summer holidays, so it’s always worthwhile trying to get there early and taking a picnic for lunch. For us the London museums also involve a tube ride, which my kids see as a bonus.
6. If you and your children are Harry Potter Fans and want a very special day out these holidays, how about a tour of the Warner Bros. Studios where the Harry Potter movies were made? It’s in Watford, so not far from us at all and I’m desperate to fit in a visit as soon as I can. Be warned, it’s pricey but it’s supposed to be amazing.
7. Fly a kite. We already have one called Ollie that hasn’t been up for a few years now. Every time the kids see Ollie they ask when we are going to fly him again. Kites aren’t expensive and you can even make your own but they do need a bit of wind to fly nicely. Playing fields make a good runway and so do tree-free hills, if you are lucky enough to have one near you.
8. Watch The Olympics! Okay, I know they are not everyone’s cup of tea but they are coming so you might as well get into them.
If you have tickets to something, encourage your kids to find out all they can about the sport they are going to watch. Remember, they are still releasing spare tickets to events so if you didn’t get any seats in the first round, it’s still not to late to actually be there.
If you don’t have tickets, you can go through the different events until you find something your children like the sound of. Research it and make plans to watch it on TV. You’ll probably have a better view than if you were actually there anyhow.
If you are really enthusiastic, you could even hold a backyard or indoor Olympics, depending on the weather of course.
9. Go to Southbank Beach. The weather hasn’t been co operative so far but if the sun ever comes out then head into London and enjoy the sandy shores of the Thames. This temporary beach has sprung up just in time for the British ‘Summer’ and is located just outside the Royal Festival Hall. There is also an outside cafe with a fountain that is just begging for the kids to run through it, so you might want to take a change of clothes.
10. Go Geocaching.
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. To find the ‘treasure’ you will need the GPS coordinates for it, a smart phone or other GPS ( portable satnavs will work) and some way of getting to its approximate location. Once you’ve registered, then it makes sense to input your postcode first, just to see if there is anything close to your house. You may be surprised!
We have been geocaching for a few years now, so tend to look for caches whenever we go anywhere new, but this summer’s task is to check on an maintain the caches we have set ourselves, while checking out some new ones that have sprung up near them.